I am struggling to determine my “dream job.” I would like to get out of the rut I believe I am in, but I’m not quite sure what to do. How do people determine their dream job? I think most individuals stumble upon it by accident, while others — possibly many more — never find it.
I was just thinking about this issue today — it’s kind of a Thanksgiving tradition for me — when I happened to come across Kiplinger’s take on the issue, an introductory guide to finding your dream job. Starting with the basic advice, “Find something you like to do and figure out how to make money doing it,” the article goes on to present a few tips for doing just that. It’s not an easy task, I’ve found.
The article is full of examples of people who have done the impossible — they’ve left a steady corporate job with a reliable income and some level of security to jump into something new or to explore their options. These are the tips offered for those who feel they’d rather be making a living doing something they love rather than accepting that work is nothing more than a cruel necessity:
Discover what you should be doing. If you don’t know, talk with a career coach. You can find one through the International Coach Federation or Coach Inc. In your search, you may discover that your calling is to provide career coaching service, as Valerie Young did. She now runs ChangingCourse.com. This step can be quite costly. Coaches charge significant fees for use of their services, sometimes more than professional psychologists who have an accredited degree in their fields.
Immerse yourself. “Learn everything you can about your dream job. Join associations, talk to people who work in your chosen field, and volunteer.”
Make a plan. Don’t put it off, but don’t rush into any major changes without giving serious thought to a time line. What are realistic expectations?
Be creative. There must be a way to earn a living while pursuing your passion. The trick is to uncover the elusive “Step 2” — the unknown “???” — between discovering what you love and “Profit!” if you believe what the underpants gnomes preach.
Face your fears. What is holding you back? What ever it is, it can be conquered.
Updated February 7, 2012 and originally published November 17, 2005.