Defining Your Dream Job
“How’s the family?” I asked an old friend recently. “I hear you’re with a new company. Like the job?”
“Everything’s great,” he replied. “I have to admit, I love it. It’s my dream job.”
Dream job? I was curious. What is a “dream job” compared to the jobs most people experience? How can one define his or her dream job?
What is a Dream Job?
There is one clear attribute that influences job satisfaction, according to researchers Timothy A. Judge and Ryan Klinger. “Mentally challenging work is the key to job satisfaction,” they say. “The most effective way an organization can promote the job satisfaction of its employees is to enhance the mental challenge in their jobs.”
Mental challenge? Yes, research supports this notion. “Of the major job satisfaction facets–pay, promotion opportunities, co-workers, supervision, and the work itself–satisfaction with the work itself far and away best predicts overall job satisfaction (Rentsch and Steel).
As a recruiter, I’d have to say I agree. Job seekers who come to Artemis Consultants excited about their fit to a specific job description seem to be the most happy in the position long-term. This goes beyond their experience fit to a fit with what they want to do. Time is our biggest commodity, and people want to enjoy their daily work. A job which challenges someone mentally will bring rewards like satisfaction and purpose.
Your Dream Job
A dream job should be mentally challenging, but how can you find one which suits your personality and intellect?
Christie Mims, author of Zero to Passion: Get Off the Couch and into Action says to think about the notion of interest plus engagement. “If we think about passion as interest plus engagement in one of its easiest forms, then you can start to identify, ‘Okay, what am I interested in, what am I engaged in?”
Take a child in elementary school. Do they like Legos or do they engage fully in building with Legos? “In education, student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught” (EdGlossary). A dream job will spark this engagement, along with curiosity and passion.
Defining Your Dream Job
We all know that there is the notion of a dream job and there is the harsh reality of paying bills and having medical insurance. Taking a risk to venture into a new role or career field is scary. But putting this aside, where should one begin in defining their dream job? Christie Mims says, “The thing that I recommend is that people get real information. Fact trumps fear, always. Fact trumps fear. What that means is instead of researching, or thinking about it, or being like, ‘Ah, I could never do that,’ go out and talk to real people.”
Think about your contacts, starting with friends and family. What are they doing that you might want to learn more about? Ask them to meet for coffee. You can use LinkedIn to explore even further. It doesn’t hurt to ask a 2nd or 3rd degree contact to take a phone call and ask them about their job. They might even offer help in a practical way.
Next, ask yourself the tough questions: what am I doing when am I happiest at work? Who do I know who has a personality similar to mine and what do they do? Am I introverted or extroverted? What is my purpose in my work?
It might be a good idea to hire a career coach or life coach to talk through possibilities based on your skills and background. There are also career/ personality tests online that you can buy such as Myers-Briggs, MyPlan.com, and Self-Directed Search.
Your Dream Job Definition May Have Changed
Over time, your definition of your dream job may have changed. Things you once valued as a top priority like money or location may be now be replaced by priorities like flexibility or entrepreneurship. You may feel like you can never change careers because of age or the fear of starting over.
But, have faith in the value of your skills and experience. Go ahead and explore the passions or dreams you have– at least by gathering information.
Clergyman Thomas Fuller once said, “All things are difficult before they are easy.” At Artemis Consultants, we know that defining a dream job is a tough task. Yet, we encourage each of our candidates to do so.
If you are thinking of making a job or career change, please reach out to one of Artemis’s experienced recruiters. We dream big.