A little over a year ago I started working part-time in hospitality. I applied for the job, not because I had a passion for the industry or anything like that, I applied because I’d been unemployed long-term and needed to start earning money and gaining experience.
The interview was unforgettable and nothing like I had anticipated. It was a chatty conversation that ended with me leaving the room smiling. A couple of days later I found out I was successful and shortly after I started my first shift. My first shift went pretty badly. It was very ‘duck out of water’ and I felt lost but after a couple of weeks things improved. I enjoyed going into work, my co-workers were great and I liked the work. Sure I had to work hard but I didn’t mind because I was contributing to something that felt good and the customers left smiling.
There is a quote by Noel Coward that goes:
“Work is more fun than fun.”
It perfectly encapsulates how I felt about that job, I loved it. I looked forward to going to work and judging by much of what I saw and heard at the time, not many people felt that way about their jobs. Most of all I was just so happy that even though it wasn’t the career job that I’d been pining for, I’d found a job that I really liked.
I had shifts where I’d been on the go non-stop and my feet hurt and I’d be looking forward to a few hours later when my shift was over. But despite that, I was still having a good time working with a team of people that were friendly and interesting. It’s a job I felt comfortable in and could be fully myself.
After about 5 or 6 months in my hospitality job, I began to ponder on how it was that the job I had no great amount of interest in initially (other than a source of income) turned out to be one that I really liked. I also started to question how I would feel when I finally landed a position in my ‘dream job’. Would I like it as much as I had assumed I would?
I did a lot of thinking and came to the conclusion that there isn’t just a singular ‘dream job’ out there for me. I realised that on the search for the dream job you might end up finding other jobs that you really like along with ones you don’t like. Also the thing with a dream job is that sometimes it really is nothing more than a dream. When you finally reach the dream, you might end up realising that the idea of it was much more appealing than the reality.
It’s perfectly okay not to end up in your dream job if you still end up in a job that you like. It’s also okay not to have a one type of job that spans your whole career. I’ve actually come to really like the idea of having a variety of different jobs.
When you have a clear idea of the type of job/career that you want it can be very easy to become closed off to other opportunities outside of that. You end up getting tunnel vision and you feel like you don’t want to dedicate your time to anything that strays you from the narrow path you’ve set yourself to walk.
There’s a quote by Joseph Conrad that goes:
“I don’t like work–no man does–but I like what is in the work–the chance to find yourself. Your own reality–for yourself not for others–what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.”
I use it as a reminder that you can get so much more from your job than just the job itself.
As I’ve gotten older and gained a bit more experience I’ve come to find that I don’t have a dream job anymore, not really. I mean yes there are still various things I’d like to do but right now there isn’t any set job that I want for life and I’m totally okay with that.
I can remember being 14 thinking ‘How am I supposed to figure out what I want to do when I don’t even know half of the jobs that are out there?’ I felt a lot of pressure because the fact is that people work till their 60s so at the time I had at least 50 working years ahead of me.
It was stressful and confusing and I really wish that someone had told me that at 14 I didn’t need to worry about figuring my whole life out, that maybe in my 20s I’d change careers and change again in the years that followed.
Happiness is much more important than having lots of money.
You might not like the job you’ve dreamed about.
You don’t have to figure out the rest of your life right now.
What’s your dream job?