It used to be that back in the day before “dream jobs” were made popular by mainstream media that people used to get whatever job fit their education just so they could make a living, put food on the table and make sure the family was warm at night.
Nothing wrong there, but somewhere along the line we also decided we wanted dream jobs that would provide us with all the satisfaction in the world and which we would be happy to wake up to go to each morning.
Two great stances but how do we balance the two ?
Do you just accept any job that comes your way because “the bills need to be paid” ?
Or should you wait for that job you are excited to go to every single day ?
This is one of those things that are not so “cut and dry”.
Let’s consider a few thoughts.
Reframe The Narrative
None of us has anyway of predicting the future.
It is very possible that you may be compelled to take a job that is not your dream. However what if we reframed that circumstance and saw the “non-dream” job as valuable experience and skills you could use as stepping stones to get to your final destination ?
Your educational degree is just one aspect on a list of factors that a hiring manager will use to determine if you get the job or not.
Emotional intelligence, drive, dependability, ability to complete tasks on time and teamwork are all “soft skills” you will learn simply by engaging in an working environment.
More tangible skills like knowing a computer programming language for instance, could also be learned in your transition job.
All these in addition to the degree you have will make you an even better candidate for your dream job.
Moral of the story : don't write it off just yet and slack your way through simply because it's not your dream job. There is actually a lot of value to be gained at this point in life too.
Savor the experience and later leverage it to help you get where you need to go.
Consider Your Financial Responsibilities
Let's get real for a minute.
Our financial responsibilities will not wait for the perfect job or promotion to come through.
When that bill is due, it is due – there is nothing relative about that.
So while I will encourage to never give up on ultimately landing your dream job, accepting a job in the interim that will help you cover the rent, food, living expenses and yes, student loan payments is a wise and necessary move on your part.
Secondly, we all know that healthcare costs have gone through the roof lately. If you are in a job where your employer covers your healthcare, there might not be too much to worry about but if you are jobless, it is going to be hard to get the required care/medication that you need to stay healthy.
Therefore, for the purpose of staying clothed , fed and healthy, accepting a dream job or promotion is never a bad idea.
It May Not Be As You Thought
There are countless people who have entered particular “dream” positions who have later confessed, “Honestly, it was not what I was expecting”.
Sometimes what you may think is your dream job, may not be it at all.
Conversely, it is possible for you to accept a role or position that was not on your dream list and absolutely fall in love with it.
There isn't always a way to know whether either scenario will occur.
My best advice is to give yourself an opportunity to experiment and explore (while getting paid) and give yourself the time to decide where you would like to end up eventually.
Two of the times when you can re-direct your energies away from the above advice is if:
The job is dangerous to your physical health
The job impacts your mental health negatively
Learning experiences are great. And some jobs are certainly important stepping stones.
However, if a job consistently and legitimately makes you miserable or physically harms you in any way, it might be the right decision for you not to accept the job or promotion (dream or not).
So Does This Mean You Should Stop Looking For Your Dream Job?
The answer here is a resounding “no”.
It is possible for you to get the perfect position out the gate. It is possible that your promotion will be perfect for you when you factor in the things that matter to you like family, travel, scheduling and compensation.
What I am suggesting here is simply for you to keep your options open as you climb up the job ladder. Giving yourself an opportunity to learn and grow throughout the process will also serve you well in the end.
What are your thoughts on this subject ?
Have you been/are you in any of these scenarios ?
Your initial job even though NOT your dream job eventually taught you skills that made you invaluable.
You waited to accept your dream job/promotion
You are still looking for your dream job
Let’s chat in the comments !
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.