Guest Post: Does the dream job really exist?

Friends, they make the world spin around don’t they? Without them we’d be bored, lonely and serious deprived of conversation.

One of absolute fav human-beans is my ex flat-mate and London soul mate – Sinead! (The only person I’m allowed to spoon except my boyfriend).

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Me and Sinead have that ‘twin thing’, we’d don’t always agree but we get each other in a way I’ve not really experienced before. She’s the cheese to my pickle.

Not only that but she’s a very talented Charity PR Manager who made the jump into a totally new field in order to follow her dreams to the ‘perfect job’ – but does that really exist? Sinead is here to tell you more…

Landing our ‘dream job’ is the common talking point for most of my friends when we meet up. Over dinner, drinks, McDonalds at 2am in the morning there is always one who hates work altogether and would make us all millionaires if she could, one who is destined to be a free spirit and is packing it all in to go travelling and one who wants to land her dream job and feels that she hasn’t achieved much until she does it.

Being late 20’s and with no real family responsibilities yet, rightly or wrongly work is where we spend the majority of our time and there is a looming pressure that we should have had it figured out by now, we are after all not baby-faced grads anymore.

If you hadn’t guessed by the title of this post, for my sins I am the last girl mentioned from the above. I really wish I could care less, take myself less seriously but the reality is that I do care. A lot. I justify it to myself that it’s the next 40 years of my life, so I should make the most of it, feel passionate about something and not pick any old job that pays the bills.

After working my way up at one of the biggest consumer communications agencies in London I’d set my heart on getting my ‘dream job’. One where I could make a difference – even if it was small one. I wanted to switch roles and work in the charity sector and use my skills to encourage more people to fund and get behind good causes.

Simple enough I thought. I’d done the terrors of my junior years learning what I needed to and now I was ready to make the leap across to a different sector within the same industry. How hard could it be?

Well making that ambition a reality was… to say… somewhat challenging.

Something they don’t tell you at university is that you need to be really careful and considered when you take your first job. If you stay in one job or sector too long, you will eventually pigeonhole yourself in and when you do make that decision to leave, you’ll be told you don’t have enough relevant experience in what the new employer needs.

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I must have interviewed at a countless number of charities and non-for-profits. I got interviews, got on well; sometimes even got a second interview but then was pipped to the post by someone with more relevant experience. That’s the problem with the London job market, there is always someone smarter, quicker and *sobs* better than you ready to battle it out for that dream position. As its likely their dream job too.

I’ll admit I was gutted. For a while I felt really stuck. I had realised what I wanted to do, but left it too late and couldn’t see a way forward that didn’t involve starting all over again.

As it turns out I wasn’t stuck and you never really are. All skills are transferable and there is always a way forward. I picked myself up and looked for another opportunity. It wasn’t charity, but did a lot of CSR work. At the time, I told myself that it was at least related.

The job has in fact turned out to be the best job I have ever had. It’s interesting, pays well, has great people and I am working across some of the biggest charities in the UK, helping them with their communications strategy. I actually really love it, and I’m not just saying that. My friends and family say I look happier, more content and they are even surprised how well it’s turned out.

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What I have learnt from that experience and speaking to all my friends about it is that no one ever really lands their ‘dream job’. Your dream job is what you make of it. Don’t beat yourself up, or compare yourself to others, thinking how have they managed to get there and I haven’t? The truth is whatever people say, every job is challenging (that’s why they call it a job) and it’s not a ‘dream’.

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It also taught me that whilst its very easy to always set the goal post further away, its important to realise what you have achieved rather than constantly berating yourself for what you haven’t. Give yourself a pat on the back and keep working towards your goal – whatever that may be. Be proud of the steps you have taken to get there. Happiness is not found in the external gratification of your achievements but in your own day-to-day mood alone.

Finally, if I could give you one piece of advice its to open yourself up to wider opportunities and don’t be afraid of change, it may just be better than you ever thought.

 

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