We all had one growing up, that one job you were desperate to do. The one that you felt would be perfect for you, or just the most fun to do day in, day out. For me, it was being a mermaid. No joke, up until the age of around 8 I was so sure I would be able to reverse-Little Mermaid and hop into the sea, living the life of a mermaid princess whose only desires were to collect shiny objects and sing for my fellow merpeople.
Of course, at some point I realised how completely illogical this was, and I set my sights on a slightly more realistic desire – to work at a print magazine.
I was digging through some old school folders recently and I came across a newspaper article I had drawn and written at the age of 11 (it’s painfully embarrassing so I won’t share it here). It got me thinking about just how long I had been longing to work at a magazine, and how amazing it is that I am doing exactly that now.
I worked my arse off to get to where I am now, countless hours of writing and writing, taking photos and hitting publish on my own and others websites. There were times when I didn’t think it would happen, and times when I had the option to take a different path. But ultimately, I made it. I’m working at a print magazine, and it’s my dream job. But, let me tell you, landing your dream job comes with some truths that are sometimes surprising and difficult.
Of course, when we imagine our dream job every aspect of it is perfect. It’s a constant stream of achieving and happiness but in reality this just isn’t the case. Of course, I absolutely love my job, I genuinely care about it and I do enjoy it, but there are days when I feel stressed and burnt-out. Working on something you love doesn’t make it easy, in fact, I sometimes think it makes it harder because you’re just so desperate for it to be perfect.
When I talk about work with my friends, there’s almost this expectation that I’m going to say everything is amazing every time. If I ever mention feeling stressed or something that was challenging, I’m met with questions such as: ‘But, isn’t this what you’ve always wanted to do?’ ‘Don’t you love your job, I thought it was your dream job?’
Of course, my close friends aren’t the ones doing this, but when it happens it is really frustrating! There are some jobs that do seem like endless fun, but let me tell you, there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes that you don’t see and while there are many highlights there are difficult moments, too.
The pressure for everything to be positive and successful is extreme, and it can feel really suffocating sometimes.
I’ve discussed this with many people, and the consensus seems to be that when you really start to succeed and achieve there can be some resentment and jealousy from ‘friends’ that are not. There are people that I have been friends with for years that I have slowly phased out because every interaction leaves me feeling negative. There’s a lot of people who don’t love their jobs, or who are even struggling to find one (I have quite a few friends in this category) and while some are supportive regardless (as I like to think I am of them, too) there are some who begin to make bitter jibes when they see you succeed.
When you talk about the things you’e enjoying, you’re bragging. When you confide in them about issues, they roll their eyes and ask how you can possibly complain when you have what you want.
It’s something I’ve learnt do deal with a lot better, but it doesn’t make it any less upsetting.
Ultimately, landing that dream job is an amazing achievement, not everyone manages to do it, or even has the opportunity to, so it’s something to enjoy and celebrate. But it is important to remember that nothing is perfect, just because you’ve landed the dream job, doesn’t mean you can put your feet up and bask in your success. You have to work to maintain that job and ensure that you thrive in the position that you hold.
Right, I think that’s all I have to say on the topic for now. I’ve had this bubbling under the surface for a while and I just had to write something about it here. If you want me to write any more on careers, jobs or finding what you love, do let me know in the comments!