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Photography of Alvaro Montoro being a doofus
Alvaro Montoro

Cross-Stitcher

Paper cut with the word dream. Picture by Sharon McCutcheon

Build your dream job

watercooler career

I have a dream job. It's at a big company (I won't say the name), on a small and collaborative team full of talented and supportive people, with exciting challenges, room to grow, and cool perks.

...and that dream job was in 2008.

What does that mean? Did I get it? Did I not get it? Did the dream become a reality? Did it shatter into pieces? Did the dream become a nightmare?

And to that, I have to say, "Wow! that's a lot of questions" and the answers are: many things, yes, also yes, kind of, kind of, and not really... but let's travel a little back in time first.

Detail from the movie poster of Back to the Future II

Hop in, Doc! We are going to my dream job! (source: Back to the Future II)
 

Many people will say that they have heard this story many times before, just changing dates and settings a little.

The year is 2008. After months of interning at a large corporation, a young developer gets a dream job offer at a great team and accepts it... but the market crash of 2008 happens, and the developer ends up with no options, no internship, and no dream job.

But wait, does that mean that I will never get my dream job? Absolutely not. I found a dream job afterward... that ended up turning into a nightmare. But don't worry: I found another dream job... that I ended up leaving because I didn't know it was a dream job.

There's a ninja chopping onions somewhere

One common mistake people make is thinking that there's one dream job, and that's it: something to aspire and achieve, and when you get it, then you got it. You are "done."

Nothing further from the truth. They say that happiness is a journey and not a destination, and a dream job works the same way. A dream job is not something that you aim for, but something that you build, and create, and enjoy every single day.

In that sense, I really like Matthew McConaughey's acceptance speech at the Oscars. It is inspirational, and it provides lessons that can apply to anyone. In the speech, McConaughey talks about the three things that he needs each day:

  1. something to look up to,
  2. something to look forward to, and
  3. someone to chase.

The person to chase, his hero, is himself in 10 years. He knows he will never reach that hero because it will always be changing and 10 years ahead... and that's not bad! It gives him someone to grow into and chase.

Matthew McConaughey picking up the Academy Award (Oscar)

You can be your own hero. Your current job maybe your dream job.

It applies to dream jobs too. Your dream job now is not the same dream job from 10 years ago or from 10 years from now. Not because the job changes, but because you change. Your needs and circumstances change, and with them, your criteria for a dream job change too.

Your dream job will always be "10 years away," and you should use that as motivation to get closer to it every day.— Building and improving your job to make it your dream job.

With this, I am not saying that you should settle and forget about your dream job. Please don't. Go for it! Chase it! Get it! And when you get it, don't settle for it. Improve it! Make it better, and build it into the dream job that you want down the road.

That way, you will keep your dream job your dream job. And, paraphrasing Matthew McConaughey, things will be "alright, alright, alright."

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