The first day of school. It’s happening all over the country.
A fresh start.
First days of school are full of all kinds of things. Kids are full of excitement and anxiety. They’re wearing their new school clothes. They’re scuffing their new school shoes. They’re excited about getting to use their new box of crayons or pencils, or nervous about having to ride a new bus. It’s a turbulent, emotional, roller coaster of a day.
I bet even adults, for whom school was a lifetime ago can remember at least one first day of school.
The tradition of a fresh start every year is a tradition that most adults have long forgotten about. It just doesn’t exist in the adult world. The adult world seems like a never-ending rat race, compared to the idyllic looking world of nine month school years.
But the tradition of the first day of school has reminded me once again about a very real grown-up obsession:
Finding your dream job.
I think I just figured out how to find your dream job.
Creation Is Job Number One
The first day of school seems like the beginning of a new era. But kids (and their parents) almost never see or think about what happened before the first day of school. It’s like Genesis 1:1. In the beginning, God makes the world. But no one thinks about what happened before that.
First days of school don’t happen by accident. Students spend three months at the pool or at camp or playing video games or on vacation. I think students assume teachers do the same, and parents sometimes sneer at a job that provides three month vacations.
Well, I didn’t play nearly enough video games this summer. I spent weeks getting ready for the first day of school. The first day of school, and really the entire year, is something that teachers spend three months creating.
Creating My Job
This summer, I spent weeks creating the kind of school year I want to experience. I created the kind of room I want to live in. I created the kinds of lessons I want to teach. I created the goals that I want to reach.
I have created my job for the next nine months.
This summer has been a massive creative process that will come to fruition over the next nine months. Some of it has been fun. Some of it has been very tedious. Some of it has meant negotiating with others. I have fiercely owned this project. I have advocated for it, protected it, nurtured it and defended it. Sure, the skeleton of my job is set out in my contract. It’s not negotiable. But I have put the flesh on that skeleton. I have decided what my next nine months will look like.
You Will Never Find Your Dream Job
This is what I have finally figured out about dream jobs, those elusive places that all working adults want to get to, few seem to be able to find, and even fewer are able to tell the rest of us how to get there:
Dream jobs are not found.
They are created.
No business owner or board of directors sits down to craft contracts for dream jobs. Dream jobs don’t come pre-packaged, perfect right out of the box. The best jobs start as mediocre jobs, and are owned and shaped by the people who own them. The most successful, happy people don’t just go down the checklist of requirements. They own their job and drive the goals they want to see accomplished (while checking off the list of requirements.)
We are not in control of our paychecks or our bosses or coworkers. But no matter what your job is, you are in control of how you experience it. Whatever your domain is, whether it’s a tiny desk, a cubicle, office, or classroom, you have a domain where you are in charge. You might get laid off, or your boss might make you miserable, but if you aren’t using your creative power to shape your job into the one you want, that’s your fault.
I could keep the same job for ten years, and every first day of school could be the start of a new dream job, or a nightmare.
Most of that is up to me.
Have you been able to create your dream job? What is standing in your way?
Join me the rest of this week at my blog, as I continue this series on creating your dream job!
[photo: dprevite, Creative Commons]