Dream Job

Copyright: yarruta / 123RF Stock Photo

As kids, we just didn’t worry about the practicalities that we’ve grown to accept as part of everyday life. We didn’t worry about money, we didn’t worry about failure – we just knew what we wanted to do. We were driven by our passions.

The results of a survey done by LinkedIn from 2012 show that 30% of respondents currently have their childhood dream job or work in a career related to their childhood dream job. I was not able to find the breakdown of the 30%, but think it safe to assume that 30% of the 30% actually have their childhood dream job. So since the survey included “over 8,000” professionals I figure that 720 of them have their dream job (9%) and 1,680 (21%) are in a related career. Therefore, 91% of the respondents are NOT in their dream job.

The same survey states that the most common reason for not being in that job is that as respondents got older, they “became interested in a different career path.” The study does not say, but it seems likely to me that if the discussions were boiled down we would find four possible reasons. It could have been that:

  • passions changed as they learned more about the world,
  • an understanding of the work required to get the job was overwhelming,
  • an understanding of the skills required to get the job created what appeared to be an insurmountable gap, or
  • the type of work was not supported by those around the individual.

A related study conducted the Toluna Group for Discover Financial Services in 2013, makes me believe that most people who are not in their childhood dream job did not have a change in their passions. According to this study, the most important criteria when choosing a major for students is that they dreamed of a particular job since childhood, but parents put the emphasis squarely on having a job after graduation. Upon graduation, the graduates felt that the biggest benefit of college would be preparation for a job that pays well and parents hoped that their young graduates would have a degree that would allow them a wide range of job choices. Given that neither parents nor graduates were concerned with their dream job upon graduation, I feel comfortable in concluding that something other than their passions changed along the way. It’s particularly concerning to me that the graduates went from wanting to choose a major that aligns with their dream job to wanting to get a job that paid well.

I loved two things when I was a kid – I loved technology, and I loved books.

I started programming in grade school, spending more time in the computer lab in 4th grade than in my classroom. I may be one of the few kids who learned assembly language programming on a Commodore-64. I was getting paid for programs when I was in high school, and had a summer job as a programmer in college. I am, alas, no longer paid to program although I do still do some on the side – I am a technology and strategy consultant, so I think I fall into the “related field” category. I stopped programming because that was the career path that was before me, and I followed it.

I wrote a little bit in college, but nothing ever came from it. I haven’t written since then, but I am working on it now through my blog. My goal, as I’ve shared, is to end up with a book deal and opportunities to speak publicly about my passions.

So, are you in your childhood dream job, a related field, or something totally different? Why?

Emergence Redux

Copyright: logoboom / 123RF Stock PhotoAs I’ve taken the time to think about my position on Emergence, I’ve come up with six points that I will strive to support going forward. Emergence is an ongoing process, which I feel to be extremely relevant to success of our times. Failure to pursue emergence means stagnation in terms of pursuing your passions – and who wants that, right?

As we’ve grown, we’ve allowed ourselves to be molded by society and this gradual change also means that we’ve allowed ourselves to adopt the expectations and values that society demonstrates. In many cases, this is good. A productive society with an agreed upon set of rules (or laws) which cover personal liberties is critical to our survival; yes, they can become overbearing but I do not want to cover that here. For purposes of Emergence though, the blind acceptance of societal norms can cause problems. This acceptance has caused us to bury our passions and our good. Most of us are not following the dreams, passions and desires that we demonstrated as children. I get that not everyone still really wants to be an astronaut, movie star, or doctor, but at the same time we all have a creative spark – and most of us are not honoring it. This is largely due to our upbringing, education, and the way that we are measured.

Deciding to go back and uncover those buried passions – the process of Emergence – can be extremely difficult. We have, over time, succumbed to an increasing list of responsibilities in the form of finances, relationships, societal expectations, and behaviors (to name a few). The idea of changing our relationship with any of these things is daunting, and yet our ability to move beyond these limited expectations is crucial to Emergence. If we change, will things still be okay? Will I still be able to feed myself and my family? Will my family still love me? Will my friends still be there for me? These fears are real for us and for those around us. Going through the process of Emergence will also uncover truths about ourselves that we would normally turn a blind eye to – we will confront the things that caused us to bury ourselves and also review the actions we’ve taken to make us feel better about it.

Despite the difficulties in Emergence, a growing number of people are pursuing it. This is evidenced by the huge number of self-help books, magazines and blogs, the creation of all the various “life coaching” jobs, and the number of media stars who focus on these areas. People are also starting to consider themselves more religious or spiritual – and those that don’t hold to a belief of a higher power still feel that they have a purpose. Many are in pursuit of this purpose or vision. Volunteering of time or donating money are up, showing that we are starting to learn that giving of ourselves is part of Emergence.

Once we’ve done the work and uncovered our good, there is a path to follow which will allow us to use that good to bring ourselves to a place where we can live from our passions. It’s important to know where we are headed, for as Lewis Carroll said: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Once we know where we are headed, we can create the map – the set of milestones that we will follow to keep us on the path. This is done through visioning and goal setting.

All of this work, while challenging, is worth it. Living from our passions lets us live a happier life, and demonstrates to those around us that a fulfilling life is possible – and that we can achieve this by following our own path and not the path that is “handed” to us. Once we start to truly live from this passion, we become more open to helping those around us. And that benefits everyone.

While we create visions and goals to assist us in our Emergence, it is an ongoing process. One that continually unfolds as we learn more and more about ourselves. And like any journey, there will be twists and turns – no story worth hearing or telling ever started with “They all lived happily ever after”. Society will conspire to stuff you back in your cubby hole – continue to push back. Failures will occur – they need to be reframed. Fear will surface – learn what it has to tell you and continue moving forward.

I know I’m not offering proof for any of these premises here, but I will as I continue on this journey – and if I find that I’m wrong, I’ll work through that with you as well. As always, I value your company on the journey.

Ongoing Emergence

Copyright: tdoes / 123RF Stock PhotoEmergence is an ongoing process. As we learn more about ourselves, our goals, our vision, things change. Priorities change. Focus shifts. And we emerge again. It is ongoing.

Lots of things have been going on over the past few weeks; I needed a break from writing. I also felt a bit lost – like I was simply flinging around my opinion with nothing to back it up. Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just not how I like to convince people of my point. So I stepped back.

Last week I picked up a book called “How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass“. The title is misleading, but it certainly caught my attention. The subtitle is “A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions”. And after having read about half of it, I understand why I was drawn to it. It’s reminded me of the basics of creating a well thought out argument, and it’s providing the blueprint for how I’m going to move this endeavor forward.

While I plan to share my ideas using a more formalized structure going forward, I’ll still throw in personal observations and thoughts.  I just won’t spend most of my posts like that anymore.  I’m looking forward to the ongoing emergence, and appreciate your willingness to hang in there with me.