Many professional women never feel the joy and contentment of becoming fully in tune with their passions, let alone living them out. For those that do manage to discover and (seemingly) land their dream job, it’s often a jarring experience when those opportunities don’t live up to expectations.
But don’t let that prospect discourage you! As I’ve said many times, it’s possible to reinvent your career and discover your dream job at any point in your life. However, it takes self-awareness, strategy, and sometimes even reshaping your perception of what a dream career should look like for you.
If your current job situation isn’t what you hoped it would be, keep reading today’s post to figure out your next steps. Or, if you’ve never even tasted the prospect of a dream job (do they even exist!?), I’ll share some tips to avoid pitfalls along your journey.
3 Reasons “Dream Jobs” Sometimes Fall Flat
“What do I do? I just took a new job, and now I am miserable. I thought this would be my dream job, and it isn’t.”.
Sound familiar? Here are three reasons dream jobs sometimes disappoint based on my client interactions and personal experience.
1 – Dream Job Misconceptions
Dream jobs exist, but not how many people often think. Finding your dream job doesn’t mean achieving a perfect state of happiness or never having problems again. A dream job is simply an opportunity to combine your talents and passions in a meaningful way while generating income. A dream job is lovely, but unrealistic expectations are a recipe for disappointment!
2 – Hidden Sources of Discontentment
The grass is always greener on the other side. Except when it isn’t!
As an executive career coach, my job is primarily to help women build satisfying professions. Part of that is helping them uncover hidden sources of discontentment in their lives so that they don’t change jobs as an easy fix (a strategy that rarely works). I love my career, but a massive part of that is having done the inner work needed to compensate for what my work can’t give me. I encourage all my clients to do the same.
3 – Misplaced Sense of Self-Worth
Many women approach new jobs as a fresh opportunity to create a brand new identity, almost like a rebirth. They feel a tremendous amount of pressure to show up and prove their worth, especially within the first few months. However, placing your identity and self-worth in your career is a slippery slope; you can quickly start resenting yourself when you think you don’t measure up.
Your job may seem like the culprit, but perhaps you’re just not happy with yourself.
3 Ways to Regain Control
Does that mean trying to get your dream job is a futile effort?
Nope! The key is being intentional from the get-go rather than hitting the “oh crap button” when things don’t pan out. I recommend the following:
1 – Create a 30-60-90-Day Plan
Set small, manageable goals to measure your progress and gauge if your new job is the right fit over time.
With the right plan, it may shift into something positive over time. Ask yourself, what should the next 30 days look like for you to consider them a success? What should the following 30 days look like? And so on. Narrowing your focus will help soften that anxious energy that often comes with starting a new work opportunity. It will also allow you to make necessary adjustments as further information reveals itself.
2 – Shift Your Energy
As I said earlier, hidden discontentment about other aspects of your life can often lead to misery at work. Self-awareness goes a long way toward feeling fulfilled! That’s why you need to understand how you show up and handle challenging situations (such as starting a new job). Doing so will help you create practical, effective solutions when your new job doesn’t pass the vibe check.
3 – Keep Your Job Search Current
Lastly, while I recommend giving your new job some time to shift into something better potentially, there’s no shame in moving on if it’s just not working out. So keep your job search ongoing in the background!
Be Intentional, Not Reactional
You don’t have to head back to square one just because of unmet expectations; you can be intentional with your career.
I’ve carefully designed my program to help you get set up and ready for any job that comes your way (yes, even crappy ones that may take you by surprise). After working with me, you’ll have mastered the mindset work needed to succeed no matter what happens. Why? You’ll have hit pause and taken some time to formulate a strategy that works; now, your next move will be a good one!
Contact me for a free career clarity consult to get back on track.