On Dream Jobs

What’s your dream job?

I was thinking about this exact thing this morning, but couched as, what would I do if I didn’t have to work for money.

At school I was an academic student. The realities of home life at the time made it hard to get high marks. Despite my unwavering dedication to school and my determination to do well, my scores usually hovered between 80 and 90. In the end, my matriculating mark was 82%. I cried.

Something about that experience seeded in me that part of my identity had become a ‘B’ student, when what I wanted to be was an ‘A’ student. I am a confident person and I have high self-esteem. When I reflect on the inevitability of having low self-esteem while growing up and finding your place, I think this was the one that was central to me.

Since it belongs to another story, I’ll leave this illustration of the foundation behind this ‘B’-ness to another time. But I will talk about its effects.

With my lacklustre marks, I got into my second preference at university. Technically, I didn’t actually get in to my major, but as a freak of enrolment back in the days of paper (wow I am old) I was enrolled in the electives for that major and managed to apply later on and was granted entry. Skin of my teeth.

When I look at back at what the most important drivers of my career has been, of everything that was sacrificed, there appears a common thread: one, to challenge myself and do interesting things, and two, to make money. That is; to cement my own security and independence from anybody else. To be able to escape from relying on anyone who will let me down, which was the feeling that I think drove the ‘B’-ness.

Some of these things I have achieved, some I have let go. I have gained my financial independence. During COVID my fiancee was stood down and we have had no financial stress. I am very proud of this. Getting here from where I was took a really long time. Until recently I had a problem with debt: I had a problem with telling myself the word that I always heard from others: no. I had to resolve that before I could move on.

I have let go of my expectations of others. It’s not that I have low expectations, although from time to time this old protective habit wants to come up again. When it does I receive it, am present with it, unpack it and move on. The feeling gets smaller every time I do this.

So what does this mean for my dream job? Well, when I reflect on how determined I was to be financially independent  in the context of the things I’m dedicating myself to now I wondered why I didn’t choose finance, economics or medicine.

The reason was,  that was for ‘A’ people. In my core I identified as a ‘B’ person. So I chose a ‘B’ life.

Everyone deserves  to work their dream job. I was lucky to have examples to look up to, my dad and my sister are working their vocation. Nobody loves being an Electrician more than my Dad loves being an Electrician. Nobody is more born to be a Nurse than my sister is a Nurse down to her very being.

While I haven’t found my vocation, every job I have had has been incredibly fulfilling and helped build my understanding of the world. So, in a way, I have my dream job.

But when I ask myself, what would I do if I disassociated my career from my need to make money? I wouldn’t be in the hard sciences, in industry, in sales.

I’d do this. I’d write. This is my vocation.

What is your dream job? Do you have it in already? Tell me in the comments.

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