Your “Dream Job” Could Be Your Current Job
If you’ve ever wanted a dream job, Carson Tate, founder and managing partner of Working Simply, Inc. and author of Own It. Love It. Make It Work: How to Make Any Job Your Dream Job, has great news: you could have your dream job right now, and not even realize it.
What is a dream job?
A dream job is one where you’re recognized, rewarded, and your daily tasks align clearly with a company’s mission – all while contributing to larger goals. It’s meaningful, personal, and fosters connectivity and compassion, serving to better the world we live in. But is it a specific role, doing specific assignments? Not exactly.
“It is possible to make any job a dream job,” Tate says. “A dream job is created or realized when you identify your unique engagement needs and have a conversation with your manager to co-create a professional experience that enables you, your manager and the company to all achieve your goals.”
If you’re experiencing discrimination or abuse, Tate says, that’s an immediate disqualifier, and you should talk to HR or an employee assistance program. But for the most part, any job in which you can openly talk to your boss about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it is a dream job.
“The value and importance of your work are defined by you,” Tate continues. “Meaning is not controlled by what happens in your life. It is made by your interpretation of the events in your life. Your inner self-talk shapes constructs, and defines it.”
“Since we all view the world through a different lens, it is impossible to provide a universal, one-size-fits-all definition of meaningful work. It is too subjective, and uniquely yours. No one can define it for you. You can find meaning in any job because you define it. No jobs are exempt from significance.”
How do I get my dream job?
Everybody wants a dream job, Tate says, as everyone wants to make a living and enjoy life at the same time. So how do you get what you need out of a job enough to make it your dream job?
“To get or work in a dream job requires that you know your unique engagement needs,” Tate begins. “You cannot outsource your professional fulfillment nor satisfaction to your manager or your company, nor can your manager “read your mind” or know exactly what you need to find joy and purpose in your work. A dream job requires that you are an active creator of your experience and partner with your manager and company to co-create a job that is mutually beneficial to both of you and enables both of you to achieve your goals.”
Tate notes that in order to define these engagement needs thoroughly, there are Five Essentials of Professional Fulfillment to keep in mind:
Everyone wants to be recognized for their offerings to a team or company’s effort, and without it, we may lose motivation or passion. In this step, you have to figure out how you want to be recognized for the work you do, and what would make you feel the most appreciated – your “work love language,” so to speak.
Here, you’ve got to figure out your specific skill set, including your strengths and the innovative things you bring to the table that no one else can. Take those positive attributes here, and use them as bargaining chips. What can the company get out of my special skill set? And what do I need to allow my skills to shine through?
You then have to figure out your weaknesses, some that may compliment your strengths, and how you wish to work on them (or not). There may be skills that you want to cultivate, and your job may very well be the place to do it. There may also be skills you have no interest in developing, as they won’t advance your career, and here, you need to figure out what those are and how your company can benefit from your growth.
You then turn to the relationships with your team, and how your daily office life will function on a humanistic level. You want to advance your career, enjoy your work, and build lifelong connections or friendships conducive to the king of challenging and empathic communication you’ll need to cultivate throughout life.
Finally, you need to design your job so that you can find meaning in your work. Even if it’s a simple task, like credentialing or data entry, you’ve got to find a way to make it align with your experience, personal morals and goals. Without that, your job might be enjoyable, but it won’t be a dream job. To get inspired by all of the possibilities out there, explore these vacancies and find your dream job.
Turn your current job into a dream job – right now
After you’ve asked yourself about the details of your Professional Fulfillment Essentials, you can then go to your manager, and start to have conversations about changing your work environment to benefit not only yourself but the company’s bottom line. However, if you’re a bit stretched for time, and you don’t have the hours it may take to dig deep inside yourself looking for the answers to the many existential questions the work realm unveils, there’s a solution. Below are three ways that Tate says you can take the job you may have now, which may be a little less fulfilling than you’d hope, and make yourself a little happier.
Though it may seem like a negative attribute, Tate says, procrastination can you’re your to-do list and cut it down to size. When you see something you’ve been intending to accomplish for a while, ask yourself the following questions:
- How important is this task or project?
- Will it enable you to achieve a goal?
- Does it drive revenue?
- Does it require your unique skills, experiences and talents?
“If the answer is no,” Tate says, “remove it from your task list guilt-free.”
2. Develop routines
While people might say that routines make you boring, Tate begs to differ. Like many productivity experts, Tate stresses the importance of eliminating small decisions from your life in order to decrease decision fatigue.
“It’s not the routine tasks that make you happier, it is the time you gain when you routine-ize your tasks. That’s time you can spend on professional projects that energize and excite you, or with family and friends or pursuing personal interests.”
Tate’s recommendation is to routinize the following tasks to make time for more gratifying activities:
- Check email on a schedule. For example, morning, mid-morning, after lunch, afternoon and the end of the day.
- Use templates and signatures to standardize your responses.
- Standardize your wardrobe and meal choices
3. Take breaks
If you have any thoughts about grind culture, just table them and circle back – Tate says that taking breaks is one of the most important things about working.
“Just grinding it out,” Tate says, is a “recipe for misery. However, we are reluctant to work differently, even if it would make us happier. Why? Because we might be viewed as not committed or lazy. But the opposite is true. If you want to produce valuable ideas, accomplish your goals and be happier at work, it’s time to start taking breaks throughout your workday.”
Instead of just breaking in to check your email, Tate says, here are some easy ways that you refresh your day:
- Take multiple, planned short breaks – 5 minutes – throughout your workday.
- To maximize your break, get moving. Walk up and down the stairs in your apartment building, or walk around the block.
- Ask a coworker to be your “break buddy” for additional accountability. Set times to take your break virtually together.