Don't Set Your Dream in Stone

"The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does." ― J.M. Barrie


 

Sometimes we work really hard to reach a certain goal, only to get there and realize it's not all it was cracked up to be. So what do you do if your dream job is causing you to lose sleep?

 

Make sure you have a realistic view

Think of your career like a big vacation, one you've been looking forward to for years. No matter how well you've planned out your itinerary, sometimes you're going to get to your destination and find out that you hate everything about it. Sure, maybe you don't speak the language or your hotel is a dump –that doesn't mean you have to pack up and head home. Just be flexible and adjust your expectations.

When you're preparing for a career, make sure you're aware exactly what the field will entail. The film industry may seem glamorous, but working on a film set is rarely that; the hours are long, the pay can be low, and the work can be exhausting. Likewise, working as a paralegal rarely mirrors an episode of The Good Wife and archaeology is nothing like Indiana Jones. Before you start down an alluring path, try to meet people in the industry to learn what that path really looks like

Look beyond what you don't like Don't Set Your Dream in Stone

Take a look at your job and think about the things you do like. Do you like your boss? The people in your industry? Could they help you redirect your job duties in a direction that would be a better use of your skills? And consider the skills required by your current job. Could they translate to other fields? Jumping ship doesn't always mean starting over – sometimes it's just the first step in finding a new destination.

Consider your timeline

Is there a path up your industry ladder that looks satisfying? Sometimes boring entry-level jobs turn into excellent mid-level careers. "Paying your dues" is a time-honored tradition in a lot of fields, fair or not.

Figure out if it's worth sticking it out

At the end of the day, you know what's best for you. Do you have kids? Big debts? Sometimes the only thing to do is stick it out, tighten your belt, and wait until your financial situation is stable enough for a jump. Find the elements of your job, and your life, that you enjoy and pour your focus into those. Find happiness where you are, not where you want to be.

 

The old adage is that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence – but the truth is, the grass is greener where it's watered. If the path you've chosen turns out to be a dead-end, find a new path, but don't give up just because there's an obstacle in front of you. If you've made it to one career goal, then you likely have what it takes to reach another!

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