Dear J.T. & Dale: If you were to give your best advice to the countless number of job seekers who daily comb the streets in search of the proverbial “dream job,” what would it be? Your contribution would be highly cherished. — Trish
J.T.: Many talented Americans are experiencing “Cinderella Syndrome,” the belief the perfect job is out there, and if only they can be good enough, and patient enough, the job will be given to them. A fairy tale!
Dale: A wonderful old fairy tale, as it turns out. Curious, I looked it up: The first version was recorded in the first century B.C., with a maiden called Rhodopis (”rosy-cheeked”), who lived in a Greek colony in ancient Egypt. While bathing in a river, an eagle stole one of her sandals, carried it to the royal city of Memphis and dropped it into the lap of the king. The king either had the first recorded shoe fetish or took the eagle delivery as a sign; either way, he sent his minions to comb the countryside in search of the shoe’s owner. She and her lucky foot were brought to Memphis, and she became queen. It’s easy to see the everlasting charm of such a story — having one’s inner nobility suddenly recognized: “We’ve been waiting for you, Your Majesty. This way to your throne.”
J.T.: OK, so we can assume that’s not going to happen. Rather, your dream job is one you conceive and create for yourself, like building a house from scratch. If you decide to build a house, you create the design, get blueprints, do research and hire people to help build it. The same applies to dream jobs. You start with the design, then do the research; you may need to invest in career coaching or courses to help you get there.
Dale: I can’t believe what I’m NOT hearing — your most famous sentence.
J.T.: I assume you mean, “Every job is temporary.”
Dale: Exactly. Starting from that premise, Trish, why would you even search for a dream job, singular? We all know people who land the perfect job, only to be disappointed or grow bored. Instead, Trish, I’d urge you to work on an itinerary for a career adventure. Keep identifying the parts of the job that are most energizing, and look for new ways to embrace more of them. Or, as Cervantes put it, “The road is better than the inn.”
J.T.: I’m sure Dale would agree with me on this much: Your dream job doesn’t exist…YET. Whether you think of it as a journey or a construction project, it’s up to you to create it.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
© 2011 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.