(Originally from Muse Hack, we’re winding down our dark look at why “Do What You Love” doesn’t tell you much about the career world, and in some cases deceives you. Steve continues to look at how “doing what you love” might just cover up painful truths. OK probably does.)
Facing various odds you have lived the dream. You overcame all the challenges and are now doing your dream job. You are “Doing What You Love”
I actually want to pause in the sarcastic tone of this series to seriously congratulate you. It’s commendable. In fact, I feel we don’t compliment people enough on the fact that they manage to live good dreams and make them real. Come to think of it I don’t.
So congratulations. Please, seriously, share your secrets with people.
OK, now with that said, it’s time to flip on the side of me that thinks “Blackadder” plays too nice. Let’s talk about how your “Dream Job” and the “Do What You Love” attitude ignores something else- jobs change because you change and have to change.
You’ll Grow Out Of It
Chances are no matter how much you love your Dream Job, no matter how good you are, no matter how much you think you’ll do it forever, you won’t. At some point you will go “this is not for me.”
I experienced this once, years ago, so vividly I remember it. I was in a hotel, trying to enjoy a convention, troubleshooting an IT problem for a friend. It didn’t even involve work. I was then relaxing by reading an article on IT careers, and truly asked “is this all there is?”
I realized then, I wasn’t going to say an Engineer forever.
You’ll have this too. Someday you’ll have to pick a new Dream Job as the current one isn’t for you. In a few cases you’ll just want the hell out . . .
You Will Get Sick Of It
Or maybe you like what you do but have grown to hate the Dream Job.
Not everything is what it seems. After awhile you’ll realize the pig you see every day can only handle so much lipstick. After awhile, the job may be the same, but you can’t put up with the flaws.
Or maybe after awhile it’s just gotten boring. Maybe you love what you do, maybe you don’t want to change, but you need a different job.
You have your Dream Job but the Dream isn’t that interesting.
You Don’t Have A Growth Strategy
Focusing on getting and doing your dream job can distract you from deciding how you want your career to progress. Like it or not you’ve got to change with the times, if not actually get better.
People get a might suspicious if someone does the same things for a decade and seems to be the same person with no promotions, no skill gains, nothing.
In fact, to be worse you may hate your job or need a change only because you’re stagnant. The Dream Job may be fine, but you’re the problem.
You Don’t Have A Strategy for the Future
So how does this all end?
You got the Dream Job but howa re you going to move on to another position? How are you going to retire? What are you going to do next?
Where do you go if things go south (which will happen at some point)?
Where does it end? What happens when you just are tired of working.
People need a strategy for exit, progress, or at least maintenance so they know what they’re doing and can plan accordingly. We need a sense of progress or at least stability to direct our energies and stay sane. It also keeps the money flowing in.
The Dream Job Is great. But nothing is forever, everything changes, so what’s next?
So here, at the end of all things, how do we cope with the fact we have the Dream Job but face inevitable changes.
- Growing Out Of It – Will happen. You can make it conscious and always seek to grow and evolve and stay aware.
- Getting Tired Of The Job – Also happens. What you can do is keep your options open, stay aware, try to improve, and make connections. Also keep up with those recruiters that big you
- Having No Growth Strategy – Get a growth strategy. Keep learning – and know what you’re learning. Get certifications. Get degrees. Fill that portfolio. If you can answer “How will I grow professionally in the next three years,” you’re good.
- Having No Future Strategy – Do retirement planning or get a retirement planner depending on your inclinations. Plan out your career goals and be willing to adapt and evolve. Make a plan – yes it may fail, but at least you have a baseline.
Maybe dreams are best when they grow, like we do.
– Steven Savage
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.