Are Dream Jobs Possible?
Dreams and jobs… dream jobs, no oxymoron is more obvious. For a very long time, I thought dream jobs didn’t exist (at least on a practical level). My dream job at different stages in life include (in chronological order) being a top fashion designer, a twirling ballerina, a balling banker, a master chef and now a writer. Most of these were forgotten and lost into the void, usually out of my own self-doubt, the difficulty of the climb, the perceived lack of reward or a combination of all.
Unfortunately society judges one’s job or career by the correlation it has to his/her salary and title. Hence why many individuals have monetary compensation as the top consideration when a career decision needs to be made. All of this creates a distortion to one’s search for their dream job.
Some people take on jobs that they think or perceive their family and/or friends will approve of. This is especially true in the Asian continent as post-secondary education is typically financed by parents, leaving young people feeling indebted to their families. So dream jobs become the desires of a collective rather than individuals.
However, both monetary value and seeking approval are often factors that have less of a relationship to job satisfaction or finding one’s sense of purpose. The paradox is that these factors, if not satiated, lead to job dissatisfaction, according to Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory.
Countless times I have heard my friends whining and complaining “I hate my job!”As a friend, I am more than keen to be a listener or to offer advice and help wherever possible. Yet, it makes me wonder why they are not doing anything about it (of which I have been a guilty party before!).
The common explanations (or excuses) I hear;
1) My current job is stable with a decent pay, I don’t want to take a pay cut
2) It’s impossible to find a dream job ‘because it doesn’t exist
3) I don’t know what I want.
My Dream Jobs Story
A year ago, I left one of the “dream jobs” that I told my mom I wanted when I was 15 years of age.
Seriously, at the age of 15, I firmly believed that entering a prestigious graduate program and one day becoming a C-suite executive in that organisation was the life meant for me.
After three years of working in the organisation, I left one of my dream jobs (or what i thought was a a dream). I am forever grateful for all the technical knowledge and people skills I acquired and I am most appreciative for the network of friends I made – now many have become my support pillars. After three years I knew I had to leave, realising I would soon become complacent with the decent pay, better-than-market benefits and familiar faces.
Hence, I took a leap of faith and a major pay cut to join the blossoming startup scene in Hong Kong. It gave me the exposure and the freedom to see what’s really disrupting the world now. I probably worked more hours in that role than the hours laboured in my previous job, but learning about agile development, seed funding and SEO were all too exciting for me to pass up on. This exposure has created a new entry into my list of dream jobs.
With a basket of push and pull factors I moved on to my current role, where I create personas (fictional, generalised characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behaviour patterns among your real and potential customers to help one to better understand them) before creating new propositions. This is one of the most exciting working periods in my career to date! It’s comparable to creating characters for my short stories that I write in my leisure time, whilst getting paid! Now I ask myself the question, is this one of my dream jobs that was unrealised at the age of 15?
I have always doubted the existence of “dream jobs”, but they can often come in the least expected way.
Get out of your comfort zone before you become complacent. If your dream doesn’t scare you, then your dreams aren’t big enough!
Monique So is a Senior Associate with PwC’s Digital Services and Experience Centre, she has worked across multiple industries including finance and technology. She also contributes frequently to a variety of online publications.