No Dream Job, No Problem!

No Dream Job, No Problem!

There’s a popular saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” But what if you never find your true calling?

Pressured to find your passion

Optimistic career guidance in school

In school, we’re asked about our dream jobs. Teachers introduce us to personality quizzes, like Myers-Briggs types and personality colors, which will recommend you a career path on completion. These exercises induce self-reflection and are meant to guide us in pursuing our passions.

At first, you may have felt excited to discover your passion. But that anticipation was replaced by worry as years go by and you still haven’t decided on a dream career. Graduation is fast approaching, and many are forced to decide whether they are ready or not.

Hustle culture at work

In hustle culture, job dissatisfaction and complacency are viewed as a source of shame. Thus, most people won’t admit that they don’t feel passion for their jobs. Even after colleagues leave, most avoid burning bridges so they rarely admit to disinterest in their work. These environmental factors leave you with an echo chamber where everyone gushes about how much they love their job. While some may be genuine, it makes it seem like everyone has their life figured out when that is simply not true.

Crumbling dream job fantasy

Practical concerns

Sure, we have hobbies, but there are other factors to consider beyond interest, like employability, stability, talent, and compensation.

Not every passion can be monetized. Even when they can be, the path can be quite challenging. It can potentially take a lot of time and luck.

If you are more risk-averse, you may feel more comfortable prioritizing practicality over passion. Sometimes, this means putting aside passions as a side-hustle, at least for the time being.

Prioritizing yourself in a work-centric world

Navigating in hustle culture is tricky when you don’t love your jobs. It’s important to look after yourself. There are a few paths forward:

1. Fake the passion

There are plenty of companies that will pay you big bucks to work on something you might not believe in. Some of these companies also go hard on selling the corporate Kool-Aid. If you don’t openly express loving your work, you aren’t getting promoted.

Feigning enthusiasm can be quite soul-crushing, but you may feel tempted to tough it out if the practical benefits are worth it. This can be an appealing option for young professionals looking to maximize their income and accelerate their careers. And who knows, maybe if you drink enough corporate Kool-Aid, you’ll start to believe in the company’s mission?

On the other hand, if you can’t bring yourself to genuinely believe in the company’s mission, this option is not sustainable and can lead to burnout.

2. Set boundaries and collect pay cheques

If you feel indifferent about your work but are content with the lifestyle your day job provides you, is there really anything wrong? Hustle culture is one big rat race and it’s easy to get swept up in competition. If your needs are met, there’s no need to strive for more. Spare yourself from corporate cringe and enjoy your life outside of work.

When you draw a clear line between your personal life and work, you have a lot more time to do what you actually like to do. Whether it’s spending time with loved ones, taking up hobbies, or growing a side-hustle!

3. Find a new job

Realizing you hate your job is a hard pill to swallow. Changing your situation is an even bigger hurdle to get over. Change is scary, thus many jobs are called “golden handcuffs”. Individuals who’ve already sunk a ton of resources into their current careers will likely find it harder to justify a career change. However, experiences and skills are actually quite transferable, as long as you spin them the right way!

No job is worth your mental health. If you dread showing up for work every day and daydream about “what-ifs”, maybe it’s time to make a move to something you’ll like a bit more.

If you don’t have a clue what your next move should be, don’t sweat it! The goal should be to do something you don’t hate. Ask yourself, “what aspects of your current role do you dislike?”, and work from there.

Finding a career you can work with can be an iterative process, and we should recognize it as so. Let’s start by shedding the false perception of “instantly clicking” and falling in love with a dream job.

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