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The 'Dream Job' Con Trick

How the notion of 'dream jobs' keeps us stuck in a fruitless cycle of dissatisfaction and despair.

A woman eats lunch whilst working at her dream job

The concept of the Dream Job is alive and well, particularly in my industry. As a Career Coach, I see messaging on a daily basis promising to help people find / identify / land their DREAM job!

How very dreamy indeed.

But here's the thing. It's BS. It's a lie. And it's a dangerous lie at that. It can cause us to leave jobs that are simply imperfect, rather than leaving roles which are actually toxic.

Let's unpack this seemingly innocent notion of the dream job, and why it's so dangerous.

The Dream Job suggests perfection

The 'dream job' concept conjures up images of nirvana. An idealised, perfect role which comes to you in a flash of divine inspiration, in which there are:

  • perfect relationships, free from tension or difficulty

  • perfect bosses, who lead and support you in a perfect balance

  • perfect projects, with just the right level of stretch

  • perfect missions, a common purpose which inspires you every day

  • perfect logistics - the ideal commuting distance, salary, and working model

And that sounds GREAT, doesn't it?

But here's the truth: those roles don't exist.

You are always going to have a certain percentage of admin, faff, annoyance and not-so-perfect elements to any role. I'd say anywhere between 10-20% pure faff is normal.

You just are. That's reality.

Whether it's the project you were hoping to duck away from, the tension with Justin from Sales, the mandatory Wednesday in-person team meeting you wish was a Teams call, or wishing your manager was just a little more responsive, these are all completely normal nuisances.

Missing the dream makes us feel constantly disappointed

The dream job gives us some serious career FOMO.

With the promise that our dream job is out there if we had only looked a little harder, we are driven to be constantly looking over the fence, full of 'grass is greener' syndrome.

This is dangerous because it can make us doubt the very decent job that we're in, and fill us with apprehension that we're somehow missing a trick.

Which wrong decisions did we make? Are we unworthy of the dream? Do we not deserve a perfect career? Why are we struggling is everyone else has it sorted?

That hyper-vigilance and second-guessing is exhausting.

Painting the picture of the dream job, which is free from anything you dislike and consists purely of aspects from a fantasy, sets us up for chronic disappointment.

Here's how to think of it instead

All this isn't to say that better-for-you jobs don't exist.

When I'm coaching my clients, we focus on which careers will have greater fit and alignment with who you are as a person. Jobs which:

  • Give you energy

  • Fit to your values

  • Utilise your strengths

Those are jobs which are ideal for you. They won't be a dream come true, but they will greatly improve your career fulfilment and satisfaction.

And that's the thing about dream jobs. We just don't need that phrase, because ideal jobs are out there, with all their flaws, and are still great options.

So let's put this notion of dream jobs to bed. It is, after all, where they came from.

Unsure what your ideal fit is?

Grab my Career Clarity Toolkit (use CLARITY20 for 20% off) for step by step guidance on figuring out what's not working in your current career, and what it is that you're actually looking for.

Always on your side,

CEO and Founder, Clarity Coaching with Louise


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