Dream Jobs, two sticky notes pinned onto a board

How to find your dream job?

Is it possible to find your dream job? What even is a dream job anyway? When so many of us live to work, how do we even begin working to live. 

Right now, I am sitting in a coffee shop listening to a conversation going on next to me that I just had to share with you. Now before you judge me for eavesdropping let me just say that I cannot help but overhear the conversation, the coffee shop is busy, and they are sat almost on my lap. 

Anyway, there are two women, one dressed casually with a toddler and one dressed more formally. The mother of the toddler let’s call her Lady A, has spent most of their coffee date so far intently scrolling through her phone while her child puts small pieces of brownie up its nose. All the while Lady B sits looking in disgust at the child. 

Suddenly Lady A says brightly, what about care assistant, I could do that!  I already care for people right!

Lady B replies “are you sure you want to care for people at home and at work? All that caring for people, doesn’t sound very fun”.

Lady A looks dejectedly back at her phone and continues to scroll before once again brightly chirping, “what about delivery driver, tootling around all day, I could do that”. 

Now I kid you not, Lady B in this moment when her friend is clearly trying to make the best of a situation actually says “oh look at you, you are so brave” leaning in to pat Lady A ‘s hand, “I don’t know what I would do if I had to go to work every day, sounds awful, thank goodness my Richard earns more than enough for two.

” I am pretty certain that had I looked up in shock at that moment, I would have seen the contemplation of murder cross Lady A ‘s face but before she could act upon her murderous intent Lady B continued on... “but if you really are going to do it then shouldn’t it be something that you love to do, you know something to make being away from the little one worthwhile?”

It was at this point I started to write to you, because picking up my phone and telling my friend this story while the ladies were still next to me would have been a little awkward. 

So, since I started writing, Lady A has politely reminded Lady B that for her, finding a job is not a choice, it is a necessity, she has to find a job and fast.  She also said, (and for this I salute her) that while doing what she loves sounds ‘nice’ there are not many job adverts saying, ‘baby photographer needed, will accept one tired and depressed mum with an overly dependent and consistently poorly toddler who has absolutely no experience to enjoy a great salary, flexible working hours and work life perfection.'

I am starting to really like Lady A, I almost stood up and threw her a high five.

Why do people always suggest that you should do what you love and love what you do or, make your work your passion and you will never work another day in your life, or give other sage sounding advice like that? 

People like this always make me a little nervous, not only because that is a massive amount of pressure to place on ones’ shoulders, landing a good job and a stable income is hard enough without also needing it to be something you love to do, you know, it seems to narrow the job prospects somewhat, but also what if doing what you love every day in turn leads to you no longer loving what you do?

As bleak as this sounds it honestly scares the hell out of me that people toss out this kind of ‘do what you love’ advice like candy, they have clearly not thought this through!

Can you really build your life and your home around something that you love, relying on it to be enough, pay enough and remain stable without crushing your passion for it in the process? 

By placing so much weight upon something so important do you risk stifling your creativity? Is it not too much responsibility for something so fragile? 

I am not convinced that passion is as strong as we like to think, to me it is just a whisper of hope, a fragment of a dream and suggestion of something more beautiful than the things that are dutiful, I feel strongly about it, but it doesn’t feel - strong. 

If your passion, be it painting or photography, travel or expression, is the foundation upon which your home is built, what happens if it fails to provide and keep up with your changing needs? What if it doesn’t earn enough, or provide enough, what if the reality falls short of what you hoped? You would have no choice but to discard it, to toss it to one side leaving nothing but the remnants of a dream that once was. Then what?

Then we are back finding a job that we need. But do not love.  We cannot love it because we thought we had one of those and it fell short of our expectations. Worse than that, we also now no longer have a passion. Our passion let us down and took with it any love that we once had. 

What if we turned that all on its head? What if we had not taken that once sage sounding advice, what if we kept passion and providing as two entirely separate things? What if we really and honestly just worked to allow us to live and discarded the concept of living to work?

By placing our duties and requirements firmly on one hand knowing that our job allows us to live, that it satisfies our requirements and dutifully pays the bills, all of the pressure to make ends meet are placed right there, safe and sound with that trusty job. If the job fails to provide we can replace it without concern that a part of us will be lost.

Over on the other hand we then have a safe place for our dreams and passions, a place where we can be creative, a place where we can explore, spread our wings and try new things. It is somewhere that there is no pressure, there is no requirement for it to be a success, nothing is depending on it and our children will not starve if we are no good at it, we can just relax and enjoy it for what it is... would this not be a better approach? 

What do you think, work to live or live to work? How many people do you know who can honestly say their work and their passion are one and the same?

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