“There are no dream jobs. There is work that is worth your time, and work that isn’t. You’ll never be sure which is which, so there are only two ways to do the work in front of you: the right way or not at all.” – Wilson Miner
We’ve created an unfortunate reality when it comes to the way we look at careers. The term “dream job” is inherently selfish. We ask ourselves, “What is the thing I can do that will make my career as close to a dream as possible?”
We’ve learned to follow our passion, explore our bliss, listen to our hearts, and any number of other catchy phrases used to teach disengaged and unhappy professionals everywhere that they should quit and find something else.
But what if we have it all wrong? What if the very nature of “dream job” is exactly why we’re so unhappy with our work?
What if we started talking about listening to other people’s hearts? What if we talked about serving the needs of others so they have a fighting chance of being passionate about something? What if we stopped being selfish and started focusing on problems that matter enough to be solved.
If you’re lucky, you might get to start solving one problem that matters before you die. If you’re an Elon Musk or Sheryl Sandberg or Richard Branson, you might have a meaningful impact on three or four problems before you die.
It’ll take thousands of hours over many years, sleepless nights, hard work, challenges that seem insurmountable, and so much more. And that’s the point. Doing meaningful work is hard. It will challenge you in ways you never imagined being challenged.
So if that’s what you mean by dream job, then by all means, keep using the term. But I’d much rather see us start talking about problems we see in the world that we believe are worth solving.
A problem worth solving is a problem worth betting your career on. And, as Wilson said, you’ll never know which problems are worth solving unless you do the work to try.
Thanks to Wilson Miner for the inspiration for today’s post.