What did you want to be when you grew up? I know I had aspirations to be a famous actress, then a teacher, then a gangster (I know, bling bling!), then an FBI agent, then a judge (is a hottie!) and then I realized that I just wanted to be me.
But, even still, I sometimes dream that Mira “Left Feet” McC could be a dancer! Especially when I’m going the wrong way in Zumba class and collide with my tall bestie. Lesigh.
But let’s get back to the point. Now that we’re all grown up our dreams can actually become a reality. I’ve dreamt big, I’ve dreamt little. I’ve had a clear vision for my dreams like when I was moving forward in my interviews with a county prosecutor’s office and had to envision myself as a District Attorney (if you believe, right?). Thankfully, I did not land the job. I know I would have been ok, but I think that my real talent is writing, and unfortunately criminal attorneys are oftentimes too overworked and overbooked to be able to properly focus on writing tongue-in-cheek motions or noteworthy memoranda. I’ve dreamt of being a federal government worker, and applied to countless countless jobs on USAJobs.
I’ve done career quizzes to figure out what the perfect career was for my personality and skills. I’ve read books on success and watched videos on leadership. I thought I knew what my dreams were.
I’ve explored all sorts of job-related avenues, from joining Girl Develop It to see if I had the makings of a Web Developer. I volunteered with Big Brother Big Sister, trained to represent children in the foster care system, and talked to friends that worked as social workers, child psychologists and pediatricians to see if maybe I should go back to school for a child-related profession. I’ve gone to inspirational talks about public speaking and career development, read about publishing novels, opened my eyes to all sorts of thrilling avenues.
And then when opportunity came a-knockin’ I was surprised to find a career I had never even heard of, much less believed could be worthy of dreaming, at my doorstep. Like a Hello Giggles author recently wrote about a dream job interview just landing in my lap, I was surprised and honored to even be considered.
However, I’ll be honest, I had never even heard of my dream job, and I certainly had no clue what I would be doing before I started interviewing and doing a lot of active listening to figure out just what the job entailed.
I went into it knowing only that I had the skills they were looking for: being a crack shot researcher (code for nerd!), being collaborative, loving people and working well in teams, and knowing how to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds in a way that they understood me, and I understood them.
But I was utterly unprepared for the technical stuff of the job. I was honest with my future employers – they were well-aware that I did not even know about the field into which I was prepared to leap into head-first, but I was super lucky that they took a chance on me, and looked to my personality, skills and internal moral compass to help me overcome my lack of technical experience.
And guess what??? A month into the job, the technical stuff is coming to me quickly, but the interpersonal skills that I knew that I had and the stuff that law school taught me (how to think!) came in handy.
And the job itself is a dream! It’s a dream I didn’t even know existed. I had dreamt of a job that I enjoyed, that aligned with my morals, my work ethic and my skills, but apparently I wasn’t dreaming big enough!
After all of the struggles, the miserable jobs where I was treated like a number, not a human, after the times I was belittled by The Man, but judged by my coworkers for trying too hard, I finally feel that the effort I put in is valued. I work with talented people from all sorts of backgrounds, have incredibly supportive role models for bosses, and get a work-life balance that I am still astounded by. I can squeeze in exercise during my lunch break (I know! I get a lunch break!). I am not judged for asking for a morning off to attend the memorial service of a valued mentor.
Instead, I am encouraged to pursue the career opportunities I believe will enhance my skills for the job. I am treated like an equal who can make her own decisions, while still being able to ask questions and requiring a bit of handholding for some scarier meetings.
In short, this new job is better than any dream I had for myself.
So I’m here to tell you that I’m so glad I took a chance, put myself way out there for a job I hadn’t heard of, much less had technical experience for, and had the courage to walk through a door that I had all but slammed shut years before.
So if you’re struggling to find your dream job, working through a job that makes you miserable, cranky, hangry or depressed, just remember that all the tough times are just building blocks for the good. I know that I would not have appreciated the amazing career I’m in now if I hadn’t seen the down side. And down sides I did see.
So buckle up, hold on tight, and be prepared for a bumpy ride. Some rollercoasters lead you to peace, balance and true bliss! But you’ve got to close your eyes and take a leap of faith once in a while. That, and trusting that you are ready! Because girlfrand, you are ready!
How have your ideas about a dream job evolved? Do you know what you want, or are you wondering if the job that will end up being your dream is even out there yet?
Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!
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