Finding Fulfillment(and the Myth of the Dream Job)

The Perfect Job

Maybe I’m a bit cynical(actually, I’m very cynical), but I don’t believe in the dream job. I don’t believe in the idea of finding fulfillment from working. It’s not just because I’m lazy, either.

All through school we’re told to think about what we want to do in college, we’re told to go to college to find good jobs and earn more money, and we’re told that there’s a perfect-fit job out there for everyone. What a load of baloney!

Work Life

For many of us, most of our adult years are going to be spent working. We spend a whole heck of a lot of time doing our jobs, of course we want to find a perfect one! What we do is often associated with our identities, too. Just think of introductions and small talk.

It’s nice to enjoy what you do, to be proud of what you do, and to get a sense of fulfillment from what you do, but that doesn’t mean that a job has to do all that.

Don’t Do What You Love

I love reading, and used to read all the time as a kid. But you’d better believe that as soon as a teacher assigned reading for class I just didn’t feel like reading at all. I like tidying up, too. But as soon as my mom would tell me to clean my room(which she always did right as I was about to do it anyways) I didn’t want to do it anymore.

They say that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life. But you might just end up turning something you love into a chore.

To tell you the truth though, it’s all about perspective. Absolutely anything can feel like a chore if it’s an obligation. Anything.

So does this mean we’re doomed to have jobs that turn into mundane chores that offer no source of personal fulfillment or enjoyment?

Well, that sort of depends.

Are You Setting Yourself Up For Failure?

If you’re expecting to land your dream job and have all the pieces of your life just fall into place then yeah, you’re probably in for a rude awakening. A good job won’t fix all your problems. It’ll definitely help, don’t get me wrong, but don’t expect perfection. Never expect perfection, ever. Perfection is something to be worked towards, it usually doesn’t just happen.

You might be asking too much of a job. What’s the main reason to get a job? Money! We get jobs so we can earn money so we can afford to live.

Jobs aren’t supposed to be our life. They’re supposed to give us the means to make the life we want. Here in America, minimum wage jobs don’t pay enough for people to live comfortably on. Finding jobs that do actually pay enough is tough. If you go to college you’ll probably end up with years of debt to pay off, and if you don’t then it’s even harder to find a good job.

If a job doesn’t pay enough to live comfortably then I really doubt it’ll give anyone a sense of fulfillment and purpose. But it might.


They say that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life. But you might just end up turning something you love into a chore.

It’s okay if your job is just a means to an end. It’s okay if you don’t have professional goals. Don’t force it.

Love How You Work, Not What You Do

Look at Teddy in the GIF above. All he had to do was peel a carrot. Teddy isn’t one of Bob’s employees, so he’s not getting paid to help Bob out. Because he doesn’t work for Bob, he’s not really putting in an effort to peel the carrots.

People tend to put in more effort when they’re getting more money, and they should. Know your worth, babes!

But Teddy here could have peeled the carrot because he wanted to help his friend Bob out. He could have peeled it because he knows the skins are kind of yucky and he wanted to serve people some yummy food. Teddy could have found reasons to enjoy peeling veggies, but he didn’t.

You probably shouldn’t put in your best effort if you’re getting underpaid. You deserve better, your time is valuable, and your effort is valuable.

But putting in your best effort can actually make unpleasant jobs more bearable. There’s almost always an upside to things. Find it. I don’t know about you, but I’m happy doing a job well just for the sake of a job well done. That’s the biggest secret to job happiness that I’ve found so far. It’s really that simple.

Enjoy the Little Things

I had a studio maintenance job in college that was boring as heck. I had to make an hours worth of work last for four hours and I made enough money to pay for lunch every day and nothing else. But you know what? It was a good job.

I got to keep studios clean for my classmates, I got to choose my own hours, I wasn’t working customer service. Absolutely nothing about the job was stressful. It’s all about how you look at things, really.

So, would I mind spending my life in that maintenance job? Not if it paid well! See, when it comes to jobs, there are things that will always need done and it really doesn’t matter whether or not you like to do those things. I had to sweep floors, scrub out sinks spattered with paint, and put away easels and chairs. It didn’t matter if I liked those things or not, they still needed to be done.

Did I like scrubbing sinks til my hands were all wrinkly, just to see more paint splattered in the sink the next day? Not really. Did I like the nice warm water, watching the paint run down the drain, and knowing I was helping my classmates? Absolutely! Did I feel good knowing I put forth my best effort at something as simple as sweeping floors? Of course, I did!

Finding Fulfillment

No job is perfect, everything will have its ups and downs. The grass will always be greener on the other side, too. At the end of the day, jobs don’t have to be perfect. We look for the perfect job, we try to create this perfect life and define ourselves based on what we do.

What we do doesn’t matter nearly as much as how we do it.

The satisfaction we get from work should be as simple as knowing we did our best. Because, remember, jobs aren’t supposed to be our whole lives. Find fulfillment in your personal relationships, in your family and in your contributions to others. Find fulfillment in the way you handle your crappy job despite how crappy it is, find fulfillment in working to make things better. Unless we can do that, then there really is no dream job.


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7 thoughts on “Finding Fulfillment(and the Myth of the Dream Job)

  1. Interesting insight on the ” do what you love for work” model. Very accessible, as well as revealing a refreshing take on perspective and perception

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    1. Thanks so much! 😊 I can’t stress how important attitude and perspective are to success!! Honestly, I don’t think success is possible without a good attitude and a clear perspective ✨🌞

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    1. I sure do! First and foremost, you want to create posts that are helpful or useful in some way. Even writing for entertainment will be useful to people; we all like being entertained 🙂

      You could write about a problem that you can solve, you could provide information on a problem so that people can come up with their own solutions, and you could tell stories about tricky situations you’ve been in and how you got out of them.

      This comment could potentially be expanded into a whole post of its own! The post would break down why it’s important for posts to be helpful or useful, and how providing value to readers is one of the best ways to build a steady audience.

      Then, since I’ve listed 3 different ways to go about making a post, those ways could be talked about in even more depth. A few paragraphs about when to write a post that solves a problem(like a how-to post), a few paragraphs on when to write an informational post(the who, what, where, when, and why’s of something), and a few paragraphs on when sharing a personal story will be useful(like how you solved something that has many possible solutions.) And lots of good posts have all 3 of those elements anyways.

      Usually I choose to write about whatever’s been on my mind for more than a couple of days. Or sometimes I’ll scroll through Facebook and see what other people are asking questions about that I might be able to solve.

      Then I’ll write down a summary, like how this comment started, and just keep expanding it. Choose the theme, the problem, solution, and conclusion, and write them out as clear simple sentences, kinda like a roadmap to your post.

      Then just take each separate element and write a couple paragraphs on it! As a general rule, I always try to write more than I plan on posting. Editing and trimming a long piece is easier than fluffing up a short piece in my opinion. Plus, search engines like Google favor posts with at least 2,000 words anyways! If I’m having trouble getting words to flow I’ll have a little coffee or wine, those always make me talkative!

      I sure hope this was helpful! Let me know if you try this method and how you like it, and happy writing, Layne!! 🙂

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