The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

What If Your Dream Job Doesn’t Exist Anymore?

Shelly Palmer asks a rather disturbing question.

How many people are now looking for jobs that no longer exist? If you used to be a computer photo typesetter, you were replaced in the 1980’s with desktop publishing. Now, if you had that skill set, you probably could have opened a boutique desktop-based print pre-production house and done fine. Or, you could have looked for work in the transportation or food services industry. They are all about as related.

Perhaps you’d like to be a theme music composer for television or a graphic designer for the broadcast industry. How about a gig as a professional studio trombone player, or a cameraperson on a remote three-person news crew?

All of these jobs still exist in some form, but they are far from dream jobs. In fact, these production skills have been commoditized and practitioners can look forward to making about the same kind of money as they would waiting tables in a good restaurant.

So, what’s the right answer?

This is the closest I could find in Palmer’s column, but it leaves me with questions.

What would you do differently if you had the ability to accurately assess the total potential of your dream job and found out that it was no longer possible for it to provide the living you dreamed accompanying it? There’s only one answer … you’d look for a different line of work.

Everything is change, I guess. And I believe I understand the Buddhist concept of impermanence. I had what was probably the closest thing I’ve had yet to a “dream job,” and it was good while it lasted, but it eventually changed.

My skill set was either no longer needed, or not as specialized as it used to be, or the company found more profitablility in an area that I didn’t have the skills for or wasn’t suited for. (If I’d been a talented project manager, I might still be there, but that whole ADD/executive functioning thing took care of that.)

Now, I have a job that doesn’t quite qualify for that title. I’ve looked for one that does, but without success. Now, the field is even more crowded with writers (thanks to closing newpapers, etc.), and thus more competitive. Being a blogger doesn’t quite have the cachet it used to.

But, I still dream of … something else.

So, what do you do if your dream job doesn’t exist anymore? What if it doesn’t exist in another line of work?

Do you dream a different dream?

Do you (finally) stop dreaming?

Either way, you gotta earn a paycheck, and on any given day you’ll spend the better part of it earning that paycheck or doing something related to earning it (like getting ready for work, commuting to work, etc.).

What do you do if the chances are slim and getting slimmer that you’ll be doing someting you love or even want to do for, say, eight hours a day?

One Comment

  1. I long ago gave up on having my paycheck come from something I love – I find every time I try to comodotize something I love doing, I end up hating it feeling like I’ve lost something I love.

    But as you say “you gotta earn a paycheck” and what has become important is WHERE I do that as opposed to what I am doing. I have regularly took pay cuts to take a chance at working for a better company and it has generally rewarded me.

    For me work environment takes priority over daily tasks, I find that many kinds of work can be rewarding if I like who I am working for, and who I am working with.

    Then I go home and knit, and sing and dye yarn, and garden and cook and play with my nephews and know that while no one is paying me to do it, the place that I work knows that this part of my life is important too.

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