In the not initially intended, but now quickly becoming a 3 part series on the myth behind dream jobs, I give you Part 2. Here is Part 1. (Warning: If you prefer a world view of unicorns and rainbows, you might not want to read either of these.)
When you were doing that job you didn’t give two shits about, the bad days made sense.Of course there were bad days. The whole reality was a bad day.
We talk of one day doing what we love as the cure for all things malaise. And once we consume the antidote, our struggles and frustrations will leave us like a jettisoned booster falling back to earth, while we float off into space, free of the drag that are “bad days.”
No more late night phone calls of disaster relief. No more anxiety attacks 5 seconds after your alarm goes off. No more resignation letter typing. No more visits on kayak.com thinking about buying a one way ticket to wherever-the-hell.
But herein lies the myth that the motivational posters tried to convince us of: Bad days will somehow hurt less when we do what we love.
The reality is that the DJBD’s (Dream Job Bad Days) hurt just as bad as they did before but for a completely different reason.
Before: Blame everyone and everything for our dissatisfaction (the economy, our boss, God).
Now: We only have ourselves to blame because the pain we feel is a byproduct of the reality we created and sought after in the first place.
The high-wire highs of sitting on the deck of your sailboat on a calm sea, watching the sunset with a flask of whiskey in your hand, is eventually replaced by a day when your puking-self has to mend a mast in a relentless tempest.
“THIS is what I signed up for?! THIS is what I wanted to do?!”
Reality has an uncanny way of muddling with the fantasy.
Gee Bassam! You’re just a ray of sunshine today, aren’t you?!
I’m really not trying to be the grinch who stole Christmas here but there are things we can’t hope away because we feel life we deserve it.
The good news is that there is good news!
Coping With DJBD’s
Realize that you’re not crazy, selfish, inconsiderate, guilty or weird for hurting when they do come.
Champagne problems are still problems. They key is to not pretend that they don’t affect you or that you can actually create Pleasantville if you try hard enough.
I have created somewhat of a dream job scenario with my own company now, but it still really sucks when I feel like I don’t know how to help someone, when I can’t write the words I want, when I can’t travel, or when no one signs up for my classes.
And it’s hard in those moments to vent to certain people for fear of receiving the, “Oh you live the life…What are you complaining about?….If you can’t be happy now, you need help,” projection trifecta.
You’ll have to find people who can relate to the sometimes piercing pain of DJBD’s. These are obviously people who you think have dream jobs and live a life of unicorn and rainbows.
Just scratch below the surface and you’ll find they’re just like you, and they’re probably dying to share insights.
Having a dream job does not mean that you won’t have days that completely and utterly blow. On the contrary, those bad days feel all the more personal and direct when they do come. But this is what you are signing up for.
A dream job does not represent a life without problems, it represents a life where you’ve chosen the kind of problems you might face.