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About The Job Experiment

Haven’t figured out what you want to do with your life yet? Haven’t found a job that gets you truly excited to wake up in the morning? Me neither. That’s why I’m dedicating 2018 to exploring 100 jobs to discover one (or several) that I’m passionate about. And I’m helping... Read more

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6 Reasons Why Searching For Your Dream Job Is Like Dating

The further I get into the search for my dream job, the more I find the need to remind myself of the same six things.

It wasn’t until I told myself these things for the tenth time that I realized how similar the search for a dream job is to dating. And luckily, as odd as it may seem, this uncanny comparison is what has helped me stay encouraged throughout my search.

Without these reminders, I would probably call it quits tomorrow. But with them, I find the resolve needed to keep going and not settle, and the wisdom needed to keep my expectations in check.

So, the next time you find yourself wanting to call off the search party, remember:

1. They won’t all be “keepers”

Think of every person you’ve ever dated throughout the years regardless of how long the relationship lasted. Were you crazy about all of them? I’m sure you weren’t. As a matter of fact, I’m sure there are some dates you’d prefer to forget!

Searching for your dream job is the same deal. Regardless of whether you explore 10 or 1,000 jobs, the odds are that you’re simply not going to like every single one.

So, as you begin the search for your dream job, be prepared knowing that you may have to explore a few before finding a “keeper.”

2. There will be break-ups

Throughout my career, I’ve made four major moves. Moves into completely different fields. At one point during each career, I thought I was set and that I wouldn’t change careers again. But after a while, I would eventually find myself in the same place. One where I realized that my career had either stagnated or that I never loved it to begin with.

And because so, I ended up “breaking up” with each career and moving on. While I was going through the break-ups, I’d find myself discouraged at the fact that I’d have to “start over” in a new career – getting to know a new field, job, people, and everything else that came along with it. But now, I realize that these break-ups were a natural and important part of my journey.

You see, it’s normal for our preferences to change over time. And as a result, just as we break off our relationships, we’ll do the same with our jobs.

Although these break-ups may seem like a step back and will be difficult to get through, remind yourself that they’re actually positives because of the lessons that they’ll come with. Lessons that will teach you more about yourself and what you like/dislike in a job, and lessons that will help you further refine what you are looking for.

Only because I’ve worked in an office do I now understand that I could never do so again. Only because I’ve worked in retail banking do I know that I could never cut it in the sales world. So, even though the break-up may suck when you’re going through it, cheer up knowing that you’ll one day be grateful for it.

3. Get ready for rejection

Just like dating comes with a hefty side of rejection, so, too, does the search for your dream job. Aside from the obvious rejection that you’ll face once you find your dream job and start applying to open opportunities, you should expect rejection throughout your search as well.

To provide an example, within the last month, I successfully set up 10 job shadows and Q&As with professionals. That’s amazing, right? It absolutely is! But, it’s important to know that in order to do this, I had to reach out to about 30 people/organizations; 20 of which didn’t respond at all. But just like when it comes to rejection in dating, neither is this a negative reflection of them or me. People are busy!

Once you get started, you’ll be truly surprised to see just how many people are willing to help you. But in order to find them, you’ll need to prepare yourself for a handful of “no’s” before you get a “yes.”

Rejection is a normal part of life, and while it might be frustrating to experience it during a process that’s already quite frustrating, find satisfaction in it because it’s only making you more resilient. And all the rejection will only make it that much sweeter when you find your dream job.

4. Love/passion develops over time

If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, think back to the first time you met or dated this person. Did you love this person right away? Chances are you didn’t. You may not have even noticed the person at first and it may have taken a few meetings for you to start liking him/her. And when you did start having feelings, they probably progressed from an initial spark, to “like,” to an eventual love for the person.

These progressive feelings also apply to your dream job search. With each job experiment, you should look for that spark. That something that intrigues your interest just enough to make you want to explore it further. Then from there, you may find yourself spending more and more time pursuing that career to the point that you actually love it.

Now, it is possible that you could experience “love at first sight” – in either dating or your job search – but if you do, you’re lucky as that’s quite rare! But if you’re part of the majority that don’t, remain hopeful knowing that “like” could one day, perhaps, turn into “love.”

5. Nine out of ten checked boxes does not equal “the one”

So imagine you’ve just met someone that you truly believe has the potential to be your dream partner. Not only does this person treat you like the royalty that you are, but s/he also happens to have a successful career, gets along great with your family and even has all his/her student debt paid-off. This person fulfills 9 out of 10 things on your “Ideal Partner” scorecard, but wait, there’s one big problem. You know that one day you definitely want to start a family, but your new found mate definitely doesn’t and neither of you are willing to budge. What do you do?

A similar scenario may present itself in your career as it did for me.

I’ve had jobs that were financially stable, had solid growth trajectory, came with the best (and, I mean the best) co-workers, and were intellectually stimulating. They seemed like the perfect careers to some, but to me, each lacked certain key aspects of the “dream job” I was looking for whether it be more opportunities to be artistic, the chance to meet/work with different people every day, or just be outdoors more often. And because none of them could fulfill all of the key things I wanted in a job, I had to move on.

If you find yourself in the same situation where it’s tempting to settle for the job that’s 9 out of 10, don’t. But, if you do have to settle for some reason (e.g., financial stability), make sure it’s only temporary and re-start your search when you get the chance.

6. Just because you haven’t found the perfect match yet doesn’t mean you never will

Maybe you’ve had 50 jobs over the past 50 years. Or maybe you’ve swiped left too many times to count. Regardless of how many jobs (or dates) you’ve explored and vetoed, don’t get discouraged.

You must remain hopeful that your dream job is out there if you want to find it.

Over the past twelve years, I’ve explored dozens and dozens of jobs. After a while, I just got tired of searching for the perfect match, so I gave up. What this led to was me settling in a career I didn’t love. And because I didn’t love what I settled in, I found myself unhappier than ever. I had completely given up hope that a “dream job” existed.

But then, I realized that I gave up too soon. The fact of the matter is, there are just way too many unexplored options out there to get discouraged. Sure, I may have explored several dozens jobs that exist in the world, but what about the (literally) millions of others that I haven’t? Just because you haven’t found your dream job yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And just because you haven’t found it yet, doesn’t mean you never will. Have hope!

Questions, comments, suggestions?

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Deborah Flores

About Deborah Flores

Tired of settling for a career I don't love, I decided to dedicate 2018 to exploring 100 jobs. Along the way, I'm blogging about my experiences and everything I've learned to help others that are also trying to find their way!


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