Stop Looking for Your Dream Job

This post was originally published on The Huffington Post on 9/1/2016

I believe dreams are good for you ― they get you headed in the right direction.

I am also a firm believer in moonshot thinking ―  going 10 times bigger than you ever thought possible to achieve greatness. 

But in your career I want you to know that dream jobs aren’t always easy to come by. Sometimes it can take awhile for you to land somewhere that feels good and is tracking towards your dreams. 

In fact, it might take multiple jobs throughout your career before you finally find something that is in greater alignment to your goals and vision for your future. 

Instead of looking for your dream job look for a job that feels good and in alignment right now. 

The unlimited choices available to you and the self-help “follow your dreams” industry can make it seem like if you’re accepting anything less than your dream <insert whatever you want>, you’re living a half-life. And this just isn’t so.

We’ve become so accustomed to immediate gratification, customization, and endless choices that it seems like if we’re not thrilled 100% of the time, something is wrong with us AND it’s this belief that trips us up. 

“True joy lacks the wild ups and downs of an excitement-based life. It’s a peaceful landscape, filled with peaceful thoughts and peaceful emotions. Indeed, it’s so peaceful that, to our adrenaline-soaked culture, it looks rather plain” ~ Martha Beck, “How to Find Joy That Lasts

To move you forward, take this term dream job out altogether and replace it with,the good enough for right now job.

Here’s why you should stop looking for your dream job and start looking for a job that feels in alignment right now. 

1. The only thing constant in life is change

You are going to change, and so will your employer and the industry in which you work. What was once your dream job, will someday bore you if it doesn’t grow, because you will outgrow it. What was once your passion might someday be exhausted. 

Instead of looking for the perfect job ― ya know, the one that pays great, is challenging in all the right ways, and makes you feel good about yourself at the end of everyday; the employer that is always a great leader and mentor, the team that feels like family and the impact that makes a difference in the world ― instead of looking for that, look for the job that meets you where you are right now (in experience, skills, values and interests) and brings you enough joy at the end of the day.

Look for the job that pays good enough for your skill set and experience right now. The job that feels like a six to 10 on the scale of goodness and meets your needs for stability, security, belonging and accomplishment right now. 

2. There are highs and lows to everything.

If you want to create the job of your dreams, start your own business. If you want to find the employer of you dreams, become your own boss. You’ll soon find there are highs and lows to every form of work out there ― especially entrepreneurship. 

There will be days when you are overwhelmed, pissed or stressed out. And there will be days when you want to look for another job. There will also be days when you think about leaving and starting your own business.

Then there will be days that are great.

Days that make you feel proud of your accomplishments. Days you feel valued and appreciated for your hard work. Days when you think it just can’t get any better.

Savor those days to get you through the hard ones and know that your satisfaction at work ebbs and flows ― just like your satisfaction in every other area of your life ― it might feel better or worse from one week to the next, or moment to moment. 

Track yourself towards what feels better, over and over again. 

3Let’s face it, work is work.

Even the kindest, most compassionate leaders will make mistakes. Even the best teams will experience failure.

At the end of the day, you trade hard work for compensation to support your life.

Is the work you do a good trade for the life you’re living and the future you’re pursuing?

Does it feel good a majority of the time?

Is it meeting your values, your basic needs for stability and security and allowing you to accomplish greater and greater things? 

Is this job allowing you to self-actualize

The good news behind this reality check turns out to be pretty awesome actually: if you start looking for good enough right now, it becomes easier to find a job and you become happier living in the present moment.  

If you start looking for good enough right now, you’ll take greater responsibility for your career happiness and you’ll realize your decisions about a job are not forever, everything is impermanent ― even your dream job. 

When you find a job that is good enough for you right now, never stop looking for ways to make it better, to sustain the happiness long-term and to grow it into something you love enough to do each and every week, year after year. 

While a dream is a good place to start, don’t let it it keep you from taking imperfect action and accepting a job offer that is good enough for right now; a job that is in alignment for now. 

How can you start using your dreams to guide you, but not let them stand in your way of finding that next great career opportunity?