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Find Your Dream Job

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.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I would say heart. You have to love what you do. All of the above are important but without at least liking what you do than imagine hating life for 8 plus hours a day until you retire.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I can’t believe I left that out. haha

  2. For me the job is the most important aspect. I have to enjoy my job or career. All the other criteria does not matter if I don’t like my job/career.

  3. Ability to live my life. It doesn’t matter how much I like my job if the rest of my life sucks because my hours are long, or don’t match up with those of my friends and family, or if I make so little money that I can barely afford to live, let alone take vacations…
    As for the job itself- good coworkers. I’ve found that how much I like my job is way more dependent on my co-workers than it is on the duties I’m doing.

    • That’s another great point about co-workers. A good work environment means a lot these days.

  4. I would have to agree with Jai – heart/passion is number one. Most people look at what I do and say, “You must love you do – you couldn’t pay me enough for that job!” I usually take that as a complement:).

    • Great point, Kevin. Otherwise, it’s like trading your life away for a paycheck.

  5. “You must love WHAT you do” 🙂

  6. Right now my dream job is being able to work with the people that matter and are willing to make a difference. I love being around passionate people. That’s what makes me get up early in the morning and go to bed really late at night.

  7. Fulfillment and flexibility.

  8. It think it’s really great that you mention important aspects of finding a dream job like salary, responsibility, and hours. A lot of people try to find their passion but don’t think about the day to day in working in their field of passion. For me, a dream job would have to include doing work that allows me to write and help people.

    Since this post is so helpful, I’ve included it in ReadyForZero’s Monday Shout Outs: How to Find a Job – and Keep It – Edition. Thanks for sharing such valuable advice!

    • Awesome! Thanks for the comment and the link!

  9. For me a job has to help me grow, i.e.,learn new things while also helping others grow.

    It has to be challenging too.

    I really can’t say how much of passion is involved and I think passion develops as you progress in life. There are many things I was passionate about in the past, but not anymore.

    • That’s true James. Your passion can definitely change as you go through life. The key is to find a job that will make you want to come to work the next day and the next day, rather than dreading every minute of it.

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