Why You Should Stop Thinking “Dream Jobs” Exist

Obviously, just reading a single post on a blog can’t be a replacement for learning lessons the old-fashioned way: making mistakes and deciding whether you like the ripples from that blunder. Most of us are trying to minimize the amount of eggs on our face, though, and while I wouldn’t claim you can learn anything from a 400-word blog post, I can, at the very least, help open some eyes here. This piggybacks off a post U.S. News did rounding out a list of five professional lessons you’d be best served to learn sooner, rather than later.

Its post is aimed more at people just starting their careers out, but given that I know some lifers and people approaching their forties who still don’t know these points, I’ll do my part and pass it along to you guys.

Instead of rehashing all of them, I’ll zero in on its fourth point: There’s no such thing as a dream job. Take a look: 

As much as you might think that you'll love a particular job or to work at a particular company, you never know what it will really be like until you're there. Legions of people have discovered that their "dream job" came with a nightmare of a boss, or awful co-workers, or hours so long they could barely see their family. And feeling that an opening might be your dream job can lead you to miss crucial danger signs during the hiring process—causing you to accept a job that turns out to be nothing like your dream. 

I am not naming names, nor am I complaining or bragging, but my résumé is pretty ridiculous. It’s also pretty absurd for someone my age. The Onion. Rolling Stone. Adult Swim. All these places, and many more, were in my rear-view mirror as places I’ve worked for (or still do) in some capacity before I turned 30. But you know what? It’s still just a job. All jobs are just jobs. They will not complete your life, and you can have one that you think is perfect, and it will come with a lot of asterisks. The point is just this: Enjoy where you are and have faith it will pay off.

I’ve hit my 400-word limit, but I’d like to toss you to a new blog I’ve started with Jay Margalus, who is co-teaching a new class with me at DePaul. We’ve been ramping up a new blog about the games business and giving advice to kids who want to join it — and I posted a longer tirade about the whole notion of the “dream job” and why it’s kinda silly.  

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City and an adjunct professor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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