One year ago I started a dream job. It feels almost controversial to say. If I were reading this a year ago, I might have either rolled my eyes in skepticism or clicked through in wonder. At the time, the idea of landing a dream job was something I desperately wanted but didn’t know I would be able to attain.
Maybe a dream job isn’t something I should even be shooting for. I don’t live to work anyway.
Work is work. It’s always going to be insufferable.
My specific standards are too high. I’ll never be satisfied.
In the months following, I had to go through many changes, starting with my mindset to land where I am today.
Here are the main mindset shifts that helped me land a dream job:
1. Believe a dream job is possible
There was a big part of me that didn’t believe I could be happy professionally. And I don’t think those feelings are uncommon. Why?
- Sometimes we’ve never experienced a dream job. I was coming off years of not clicking with the roles I was in, so I was starting to doubt. Luckily I had an amazing role earlier in my career, and I was able to hold onto that as my beacon of hope. But if you’ve never had that, it can be tough.
- We’ve been conditioned not to believe in dream jobs. It’s better for employers to keep our standards low. If you look back at older generations, it also wasn’t really top of mind. A job was just a job.
- Sometimes, it’s easier to not believe. When I got my job, it was actually scary. When you have a crappy boss or team or role you have something to attribute to any unhappiness
However, anyone who has looked into manifestation or the law of attraction knows, it’s helpful to believe in what you are trying to achieve.
2. Be open to what a dream job could be
It can feel like a stretch to say you have a dream job. It’s like saying you found that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; you finished a never-ending journey to a destination that doesn’t exist. I think it’s because we put too much weight on those words.
First, you’ll notice I always say A dream job. I have a strong belief that there is a plethora of things a person can do that could be a dream. I was open to companies ranging from Amazon to Nike to LEGO to startups you’ve never heard of. The most important things to me were that I could be creative and do work grounded in connecting with Black and other traditionally overlooked communities.
As you’re kicking off your journey, define your core career values. For me, it was creativity, community, and fun. And take it a layer deeper to build clarity around how you want those to manifest. In my case, what helps me feel creative? How do I want to engage with community? What sort of work do I find fun? Once I had those questions answered, I had a specific, but wide scope of roles to consider.
Keeping focused on what truly matters, while maintaining openness to how that exact role looks can be extremely helpful.
3. Focus on your own dream
One of the last shifts I had to make was focusing on myself. I was living in the Bay Area working at a Big Tech company. There, there are a few clear definitions of success. And what I wanted to do around being a creative, focusing on multicultural, etc. wasn’t aligned with how an industry run by mostly White and Asian male engineers defined success.
When I was kicking off my dream job search, I went on a solo wellness retreat in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. There, I met Black women ranging from novel writers to private chefs, and more. It helped open my mind to other definitions of success. Even though I went back home to the technical engineers of the Bay, I tried to keep myself close to creatives by listening to podcasts, following accounts on social media, and more. And now, in my new role that’s who I spend my time with every day. And the success definitions that had weighed me down in the Bay for so long, no one here could care less about.
With these shifts, I was able to thoughtfully pursue a dream job and have the confidence to land that job. Every job has its challenges. I don’t prescribe to the idea “the best jobs don’t feel like work” because this definitely is work. But it’s work that enriches me. It’s work that excites me and brings out the sides of me that I want to express. And I’m looking forward to the career path this dream job takes me on next. #dreamjobsonly