Some Dreams Are Nightmares

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Responding to a reader who brings up the self-defeating idea of a "dream job," Allison Green of Ask a Manager notes the following:

I'd even go so far as to say that there's no such thing as a dream job that you can truly recognize from the outside. Because as much as you think you might love doing that work for that company, it might turn out that the boss is a nightmare, or your coworkers are horrible, or the company makes you sign out for bathroom breaks and bring in a doctor's note every time you have a cold, or you're abused daily by clients, or your workload is so unreasonably high that you end up having panic attacks every morning.

Dream jobs do exist -- when it's work you love, at a company that treats employees well, working for a great manager, alongside coworkers who are competent and kind, or at least unobjectionable -- but it's dangerous to think something is your dream job before you're really in a position to know. It can lead you to turn a blind eye to warning signs or to make decisions you wouldn't make if you had all the facts. [bold added]
And Green is just touching the iceberg on the things she throws out that could make that dream into a nightmare. Remember that craftsman who had to quit his remodeling job because the work was too similar to his hobby? For all I know, everything else about that job was great, but it just didn't work out for him.

Green's advice is an excellent example of being on guard against wishful thinking in the context of job hunting.

-- CAV

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