Do you ever stop and think what people around you do for work, for a living, if they play sports, who’s their favourite actor, or envision yourself on an epic journey… anything? Do you ever wonder if they’re working their dream job? Okay, maybe not… maybe it’s just me that does that in what I like to call a “Walter Mitty” moment. If you’re scratching your head still, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is one of my favourite movies. He has a lot of daydreaming and envisioning going on. I recommend it.
Back to the point, maybe it’s because I take public transport and sit on the train and watch people move in an out of the carriages at each stop with an array of business attire on. I too, had aspirations of one day wearing that business suit and being extremely happy with my career movements and job prospects. However, it’s not like the daydream. Not super high-definition, or perfect… plus a lot of them look extremely worn out and beat.
I graduated with my Master of Finance officially, February 2016. Shortly after, had many interviews, a lot of headhunters contact me, and then the job-offer. I was over the moon, excited, thrilled, keen, every positive word under the sun, and of course nervous. Something new was about to start, my dream career. I told all my friends, my family, my partner and posted it all of social-media. They were all so excited for me.
The Reality of your dream job
It was everything I DIDN’T imagine. I came home everyday after work questioning my life. Constantly asking what am I doing with myself? Every night I laid in bed and dreaded waking up to go to my dream job. Some nights I came home from work and cried whilst my partner held me and said everything will be okay, and that no matter what he was proud of me. The truth? I wasn’t happy at all… even after pay-day, I wasn’t happy. No amount of money deposited into my bank account could make me happy with the position I found myself in.
So, how do you actually accept that your dream job is everything but that? I did a lot of reading of others who were in the same position and shared their stories of landing their dream job then realising it was not for them. Some said stick it out, maybe it will grow on you… others said follow your gut. I even had people tell me I wasted money on my degree and why didn’t I work in the field first. I had plenty of internship experiences and workplace experiences and I loved what I was doing.
The main message being delivered by so many self-help websites. Quit. No amount of money is worth your happiness and well-being. Obviously, you need to be in a position in which you can turn down a job or step away from a job that truly doesn’t make you happy. Fact of the matter, my dreams I had at 18, changed by the time I turned 25.
What have I learned about this? That it is okay. It is okay to not know exactly it is what you want to do, and it’s okay for your dreams and dream job to change! You don’t need to do something that makes you so unhappy to the point your well-being is put in question, just because 7 years ago you said it was your dream. Life changes, your circumstances change, life is ever-changing. It isn’t like the olden days where someone keeps the same job until they pretty much die. I’m a part of a fast changing generation and I’ve embraced that.
You’ll often hear that people say it’s always important to have a support system. I’ve always understood and respected this, but not until I was the one relying on it. It’s true. Without my support system, I would have still been slaving away at my dream job being miserable and distraught. Instead, I have an amazing support system that I wasn’t afraid to go to in my dire need of support.
Most importantly, my partner was the most comforting and encouraging in a time of a rush of emotions I went through: exciting high of landing my dream job, extreme low of hating my dream job, to even lower of feeling like I let everyone down around me that helped me get there. My friend, Amanda, was also there for me and was extremely non-judgmental and understood from an emotional perspective… wanting my happiness to be the most important. Don’t let me forget to mention my family. I was most afraid to let my parents down who helped me get my education, but of course they just wanted what’s best for me – happiness.
Support systems are crucial. Most importantly? I’m okay and I’m happy.
What happens now?
I’ve been without a ‘corporate’ job since my dream job was everything but my dream. However, I’ve found myself doing odd jobs here and there and being extremely happy. Yes, I still have a Master’s degree and no one can ever take that away from me. I have acquired and learnt many skills. I still apply for careers in corporate worlds that spark my interest, but now I wont settle for anything I feel questionable in my gut just because I’m offered a position. It needs to fit well with my moral compass and what I stand for.
If I could offer some advice… it would be do what makes you truly happy. Don’t settle for anything less or that requires you to do tasks that break your moral compass. If you settle for less, you’re only going to bring yourself down.
I’m now onto planning bigger and better things, and I couldn’t be more excited with what my future holds.