Career Maven

Four Surprising Benefits of Knowing your Dream Job

What do I mean by dream job?

Your dream job is not your forever job.

Your dream job is the best job you can imagine for yourself RIGHT NOW.

I like thinking like this because it’s impossible to know your dream career for your entire life from the start. We go through different seasons in life and in some seasons our career is our top priority. Other seasons something else is taking our focus. It’s impossible to predict when those seasons will be or how they will change our definitions of fulfilling work.

As you grow and evolve, your vision for your ideal role will expand.

When I arrived back in New Zealand, the job I landed was the BEST role I could have dreamed of. I loved my manager, I loved my team, I loved what I was doing everyday.

After two years in that role, as I learnt new skills, gained new experience and grew as a person, my vision for my dream job expanded.

What I knew was possible, and what I could imagine, had grown with that growth. 

I had new things I wanted to learn. I had a new combination of skills I wanted to be using everyday. I had a new appreciation of how I worked most effectively and what environment I needed to be in to support that. 

I got a new job that reflected all of those things.

Now a new job is not the only way you can step into the next level of your dream role. Promotions, secondments, special projects, changing teams, starting a side hustle, study or upskilling, going part time are all ways for your work to evolve.

The second caveat is your expanding vision doesn’t necessarily equal pay rises, promotions, more responsibilities, bigger, better, faster stronger.

Which brings us to our first benefit of knowing your dream job.

Four Surprising Benefits of Knowing Your Dream Job. Know Stop falling into societal expectations. Be intentional in your professional goals. Know when it's time to move on. Align with the Universe.

Stop blindly chasing more

When we don’t know what we want, we just keep going up because we don’t know what else to aim for.

That void of not knowing our vision gets filled by the societal default which is that we should want MORE.

The pay rises. The promotions. More responsibility. Bigger teams. Management roles. 

What does more actually mean for you?

More time with your family. More creativity. More flexibility in your schedule. More calm (which is to say less stress). More time to read (which is to say you can want simple things).

At work that could look like more support. More problem solving rather than reliving the same issues over and over. More stability and clarity of what’s needed to succeed. More focus time. 

Knowing your dream job means you know what opportunities to pursue and which one’s don’t align. You can stop pursuing more for the sake of it and pursue what you know will make you happy, fulfilled, satisfied.

Be intentional in your professional goals

Speaking of knowing what to pursue, you can also align your professional development to your dream job.

How often do you sit down with your manager to set professional goals for the year or whatever professional development looks like at your company and have no idea what you want to focus on?

When you have no idea what you’re aiming for, it’s really hard to figure out what steps will help you get there.

When you have no idea what you want to learn, it’s really hard to identify what courses or trainings are going to be valuable.

When you have no idea what you want your role to look like in the immediate future, it’s really hard to ask for it and make a game plan with your manager on how to get there.

Those goal setting conversations become so arbitrary, coming up with SOMETHING to tick the box. 

You’re not excited about achieving the goals, you’re not invested in taking the actions and more often than not, you don’t follow through. The whole exercise is a waste of energy.

Or if you do follow through, you’re creating outcomes that aren’t contributing to an overall vision. Which puts you on a path of waking up one day, wondering how you got here and quite possibly very miserable with work.

No one wants that. 

Knowing your dream job gives you direction to your professional development. 

Decide when it’s time to quit

When you know what your dream job looks like, you can easily see when your current role doesn’t line up anymore.

This gives you the opportunity to work with your manager or company to close the gaps. Maybe some of that looks like the professional development we already talked about. Maybe it looks like adjusting hours, changing which days you’re in the office or something else.

The point is, when you know what good looks like, when you know what you’re aiming for, you can see how close or far away you are.

And by extension of that, you can more clearly see when those gaps are untenable and/or widening. 

Quitting has so many negative connotations. It’s seen as failure and something to be avoided at all costs.

Quitting your job also means jumping into a job search, a process most people dislike and try to avoid.

We don’t want to quit. Which means we’re emotional about quitting, making it harder to evaluate the situation clearly. I know I’ve stayed at jobs a lot longer than I should have because of fear of failure and wanting to avoid a job search. 

When you have your dream job defined, you’ve essentially created a list of criteria you can evaluate your current job against, any job you apply for against, any future job against. 

It gives you a framework for making the decision to quit and that is how you cut through all of the emotional stuff that can come up.

Universe aligns with you

This one might feel more left field but stick with me because I’ve seen this happen so many times.

When you figure out what your dream job looks like, some of the steps to get there are practical. Applying for jobs. Talking to your manager. 

And some of the steps are more inner work. 

When you’re going through the process of figuring out what your dream job looks like, in all likelihood a bunch of thoughts, feelings and beliefs are going to come up. Reasons why you can’t have your dream job.

Some of what’s standing between you and where you want to be are those long running, looping around thoughts you have about who you are and the kind of career you get to have.

Part of the process of going from knowing what your dream job looks like, to actually having it, is surfacing those thoughts and beliefs. 

The part of us that goes, you can’t apply for that job. You won’t get the promotion over Sally. You need to be more qualified before you can take the next step. 

If you don’t start looking at the thinking that’s running your show, the action you take is wildly different than when you do examine what’s going on.

What’s interesting is that when you start exploring what your dream job looks like, if you pay attention, you’ll find out what your current thinking is. From there, you can deliberately choose new thoughts that are supportive of getting your dream job. 

And somewhere in shifting that thinking you get serendipitous moments, where the right opportunity seems to fall out of the sky.

With the dream job I mentioned at the start, someone who worked there had worked with a former colleague of mine. I was able to get an introduction and have a chat about the role, gaining insights in what to highlight in my application.

The job after that, a friend texted me about it and set up a coffee with the company founder. I’ve had clients approached for secondments. 

When we identify what we want work to look like and start to align with that vision, it’s like the Universe listens. It will never cease to amaze me what opportunities seem to appear from nowhere once you’re clear on what you want and start building belief that you can have it.

Knowing your dream job is your guidepost, your lighthouse. It shows you the direction to move in. Everything flows from there.

Love this? Got questions? Come join the discussion in The Independent Mavenhood

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s