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The Dream Job Talk

Updated: May 22, 2023

They aren't your family

A million and two years ago, before the dinosaurs walked the earth and shortly after ABBA debuted, my father told me something very important about careers. He was an executive for a very large company and he had worked his way up from nothing but primordial ooze.

He said your career is just the jobs you have in your life. You use those jobs to feed your family, follow your dreams, and have a happy life. Those jobs, that career, are not your dreams, your family, or your happy life. They are things you do for businesses in exchange for money. And if the numbers show it's profitable, those businesses will cut you loose no matter how much loyalty you have or how hard you've worked. They won't even blink.

I remember those words to this day, through multiple layoffs and employment dry spells. It was never personal to the company. It was always personal to me.

So when I see people talking about their dream jobs, and how a new chapter in their adventure is starting, I want to warn them. I don't want to break their spirit, and shooting for your goals is important, but tying that all up in a job will usually end badly. And they may one day discover that the job that pays the most is not the one that they have dreamt about.

Be careful what you get good at, as the saying goes.

But maybe that's a conversation for a different day. Let the kids bask in the glow of their new job at X company that they wanted since they were six years old. Reality will snap at their ankles soon enough. It's not like they can buy a house or anything. careful how many eggs you put in that basket.

I had a job like that. My dream job. I wanted to work at Disney World's Haunted Mansion or as a Skipper on the Jungle Cruise. The closest I got was working on the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood. I loved that job, even though I was a fat, 50 year old with bad knees. Ruined my already ruined joints.

I will never see that Haunted Mansion job. My mobility is shot, and I've never seen a Ghost Host in an ECV. And when I was healthy enough to do it, I needed more money to support my family. Realistically, it was always just a dream.

But unless someone seriously asks my opinion on their dream job, I tell them about wanting to work for Disney, not how I might not like my dreams anymore if I was laid off from Disney. I tell them about how my dad told me to keep my options open, not how any business will dump you no matter how much you like them. So I guess I worked this out already. I won't burst anyone's bubbles. Just don't ask me why I'm not commenting on your exciting new journey.

Thanks for listening to my babble.

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