The idea of what makes a dream job changes over time, as does what a person looks for in their soul mate. In the past, one simply wanted steady work to provide food and shelter for his or her family. People also didn’t live as long, and as a result didn’t have the flexibility to date a wide variety of people to find a soul mate. Usually proximity and economics trumped trivial concerns such as “love” and “things in common” when it came to choosing a mate. But times have changed, and now one’s opinion plays heavily into choosing both that dream job and a life partner.
Here are some reasons why finding one’s dream job can be as difficult as finding a soul mate these days.
1. An infinite number of choices can be overwhelming.
With social networking, greater ease of travel, and less pressure to get married at a young age, the world of dating and courtship is more complicated than ever before. Many people think that settling down has more to do with “settling” on a person instead of finding an absolutely perfect partner (if that even exists).
In terms of finding a job, a similarly wide number of choices face people as they grow out of adolescence and into adulthood. And now that the idea of choosing a job with a company out of school and staying with that company until you retire is completely antiquated, it can get even more confusing. After all, workers between the ages of 18 and 38 change jobs an average of 10 times.
Next Page: A dream job is often about options →
2. A dream job is often about the options available to a person.
Unrealistic expectations can prevent people from finding happiness with any choices they make. If someone wants a soul mate to have the looks of a model, the education of a Rhodes scholar, and the bank account of Bill Gates, they probably will be disappointed when that doesn’t happen.
In terms of finding a dream job, the same problem with standards applies. If your dream job is to be a professional athlete, model, rock star, or astronaut, sheer numbers can make that impossible. For those who can’t find something they like doing that they’re also good at, a dream career can be as difficult to find as a so-called perfect partner.
3. Knowing what you want is half the battle.
Think about the qualities you wanted in a mate when you were in high school, and how that might have changed when you went to college. As you grow older, your tastes change and what you want from a mate changes. While finding a soul mate is in part due to luck, and partially based on doing the work to put one’s self in the position to find someone special, it’s also about figuring out what’s important to you — and that changes over time.
Dream jobs are no different. One might think they want to be an investment banker in college, and then after an internship at a large bank the person changes their mind. Maybe now the person would rather be a teacher, or something completely different. As you grow up, learn more, and become exposed to new experiences, the concept of a dream job can change.
Next Page: Nobody is perfect… →
4. In reality nobody is perfect, and no job is perfect either.
Finding a soul mate doesn’t mean finding a person who you experience ultimate bliss with 24/7. It’s about loving every part of that person, appreciating even the imperfections. In fact, expecting perfection can be a way to drive a wedge between you and your partner, ruining a relationship with someone who actually possesses all the qualities you hold dear.
Even so-called dream jobs have their bad days. Even the most successful athletes and entertainers have off nights, and if your dream job is to be a veterinarian, there’s going to be bad days in that arena as well. Without realistic expectations for your love life and your work life, there isn’t a mate or job out there that you’ll be happy with. And to expect total bliss every day is foolhardy, as well.
5. People and jobs change.
For relationships to work over the long haul, there has to be an underlying agreement that you’ll change together. You won’t always see eye to eye on everything, but if people grow apart, what used to be the perfect relationship can seem quite different somewhere down the road.
For people who are lucky enough to figure out what they want to do and then get a job that they consider a dream job, the work isn’t done. With turnover, changes in technology, the economy, and a multitude of other factors, all jobs change. And if you don’t have the flexibility to change along with the job, you might end up finding that you want to leave that job.
Next Page: Fear of commitment →
6. Fear of commitment.
With all these options available in both love and work, many want to keep their options open at all times. Sure, you might like or even love the person you’re with, but maybe there’s somebody better out there. What if you miss out on the love of your life just because you’re comfortable or even settling for the person you’re with. However, the person who spends all their time at the fork in the road worried about choosing the wrong path doesn’t end up going anywhere. While monogamy isn’t for everybody, people afraid to make any sort of commitment end up missing out on a large part of human relationships.
The same is true in terms of work. People get bored, and look for the next best thing. While changing jobs is almost inevitable nowadays, someone who bounces around from job to job sends a signal to employers that they are not a stable employee. In the mission of finding one’s dream job, often sticking out the hard times leads to opportunities (read: promotions) you never even thought of. If you don’t pick a career and stick it out, it’s doubtful you’ll end up in a dream job position.
While finding a soul mate or a dream job can at times seem difficult if not impossible, the key is to focus on the here and now, not some sort of idealized version of what you think your life should be. Enjoy the moment, learn about yourself, embrace imperfections in other people and your work from time to time, and don’t let an infinite number of choices overwhelm you. Keep all these things in mind, and you should be happy in love … and at work.