Dream Jobs Are Never Found

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]

  • Pingback: Dream Jobs Are Never Found | The Church of No People

  • http://sarahkocischeilz.wordpress.com/ Sarah Koci Scheilz

    clinging to this line: “you are in control of how you experience it.” A BEAUTIFUL truth!

    • http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com Matt @ The Church of No People

      You have to cling to that! It has helped survivors of terrible events to persevere. It is one of the few things we are always in control of!

  • Moriah D

    I started out volunteering for a non-profit, and before I knew it I was a full time employee with a salary. I LOVED my job. I asked myself, “What do I want my dream job to provide me?” The answers were simple: The opportunity to mentor young people; a chance to travel; earn enough money to pay my bills, save, and have a little left over for fun. When I spotted the opportunity that would afford those things, I jumped, and then created from there. So my dream job was there all along – it just needed a little customization!

    • http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com Matt @ The Church of No People

      Love that question- what do I want my dream job to provide me? We can spend a lifetime complaining and never form an idea of what we actually want.

  • http://lifebeforethebucket.blogspot.com/ Adrian Waller

    I definitely am looking to create my own dream job. It’s not a very common thing, and I don’t want to make much money. I know it’s not popular, but it’s what God has called me to.

    • http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com Matt @ The Church of No People

      Maybe it’s not common because most people think dream jobs come ready-made :)

    • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

      LOVE this Adrian. You are wise beyond your years friend!

  • Leslie

    Thank you for pointing out that teachers don’t get all summer to play in. And you haven’t even mentioned the need for continuing education courses. I was happy to take two weeks off!

    No job is perfect. Teaching came with papers to grade and classroom discipline. Being a full-time mom meant housework, diapers, and the mental stimulation of a toddler. Now I’m a photographer–it’s amazingly wonderful, but still includes hours in front of the computer processing RAW images, accounting and marketing (ugh!) and a very small income. (Maybe if I was better at the marketing, the income would go up!)

    • http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com Matt @ The Church of No People

      Yep – even dream jobs have their headaches. :)

  • http://oneconfusedlady.blogspot.com/ Anokina Shahbaz

    Loved the post, thanks Matt. I also liked that line the best: “no matter what your job is, you are in control of how you experience it.” Complaining is easy… doing something to change things is not.

    • http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com Matt @ The Church of No People

      That really is the common thread among all of us. We are in charge of something, even if it is just that.

  • http://smartchurchmanagement.com/ Patricia Lotich

    Great post Matt! I took the plunge a year ago to jump start my own business and am really excited about the new “freedom” that comes with being your own boss. There are definitely ups and downs and incorporating a social aspect to life is important but at the end of the day, being in personal control is all that matters. Thanks or the reminder!

    • http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com Matt @ The Church of No People

      I am sure there are lots of ups and downs – and no safety net! :) You don’t even have a boss to blame. But even those of us with bosses don’t have to strike out on our own to know what it means to invest in shaping our jobs. Good luck!

  • http://amiriche.blogspot.com/ Edwena Dixon

    I agree a persons dream job is created but I believe it starts before that.
    I think it’s about lifestyle design. Determining what type of lifestyle a person desires and then creating a job that facilitates that lifestyle.

    • http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com Matt @ The Church of No People

      Excellent point! A job is just a component of the whole life. We too often make it our entire identity.

  • Unapologetic Prophet

    Wow, Matt! You are an amazing motivational speaker, indeed! It’s refreshing to hear a Pastor tell me that I need to use my creative power to shape my world! Thanks so much!

  • David

    I am in complete agreement. My new job as a freelance web site designer/architect has the best hours, allows me to work from anywhere, has work I can so no to, and pays really well. It’s a little scary on the financial front because I always need more work, but the rest of it like a lot!

  • Maranatha John

    True! The happiest people at the workplace are those who are there for the love of the job, not for the money. They are driven by an inner joy and happiness which drives them to be extensively creative about what they do. Money is the last thing on their mind. I think if people understood this truth they’ll do better at their jobs, and moreover know what kind of job to choose. In “Rule of Church work” Dag Heward-Mills brings this topic to light in a luciferous manner! It’ll transform your view of any type of work, especially in the church. Check it out.. :)