Most of us have a dream job in mind, right? There’s that one professional field that speaks to us, calling our hearts in that direction. It’s a career we could only imagine possessing one day, hopeful for our wishes to come true. Many of us young professionals do what it takes to align our jobs in the right direction. We do what we can to assure our dream jobs will become a natural promotion when the time comes. We earn the skills required, we work hard for that precious work experience, and we network with the right people in hopes of someday earning our rightful place in our ideal profession.
But, what does it mean if the magic isn’t happening for us? What should we do?
Chances are, you don’t have your dream job right now. Most of us don’t right out of college, grad school, or the like. It can take years–maybe even decades–to fall in love with the perfect career for you. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should consider giving up. Don’t.
Instead, consider our list of reasons why your dream job may not be in the works for you right now:
- You’ve become stagnant. It’s a dangerous time when you find yourself dreading work each day with your inspiration thinning. If you’ve become disinterested in your current job, you may not be working hard to push yourself in a new direction. Take a look at your professional habits right now. Are you getting to work on time? Seeking new projects as they arise? Asking your boss for training or experiences that will help you grow? Make sure you’re doing absolutely everything necessary to advance your skills now. This will help you later on if you apply for a career higher up in your field of work.
- You’re settling, not growing. Sometimes we settle for the job we have, even when it’s entry level or comparable. We grow comfortable in our role, knowing exactly what’s expected of us during each shift. This comfort–while nice–can actually hurt us in the long run. If we’re not looking to better ourselves, forcing ourselves outside of what’s comfortable, or trying to take on new tasks, we’re only settling. This is not the recipe for finding our dream jobs. Instead, be proactive. Ask your boss for more responsibilities or a way you can prove to the company that you deserve to shift upward on the vertical ladder of mobility. Be aggressive when it comes to your job, because no one will be for you.
- You’re attitude is negative. Have you given your attitude a reality check lately? Chances are, if you’re unhappy in your career it could very well be due to your outlook. If you only look at your job with a glass-half-empty mentality, then your approach to career is going to be negative, too. Try to assess why you’re not growing or reaching that dream job you have in mind. Is it because you aren’t trying? Maybe you’re too convinced you’ll fail, so you don’t even want to take a shot? Sometimes we have to force ourselves to be confident and positive in order for good things to happen for us. Experiment with this if you find yourself pessimistic at times.
- You’re not on the right path. Sometimes we start off on a path that seems like a natural stepping-stone to our dream jobs, only to discover it’s not. Rather than waste time at a company that is not going to further your skills and experiences in the ideal direction, try to change gears. Yes, there’s always something to learn from every professional experience. However, it’s not worth spending months to years in a role that isn’t going to advance you to that dream job down the road. Assess your path as often as you can to make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to make your dream job a reality.
- You’re not networking. There’s something to be said for establishing connections in your field of work. More often than not, your education is only a piece to being qualified for a job. Usually, experiences and connections take you to a whole new level, making you an ideal fit for the role your searching for. Make sure you’re networking with professionals in your field. Carry business cards with you everywhere you go and don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with strangers when appropriate. You never know who you could meet. Someone on the city bus may have a friend who works for a company that has an opening in the role you’re begging for. Take every opportunity you encounter as a networking prospect. You may be surprised by the connections you make!
Searching for your dream job is no easy feat. It takes more than a college degree and a year of experience for most of us to find our calling. Don’t be ashamed for changing jobs slightly often or reassessing your career goals. If it means you’re working toward your dream job, then it’s absolutely worth every hiccup and mistake you make to get there. We don’t all know exactly what we want to be someday, but only you can say if you’re in the right field or not. Evaluate your professional goals regularly, and be sure you’re not making careless mistakes if you can avoid them. Finding your niche is part of career happiness. You deserve to love your work, so make this a top priority!