How to Create Your Dream Job was originally published in December 2011. It was was updated in February 2022.
It wasn’t until recently that I really figured out what my dream job was.
I wrestled with this back in the days when I was a financial analyst. I knew I wanted to be doing something different than that, but I couldn’t really tell you what it was.
I found that the first step towards figuring it out was simply a matter of doing more stuff that I liked doing. When you’re kicking it in a cube for 50 hours a week, there’s not a whole lot of extra time to explore hobbies and interests. In other words, it’s very difficult to figure out what you’re dream job really is.
However, there are certainly some steps we can take in order to get closer.
Reframing Your Perception of the “Dream Job”
What do you think about when you’re daydreaming about a better life? Perhaps it’s skiing the wide-open back bowls of Vail with a foot of fresh. Maybe it’s spending your free time researching and reviewing the latest tech gadgets. Might even be something as simple as sitting down with a notebook and paper and being able to write to your hearts content.
Whatever your version of that is, I’m willing to bet that your dreams don’t involve a job.
No, you dream about the stuff you love doing, and usually that doesn’t involve work.
If you love what you’re doing you can’t really consider it a job, especially if it’s something you’d do without getting paid.
It’s time to get rid of the term “dream job”. Whenever you’re at the mercy of someone else and stuck adhering to their rules, it takes even the best jobs and demotes them from the “dream job” category.
Thus, the concept of the “dream job” is more of a fantasy. It might exist somewhere, but if anyone has a dream job, I have yet to hear about it.
So, instead of creating your dream job, we are going to go about creating your dream life.
The beauty of doing that is then you have full control.
You have a much better chance of creating your dream life than finding your dream job.
So how do you go about that?
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I didn’t really know what my dream job was until fairly recently. That’s because I didn’t get to experience it until recently, and it’s hard to confirm what you really want until you experience a taste of it.
Before I decided to go to school for finance, I’d always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to get a degree in hospitality.
My dad’s best friend used to be the GM of the Hilton in Downtown Salt Lake City. Every year after Christmas we would take a ski vacation to Utah to go see him and get some runs in.
Because of our connection, we’d live the high life on those trips. Three bedroom suites at the hotel, comped lift tickets, complimentary meals.
Ever since the early days I had a skewed vision of what being in the hospitality industry meant. I always thought my dream job would be working as a GM of a big fancy resort.
Then I learned about the hours those jobs involved – 16 to 18 on some days. What about the stress? Both of dealing with your employees and your guests – this only gets worse as the property gets fancier. More stars = more stress.
No it wasn’t the allure of being a manager that excited me, I simply wanted to be able to explore luxury hotels and restaurants at my leisure.
Sweet now I know what I want, I’ve just gotta find someone to pay for me to stay in fancy hotels all the time and perhaps write about them.
Note from future Sean: I wrote this originally in 2011. It’s now 2022 and I finally found a way to get paid to stay and write about fancy hotels 🙂
Ummm. Yeah right. Maybe one day after spending years working up to that level.
So what was left to do?
Create my dream job.
Step #1: Establish What It Is
For some this will be easier than others, as like I said, it wasn’t until I got more experience outside of my vacuum of a day job that I realized exactly what was important to me, as well as what I found enjoyable.
My dream life looks something like this:
- Live a life of adventure where I’m constantly creating new stories
- Help as many people as possible find happiness and do the stuff they want in their lives.
- Experience the “high life” in a way that is affordable and doesn’t break the bank
This is going to evolve, but the more I go through life and the more I accomplish the more clear things become.
Two years ago I started living my life of adventure.
This year I’ve begun to help others achieve their goals.
It’s been over the last few months that I’ve realized how much I do enjoy being around the hospitality industry. I’ve realized that I love to write about luxurious locations and open up a world that many people only dream about.
So what have I done about it? I’ve set to work creating my dream job.
Step #2: Search for Mutual Value
So if I want to create a “dream job” of high end hospitality writing, how can I do that?
First off I have to figure out what I have to offer. Why would anyone want to give me complimentary rooms, meals etc. that would allow me to live out my dream?
There has to be something in it for them.
Ok, what’s important to them?
Exposure for their brand to a targeted demographic.
Well hey, I can provide that. I’ve already got a community here at Location Rebel that is full of people who want to travel and read about cool places.
Well that’s a start, but it’s probably not quite as big of an audience as they’re looking for.
Alright how can I expand that?
I can build a partnership with a travel company that can amplify my message to an even more targetted audience.
Now we’re talking.
Oh, what about building a specifically tailored brand around people who want exposure to that market? Enter Breaking Eighty.
It doesn’t matter what your version of the dream job looks like, the central tenet of it is going to revolve in one way around providing value to others in order to get what you want.
Each of the three things I outlined revolves around providing value for others in one way or another. The more value provided, the easier it is to create the dream.
Step #3: Ignore the Haters
Anytime someone disrupts the status quo, there’s going to be haters. People are going to hate you for chasing your dreams and tell you it can’t be done.
Why? The answer to that question I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand, I believe it all stems from jealousy that they aren’t pursuing it in their own life. You will face opposition in your quest to create your dream life.
Anytime you try and do something that doesn’t involve going to work for someone else, people will most certainly question your judgement and/or your sanity.
Step #4: Just Do It
So how do you start?
The best way I know of to start, is to just start.
- I quit my job and started traveling, having adventures, and creating stories before I had any idea if it would work.
- I spent months pouring time and energy in an effort to build a business that helped other people get closer to their goals.
- I sent emails and leveraged relationships to have opportunities to experience and write about the luxury travel industry. Then I just started writing.
Penelope Trunk talks about how you have to put in your 8 hours. Everyone has to put in 8 hours a day. While I don’t completely agree with this, the fact that everyone has to do something to make a living I do agree with – and more often than not, it will include 8 hour days.
The way I look at it, if I’m going to invest that much time into work, it better damn well be something I enjoy.
Other people will advocate why you shouldn’t turn a passion into a business. Also, in many instances I believe this is true. However you have to have passion about something in order to be successful creating any kind of business.
I learned SEO in order to live life that allowed me to explore my passions of travel, adventure, helping others, and hacking the high life. Was I passionate about SEO? Not particularly, but that was the vehicle I used in order to experience my passion – which naturally evolved into a business.
Quit trying to find your dream job – it doesn’t exist. Go out there and start creating your dream life. It’s easier than you think, and once you take one step down that path, you’re never going to want to turn around.
Sean OgleSean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.
By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Location Rebel. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.
When Should You Quit Your Job? Questions to Answer First
Thinking of quitting your job? Answer these 6 questions about your transition, and you'll be way ahead of the game emotionally.
How to Quit Your Job Without Burning Bridges (13 Easy Strategies)
Trying to figure out how to quit your job without burning bridges? GREAT. These 13 easy strategies will help you quit once and for all on good terms.