What do you want to be when you grow up?
I bet everyone has been asked this question at some point in their lives. Whether it is in elementary school or college, or even somewhere in between, we often aspire to do something. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were a child? I remember wanting to be a police officer as well as a dentist.
Are you at a point in your life where you are forced to make a decision on which career track to pursue? If so, regardless of whether it is applying for jobs, going back to graduate school, or just re-thinking your career in general, it is a crucial point in your life. The next 5-10 years could be affected by this very decision. As it turns out, I am facing a similar decision. I will be finishing my graduate degree in December (knock on wood) and I am left wondering whether to keep going or try something new.
A Child’s Dream Job
As we grow up, our dream job often changes. I believe part of this is a result of the limited number of jobs we are aware of as a child. If you think about it, there are very few jobs that a child is exposed to. The list of jobs would include: teacher, dentist, medical doctor, police officer, fireman, and maybe the parents’ jobs. This is a very short list. (Forgive me if I left off another obvious one) When you compare it to the typical response of children’s employment aspirations, it only makes sense why they are popular.
As it turns out, there is a lot of truth to this theory. My wife works for an educational reform non-profit that works in an inner-city school system. A driving force in the methodology of their after-school program is to connect students with different career opportunities. The main reason for doing so is because when they meet someone in a position like a business person, engineer, scientist, etc, they are able to envision themselves doing this position. They emphasize this aspect because students are able to motivate themselves in school if they have a dream job. It isn’t until we become aware of the position that we can envision ourselves in that position.
What is Your Dream Job?
It is through this exposure to new jobs that we begin to find a job or career that matches with our interests and abilities. We begin to formulate our own dream job. For some, their dream job is a realistic expectation, while others a dream job is more of a perfect-case scenario – a job that they never expect to happen. Over the course of the past 10-15 years, I have come to narrow my list of potential careers. We learn what is most important to us through life experiences and we move on. What is your criteria for a dream job the most? Here are some of the factors that define my dream job:
- Salary – There are many different situations that can make income the most important factor for your career choice. A child who grows up in a family that couldn’t afford new clothes, fancy vacations, or proper healthcare may grow up being convinced that money is everything. Or, a child who grows up with every want and desire could come to the same conclusion. While I am convinced that salary isn’t more important than happiness, I won’t deny that it plays a factor in most of my decisions.
- Work Hours – Another important aspect of a dream job may be the work hours. I once worked swing shift during one of my summer breaks in college and hated every minute of it. One week I would work mornings, another week afternoons, and the next week nights. My body felt like it was constantly confused, not knowing when to sleep and when to stay awake. It was at that moment that I knew I would prefer a 9-to-5 job so that I could stay on the same schedule and have my nights/weekends free. Others may feel differently or get bored with the standard business hours.
- Responsibility – This is another factor that varies from person to person. Some people aspire to be the next CEO of their company, being in charge of or managing everything, while others would prefer to stick with what they have mastered. Are you one to look for a management position in your dream job, or do you prefer to be responsible for just yourself? For this aspect, I am split. I enjoy the challenge of managing others, but there is something to say for only being responsible for yourself.
- Location – Work location is another important aspect. Some people prefer to travel, while others refuse to be separated from their families. Others may prefer to work out of their home, while some prefer an office space. I enjoy getting out of the house like anyone else, but there are some days that I would prefer the flexibility of working from home. Unfortunately, I just don’t have this luxury right now. While I enjoy traveling, I would much rather keep work traveling to a minimum.
What other criteria would you include to describe your dream job?
This post was written by Corey, a staff writer from 20′s Finances. He blogs to give young adults the materials needed to conquer financial challenges. He even shares how to get a job without experience.