Some people are born with a dream job. They always had an answer to the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question.
The rest of us answered with whatever happened to be piquing our interest at the time.
Sometimes changing your dream job is a good thing. As a kid, I wanted to help make a difference in my community.
Unfortunately, this dream translated oddly, and when my mom asked what I wanted to be, I responded with “someone who picks up trash on the side of the highway.”
She didn’t have the heart to tell me those people were prison inmates until I was 10.
Thankfully, my career aspirations eventually moved up a bit (although I’ve still always wanted one of those cool, grabby-stick things).
But after four years of undergrad, I’ve figured out that knowing what you want to major in is not the same as having a dream job.
And I’ve come to a conclusion: dream jobs are a dumb idea.
Don’t get me wrong—having a job in mind that gets you excited and gives you the drive to push through long nights and hard classes is great. I am a firm believer in having an end goal.
However, I believe the idea of a specific dream job has actually put an incredible amount of pressure on high school and college students.
According to the 2015 American Psychological Association’s annual (yes, annual) “Stress in America” survey, millennials are the most stressed out generation, with money and work being the top two stressors.
The idea of stressing over work is introduced early on.
Whether it’s from hearing parents talk about work stress or trying to find summer jobs, students these days are thinkingabout employment and money early in life.
Also, it seemed like every college scholarship essay I ever wrote had to be about what I wanted to do or what I was passionate about spending my life doing. And even though I knew what I wanted to major in, I was still left with an incredibly broad job field.
Once you hit college, having a dream job is almost as expected as having good hygiene. Without it, you’re held at a distance, usually judged and not expected to make it “in the real world.”
And if you don’t land that one job you’ve built your life around, then what?
You feel like you’ve missed out, are settling for less or possibly are just an overall failure.
Really, what seems like an innocent question to get students to think can actually set them up for disappointment and pressure.
I think instead, we need to focus on who we want to be, not what we want to be. Who puts the emphasis on the person as a human rather than using an occupation to define them.
We need to realize that who we are exists outside of what we get paid for.
As Christians, our goal is to use our lives to serve God, but even that can seem to get in the way of things if a “dream job” isn’t in line with His Will at the time.
So don’t be too discouraged if you don’t have an incredibly specific job you just can’t imagine life without. Instead, branch out.
Take advantage of some free credits, and take a class that will add to you as a person and not just your resume.
Ultimately, remember even if the dream is good, God’s will is what we need to pursue more intensely than a dream job.