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5 Ways To Deal With Realizing Your Dream Job Isn’t Your Dream

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Aug. 3 2021, Published 5:50 a.m. ET

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‘Dream job.’ The term is used so often that its meaning has been so heavily saturated and watered down that many have gotten way too comfortable with using the phrase. What’s even worse is sitting in a lecture hall, staring at the not so crisp rented textbook pages in hopes of landing your ‘dream job.’

Not to mention, the crippling student loan debt does not make this process anymore enticing, but we expect the rewards to fill not only our bank accounts but our hearts too. So what does one do after landing that role after college that they yearned for and boasted about only to fill unfulfilled?

1.Acknowledge Your Feelings

It is critical to admit to yourself that this role is not for you. While quitting your job right off the bat may not be the best next step for you, understanding why you feel the way you do is crucial towards taking your next leap of faith.

Maybe you actually do enjoy your work, but the environment does a doozy on your mental health. A Refinery29 article notes that “even if you’re doing something you ostensibly love, it’s hard to feel like your job is a dream when you’re battling microaggressions, working multiple gigs just to pay the bills, or feeling chained to a desk all day in business casual attire when you could theoretically be doing your job anywhere.”

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Begin thinking about the course of action that you can take to find a role that aligns with both your professional and personal goals. Thank the heavens for the internet because employee reviews and a day in life videos may give you an inside look on the culture.

2.Manifestation And Prayer

Whether you are religious or not, reconnecting with yourself may help you during this new stage of your life. Realizing your ‘dream job’ is not your dream can feel unsettling, especially after feeling like you’ve invested so much time and energy into turning your “dreams” into reality.

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The Refinery29 article references Megan Hellerer,”a career coach for under-fulfilled overachievers” who believes that the notion of a dream job is problematic, especially when reports like from New America show that millennials tend to not feel secure in their roles and have an income “20% less than Boomers did at our age, despite being more educated.”  Dreams are meant to change and take new form in ways we never imagined. We are allowed to change our minds on what we want to do and envision something new. Whether this process includes journaling, taking up yoga or trying a pottery class, it may be helpful to remember who you are aside from your job and embrace a new beginning.

3.Remember This Is Not A Setback

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It only does harm to yourself to think ‘what ifs.’ Do not focus on what would have happened if you picked a different major or taken another job. There is no time like the present. In Pixar’s film, ‘Soul,’ the main character is a jazz musician, working his whole life to “make it,” living unhappy otherwise. However, when an opportunity finally comes along, he faces death and rethinks everything. Mike Jones, the writer of ‘Soul’ spoke with Forbes about the film and had great incite on what defines a dream life. “Simple moments…those moments had so much more impact when we thought about them, than what society sometimes tries to push as living a fulfilled life, by living a fulfilled career,” said Jones. Do not let the timetable of others for you get in the way of your happiness and living that fulfilled life. While it is great to seek advice from others, blocking out the noise and listening to your own inner voice is important. We know what we want deep down, but the question is whether or not we are brave enough to listen.

4.Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to enjoy every moment and not focus on factors outside of our control. Finding a ‘dream job’ puts too much pressure on one person. Instead, attempt to throw the phrase out of your vocabulary and focus on what you enjoy. While I commend the hustle, it should not cause anxiety-stricken tensions coursing throughout your body. Searching aggressively for a new job every day while in your current not-so-dream role is not good for your mental health. While finding a job that makes you feel good is important, commend yourself for your accomplishments thus far. Remember to make mental health a priority.

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5. Do What Needs To Be Done

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It takes a lot of courage to enter a new race, especially when it feels like the whole world is watching. After much awaited time, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are finally among us. The Tokyo Olympics brings many individuals across the world together. Everyone has their own reason for competing, and the pressure is on. After Simone Biles withdrew from the women’s gymnastics Olympic final, attention was brought to prioritizing athletes’ mental health. The journey towards a new career is similar to athletes’ race for the Olympics – in front of and behind the scenes. The process of finding a career that is meant for you may not be an instant somersault, but that should not stop you from enjoying the process. Believe in your journey and take your next steps towards finding a career you feel fulfilled in. Most importantly, remember that you do not have to wait to attain your ‘dream job’ to live a fulfilling life. Do not panic out of fear of being stuck in what feels like a nightmare.

As Maya Angelou said so eloquently, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

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By: Bobbie Bell

Bobbie Bell is from Brooklyn, New York and a graduate from Brooklyn College where she received her B.S. in Journalism and Media Studies. As an alumni of the Emma Bowen Foundation, she has had experience working in media and nonprofit spaces where women’s equity, empowerment and impact were critical. In organizing a period drive during the pandemic, she found how meaningful it is to her that storytelling is used to bring people together and initiate positive change. In her downtime, you may find Bobbie trying to keep her plants alive, spending time with her family, and trying to binge every streaming film/show.

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