The Myth Of A Dream Job

"I feel sorry for those doing 9-5, slaving away at someone else's company. It's like a waste of your life."

"How do 9-5 people do it? I can never only get an income 12 times a year."

We have all either seen those exact statements or variations of it at one point or another. It is the gospel now: either you are an entrepreneur (i.e. following your passion/having the dream job) or you are nothing.

I don't have dream job; not right now. I don't think I have a "passion".  Maybe that's okay.  Maybe I shouldn't have this idea that there is a perfect job somewhere waiting for me. Maybe it's silly to think that if I don't have an exotic job, I am not living my dream. Maybe I'm right to think that people who say trite things like "follow your passion" are out of their minds.

"The dream job trope isn’t the path to job satisfaction, and it’s not just harmless wistful thinking: it’s instead downright dangerous."

I mean, what does that even mean? Follow your passion. They tell you; have the courage to quit your job—your  means of living—and live the dream. On a closer look, that's quite narcissistic. Look at this: imagine your parents left their day jobs to follow their passions, you would have starved. Did they always love what they did? Absolutely NOT. Did they follow through anyway? Of course. I worry that  many years from now, no one would want to be a teacher, doctor, scientist, engineer anymore. Everyone would be too busy following their dreams.

"The more emphasis you place on finding work you love, the more unhappy you become when you don’t love every minute of the work you have." Cal Newport, The Passion trap

People wonder  obsess over finding and/or identifying their dream jobs/passion, which is somewhat great; I did too. Except... I am now worried we have bought into the lie that except you are doing something earth shattering, exotic, or making tons in millions, you just are not doing it right. Whereas you actually find your passion by doing. You can't ever connect the dots looking forward, in the words of the great Steve Jobs. If opportunities come that interest you, you gotta take a risk and grab them. Will you be successful? I can't say for sure. However, if you give it your BEST, and work hard; best believe you WILL be successful in it, barring fate and its sense of humor. However, we are idealistic, so we tell ourselves: "make your hobby your passion or your means of income".  That's where you are wrong though; No matter how good you are at something, the minute it becomes how you survive, it stops being a hobby. Everyone tells you to quit your 9-5 job to start your own business. They call you a slave to corporations because of a path you chose. I dislike this idea of a dream job; I'm skeptical about  the idea that except you are running your own business, your life sucks; I hate when people vilify others for not being entrepreneurial.  There is no one-size-fits-all rule for everyone. I have been absolutely convinced about this for a while now.

Very well said

Look, it is absolutely true that there are some [very few] people who have the passion thing locked down; they came out of their mama's wombs knowing exactly what they wanted to do and have worked towards it since day one. Good for them. Actually, if we are being honest, I envy such people. The rest of us just have to find something that sucks less than others, stick with it and work our asses off to be successful at it. If you sit down waiting for the stars and for heavens to open and tell you what your life purpose is or what you are meant to be doing, you will wait for a long time. God always, ALWAYS gives us choices in most things in life. Pick one and run with it.

"The courage culture paints a tempting picture of how people end up with remarkable lives. It tells a story where you’re the main character, fighting evil forces, and ultimately triumphing after a brief but intense battle. The reality is decidedly less exciting. Remarkable careers require that you become remarkably good. This takes time. But not necessarily a string of defiant rejections of some mysterious status quo." - Cal Newport in The Courage Crutch: A Remarkable Life Requires You to Overcome Mediocrity, Not Fear

"...the canonical advice to follow your passion is way too simplistic," Cal Newport said in his article on complicated career advice from compelling people. Many successful and famous people are notorious for this: when asked how they achieved optimal success, they paint a perfect picture of themselves. One in which they just always knew they would be as successful as they are or that they knew the exact path to tread in other to be where they are today. Again, except they are among the select few I mentioned above, it's a huge lie! In fact, while those select few may know exactly what they want to be, they don't always know they will be successful at it. At most, they hope they will be, and they are not always right. The rest of us are just winging it and are willing to work hard.

"The more you’re bombarded with messages promoting the dream job path to happiness, the more likely you are to ossify your view of the working world into normal boring jobs vs. exciting dream jobs." Cal Newport said on the danger of the dream job delusion.

"What's more, often what makes people happy at work isn't that they're passionate about what they're doing, but rather that they have a sense of accomplishment or impact, or they enjoy the autonomy they're given, or they feel respected or useful. So a better goal than "follow your passion" is probably to do something that you're good at, that brings you a reasonable amount of satisfaction, and that earns you a living." the famous Alison Green said in a US News article on why you shouldn't follow your passion.

If it helps, I started this article and ultimately, a mini research on this concept when I was disillusioned with my own life and career circumstances. I am no longer where I was when I started this article, but I am incredibly grateful to have gone through that stage; It makes me even more appreciative of my current circumstance.

So what is my point? The most important thing is to be willing to work hard at whatever your hands finds to do. Honestly, that is my guiding principle. Whatever my hands finds to do, I endeavor to do it WELL. More importantly, I respect the dignity of labor and the career choices of others. Learn to do so too.


P.S: I woke up to the devastating news that happened in Florida. I pray God comforts the families of the victims. Honestly though, beyond sending our "thoughts and prayers", I hope we would actually do something, like vote Congressmen who would make common-sense gun laws.