I'm part of Generation Y, and I feel like I've been lied to for a long time. It's nobody's fault except the media, really. Movies? TV Shows? What about reality TV shows? Even they lie. Jerks.
Lies. Lies, I'm telling you.
From my point of view, it's no wonder my generation expects so much from today's workplace. All my life, I've been showered with illusions that "if you do what you love, you will never work another day in your life." We're still communicating this lesson today. When I ask my parents "Why did you work at your job?" their answer simply was "we wanted enough money to live." I never had this worry, no wonder I'm so frickin' unappreciative.
Even if you find the job your love more than anything, parts of it WILL STILL SUCK. And to the inexperienced individual, that's enough to make them leave their perfect job.
I have a solution, though. Throw the idea of the perfect job out the window. It's really a boring thing to think about, actually. Who wants the perfect job? No more challenges? Always fun? Always happy? Forget that! You'll never appreciate another day in your life again, and worse yet, you'll become one of those self-righteous nuts who don't understand why more than half the workforce today wants to leave their current job.
So I've compiled 5 reasons why the perfect job doesn't exist. You can communicate this message to your fellow Gen Y'ers... y'know, just to ease their expectations a bit. If their dreams get shattered, that's entirely you're fault, because you didn't communicate my message properly.
1. Where's the Fun?
Rip this into your kids at a young, tender, impressionable age. I don't care what the movies say, or books, or inspirational speakers, or whatever. Let them know that anything worth doing is going to be hard work, and it's going to hurt a lot.
Let them know that every job is going to have it's up and down moments. What's important is that they stay true to their character and values. That they love people with all their heart. That they're good to their families and friends.
Then let them know that the "perfect job" is probably incredibly boring. Would there be any love, if there was no risk of loss? Would there be happiness, if there was no sadness? Come ON, right?
2. Don't expect a great job to be your first job
Sometimes, a great job just SEEMS great. Especially if you're had an awful job before that. I bet flipping burgers at McDonalds is royalty compared to cleaning chicken coops and cow manure. That's what I did for my first job. It sucked.
Think of it this way - a great job comes after a ton of experiences with "OK" jobs, where you learn to find out what you like to do, what you enjoy, and so forth. So the dream job really comes much later, after you've had a multitude of experiences, and you know exactly what you want.
Who cares if you have to wait 10 years for it? People who find this out at the age of 20 are incredibly lucky. The rest of us, not so much.
3. If you hear an incredibly inspiring story about someone else's dream job, find out their background first
I am an addict when it comes to inspiring stories. These stories drive me to pursue my own dreams. Unfortunately, because we are human, we only focus on what is great. We only focus on what happened, the end effect. We ignore the path these inspiring humans had to go through.
Steve Jobs couldn't afford school, couldn't even afford a meal, before he made Apple. Lady Gaga spent over a year playing at obscure clubs, nearly alienating her entire family, and had to nearly beg for her first break into mainstream music. Nickelback spent 10 years on their music before winning a radio competition. Airbnb was named after the 2 founders' sleeping facilities - they could only afford airbeds, and had to sell Obama-shaped cereal to keep going. That's right. Obama cereal. Where can I get me some of that??
Success is not sprinkled with glamour, it's littered with uncertainty and only a few steps from heartbreak. If you are following a dream job, and things get really hard and frustrating... well, that's what's supposed to happen. Sorry, kiddo.
4. Passion is not the same as a dream job
If you have passion for something, you will go through every crappy trial you have to go through to see something happen. If you have a passion for people, you will succumb to pain to ensure those people have a better life. If you have a passion for technology, you don't mind spending hours and hours programming because you know the benefits it could have for society.
Passion is a driving force, the ability to overcome obstacles because you know your work will be beneficial to society. It involves having a purpose in your life, that you're meant to do something bigger than yourself.
People say that if you follow your passion, you will find your dream job. People believe that your dream job will give you endless happiness. I disagree. The problem with passion is that it will likely break your heart. Because it's only when you see your heart break, that you realize your passion. When you see an injustice, or a need, or a frustration in someone else's life, and you have the ability to find a solution... that's passion.
5. Dreams are still important, but don't sugarcoat it
It's incredibly important that kids are able to dream and do what they love a young age, and to keep doing it as they grow older. I'm a huge believer in doing what you love.
I'm just not a huge believer that doing what you love is the be-all end-all. You could be doing what you love, and it won't be helping anybody. Where's the joy in that?
Some of the greatest joy I've had is after a tremendous amount of heartbreak and frustration. I have an endless list of things I love to do. If my loves don't help other people, I lose interest very quickly. Sometimes, the things that I love can get frustrating and incredibly tedious.
But now I know. I know that the dream job doesn't exist. I know that the things I love can still get boring. I'm prepared for that. Now, everyday, I strive to do something different, something interesting, as long as I can help somebody. And when those hard times come, I just say "I'll be like the honey badger and don't give a sh*t."
How about you? What's your "perfect job"? Has the myth of the "perfect job" ever disappointed you?