4 Ways to Architect Your Dream Job When You Don't Believe the Perfect Job Exists

building dream job

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Fairygodboss
April 14, 2024 at 5:30AM UTC

2022 looks like it could be a job seeker’s utopia, but what if you don’t dream of a world where you have to work? The elusive “dream job” makes us feel like somewhere there is a perfect position for us, one where we’ll actually love every minute of our workday and feel financially, emotionally and mentally secure. Yet the truth is, many of us don’t actually dream of working at all.

This doesn’t mean we’re lazy or aren’t superstar employees when we’re in the right position; it means that our true aspirations are separate from our careers. We can still be motivated, dedicated members of the workforce. And for the many of us who need to financially support ourselves and others, we don’t really have a choice.

So how do you discover your dream job when you don’t dream of having a job?

1. Understand what work you actually like doing.

Instead of thinking about what field or industry you should be in, start by considering what kind of work you actually like to do. Do you like being on your feet, traveling around and visiting different places? Do you like working from home and being an individual contributor? List all of the tasks and projects you like doing, as well as how you like to do them. There’s a big difference between someone who individually contributes content to a company vs. someone who manages a full editorial team. Your preferred working style matters — so it’s crucial to understand what working style works for you.

2. Figure out what benefits matters to you.

There’s so much more to a job than the job responsibilities. Where the job’s located, its salary, its vacation days, healthcare and other benefits help make up what the role actually is. Make another list for all of the benefits you’d ideally get from a company. Dream big and be honest with yourself about what benefits would really sell you on this position. 

3. Find companies that share your values.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a company that completely agrees with you on everything. Yet finding a mission-driven company that shares some of your key values can make it easier and more motivating to work for them at the end of the day. Consider what social issues are important to you. Are you all for fighting for environmental rights? Do you want to help give people equal access to technology? Do you want to help women in the workplace? 

A workplace doesn’t have to be explicitly mission-driven to match your values, either. Maybe they care about upskilling their workforce and you have an interest in taking new classes and learning new tools. Maybe they have diversity and inclusion practices that foster a culture you’d like to be a part of.

Look at companies’ mission statements, brand, reviews and people who work for that company to suss out what they truly value and whether they live out their mission.

4. Learn what people like you like to do.

Turning to your network can be a great way to learn about jobs, careers and industries you never even knew existed. Ask close friends and professionals you trust about their work lives and what they love about their job. Get more specific than their day-to-day; ask about work-life balance, their company’s values and their work culture. You’ll be able to pick up on different things you might want to try and look out for. You might even find a position or company that you may not dream of working for, but sounds like something that might be that perfect “good enough” fit.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for finding your dream job?  Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article reflects the views of the author and not those of Fairygodboss.

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