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What if my dream job doesn’t exist?

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With thousands of jobs listed in the National Occupational Classification Dictionary, the first question I would ask you is,  “Are you sure it doesn’t exist?”  Labour market research is a critical component of finding if and where your dream job can be found. So unless you’ve spent the time researching all of the different sources to find if your dream job is already out there, then this could be just a convenient excuse for you to give into your fears and not take action.

Once you have researched all of these different sources chances are you will have found if not a perfect match, at least one or more descriptions that are similar enough to point you in the direction of certain industries or career paths to focus your more targeted research in. You may even find that, through your research, you came across some completely new ideas that seem unrelated to the dream job you started out with, but which seem equally appealing. Exploring these new options further could prove very fruitful.

An individual’s concept of their dream job consists of the closest match they can find between their current knowledge and experience base and the combination of words, images, and feelings that make up their vision of their ideal work. Therefore, an individual’s ability to find a match between the vision of their dream job and the real world is limited by their knowledge and experiences. This is a large part of the reason that most people never find their dream job. They have never experienced it and they don’t have any knowledge of anyone else experiencing it, so they assume it doesn’t exist and their search stops there.

Just think for a moment how illogical this behaviour is. There are in excess of x thousand jobs out there. The average person can probably name several hundred and recognize up to 1000. This means that there are thousands of jobs out there that the person has absolutely no knowledge or experience of and therefore these jobs are not taken into consideration as matches for their ideal work vision. For many of the people I have worked with over the years, this simple idea that finding their dream job is merely a matter of expanding their realm of knowledge and experience, has lead them to try new things and explore industries they wouldn’t have dreamed of looking at before. This process lead them to discover that their dream job did indeed exist, and often in a multitude of companies, industries, and career fields. (Incidentally, this same strategy of stepping outside of the box of your comfort zone and exploring activities and interests that are completely out of character for you is the most surefire way to deal with the problem of not really knowing what you love to do. If you have never experienced it, how could you know you are passionate about it?)

And none of this takes into consideration that hundreds of new jobs are created each year as technology, business practices and consumer preferences shift. So even if your dream job doesn’t exist now, chances are it will in a few years. If you see a need in the market for someone to fill that function, chances are others do too and eventually new products and services will be developed creating more jobs in that field.

Or if you are really keen, and can’t imagine how you would ever find a job that combines your expertise as an accountant with your passion for architecture why not go ahead and create your own job? Join one of the growing ranks of people who have combined two seemingly diverse areas of interest and expertise to become accountant-architects, coach-artists, entrepreneur-dancers, sociologist-marketing analysts…the list is infinite! Whether initiated by an individual who is committed to finding a way to combine all of their passions, or a creative company that finds technology, business processes, or consumer demands have shifted to require the pairing of formerly separate functions into a single role, this labour market trend towards hyphenated jobs represents unlimited opportunities to find or create work you love. (These types of jobs can also be key to leveraging your current expertise into an area where you don’t have any experience.)

In short, with the huge number of jobs and work environments that exist already, the rapid creation of new jobs each day, and the openness of the market to creativity and “job re-engineering” there is no reason to give in to the belief that your dream job does not and can not exist. All that is standing in your way is a little time, effort and research. What are you waiting for?

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