The Problem With Dream Jobs (Part 2)

I am thankful that in today’s world there are plenty of career paths to take and work arrangements to choose from. You can work from home, hold a 9-5 job, take a freelance gig, or work on your own business. But the availability of options, almost like the number of shows on Netflix, also come with dangers we must be careful to avoid:

The first is the most obvious. It’s the endless job hopping, particularly the one that is motivated not by careful thought but by impulse at the first sign of difficult work in the quest for the “dream job“. To take the Netflix example, this is the person who has a long list of movies in his “Continue Watching” list but not a single one in his “Watch Again” list, because he can never stay focused long enough to even reach the climax. He starts, gets bored, and picks another movie. Sure he dodges a few crappy movies here and there, but he largely misses out on experiencing others with some great twists and endings.

The second is more subtle, but perhaps more destructive. And it is the belief that unless we have figured ourselves out, who we are completely and what we really want (which is usually what people nowadays define as “passion”) we won’t know what “dream job” to pursue (and slave for) in order to be a success. Cue in the quarter-life crisis.

The problem here is it usually leads to paralysis and more often into an endless “soul search” and waiting for the Aha! moment backed by the fear that if we make a wrong career choice now there is no way to course correct later on.

So until then, life is put on pause and no decisions are made. What’s worse, this waiting-without-action is typically followed by justification of all sorts: as waiting for a voice from Heaven, waiting for a sudden awakening, or waiting for the right moment—whatever that means. After all, again just like Netflix, the options will always be there anyway (or so we think), readily available once we have everything figured out.

Take note, this is not to diminish the benefits of knowing or having at least a semblance of what you’d like to do and be when it comes to career planning. Neither is this saying that it is wrong to take short reflective breaks when making big work decisions.

The point is this: we would be more productive with our time and energy if we spent less of it “finding ourselves”, and more of it to serve others better each day in our current vocations.

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