There are three common frustrations I come across when talking to mums: ‘I wish I could work from home doing the hours I wanted and spend more time with the kids’, ‘I wish I could be doing something I am passionate about; I’m really over my current job’ and ‘I’m due to go back to work in a few weeks/months and I’m not sure what I’m going to do’. As a mum who’s been there and gone through the roller coaster ride of multiple career changes, I can relate to these and know how challenging it can be, says career advisor Mimi Fong, especially if you have little support or are trying to figure this out on your own.
So then, where does that leave you? Is it really possible to pursue a career, or work in a job you love, so that you are happy and fulfilled? What exactly is this elusive dream job you might have heard other people talk about?
Definition of a dream job
A dream job gives you a sense of fulfilment and meaning. It draws upon what comes to you naturally – your gifts and talents – and, importantly, matches your passions and values.
A few years back, LinkedIn surveyed more than 8000 professionals globally and found just 8.9 per cent worked in their dream job, although another 21 per cent said they at least work in a career that relates to their original dream job. So that’s more than 70 per cent of professionals out there who are not working in a job or career that may give them a sense of fulfilment and meaning; one that excites and fires them up, and which they truly enjoy.
My personal belief, based on my 20 years of professional services, corporate and business experience, is that this percentage could possibly be even higher.
How your job impacts your life
Think about how many hours of each day you might spend at work. If you are unhappy or dissatisfied at work, how does this impact on the rest of your life? Now think about what it would mean to be working in your dream job. How would this influence and ripple out to the rest of your life – your physical and emotional health, your relationships (family, kids, friends, work colleagues, clients), your ability to parent effectively, your daily reserves of energy, your outlook on life, and so on?
Each and every one of us, whether you believe this or not, deserves better. You don’t need to settle for second best or for whatever might be given to you. As career mums or mums looking to return to the workforce, our needs are often overlooked or pushed aside, but we need to start taking better care of ourselves. Put yourself first, for once. Remember the ‘oxygen mask on the plane’ scenario, when you place the mask on your own face before attending to others. Because when we are happy and fulfilled in what we do, this flows out to every other aspect of our lives and to those that we love around us. So, ultimately, everyone wins!
10 ways to identify your dream job?
Use this list to help you work out what your dream job would entail…
- Find your purpose and passion. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about your interests, which are those things you like to do or you find interesting. I’m talking about a passion – something that you love to do.
- Identify your values in the context of your career (what is important to you in your career?).
- Do a personal inventory by listing your assets and gaps, hard and soft skills.
- List your achievements, personal and professional.
- Identify what is holding you back from achieving what you want in your career. Is it a fear of failure? A fear of success? A belief that you are not capable? What do you need to do to let go of those fears?
- What specifically do you want in a job? For example, would you like to work in a familiar field or in a new area that may require retraining? How many hours a week would you like to work? What are your salary expectations? What is the level of responsibility or autonomy you are seeking? Do you prefer a back-office role or more hands-on, front-of-centre, people-oriented work? What are your other must-haves (the deal-breakers) versus the nice-to-haves?
- Create your shortlist or identify THE ONE by making sure that these are aligned with your purpose, passions, values, skills, achievements and your job criteria.
- Research your chosen career field which your ‘dream job’ relates to, your target market and identify the specific opportunities to pursue.
- Set SMARTER career targets – standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reviewable, Time-bound, Empowering, Relevant.
- Formulate your career strategy – what specific steps and actions do I need to take to make this a reality? Remember that it’s the doing that makes things happen.
Life really is too short to be doing something you don’t love.
Free Live Webinar for North Shore Mums
If you’ve ever wanted to change careers and you’re not sure how to go about it; if you are returning to the workforce and looking for a change; or you are simply wanting to start something on your own and be independent, then attend Mimi’s Free Live Webinar on Monday 22 June at 8pm or Tuesday 23 June at 10.30am to discover the exact steps you can take to make positive alterations to your working life. For more information on this webinar, click here.