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April 16, 2014


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I think the quote could be true in a situation where you're doing something you'd do even if they didn't pay you. My wife is that way with music. If she had a job playing or arranging music, she'd be in heaven. I used to feel that way about cooking, and managing restaurants. The IT job I have now pays the bills, has good working conditions, and I have lots of paid time off, but the actual work mostly bores me to tears.

I agree with FMF's thoughts. I work in sports and make good money. I really really like my job. But my dream job? Yeah, that'd be the one in Hawaii for $10 million or the one on the yacht sailing the world. "Dream Job" is something far away...just a dream. My job now is great and I love my boss. Not much to complain about but still, not my dream job.

I like my job and generally like my career field. But it isn't a "dream job" to me.

I guess the best definition of dream job to me would be waking up and actually being excited and looking forward to going to work. Most of the time I wake up and just go, no real emotion on way or the other. It's rare for me to really look forward to it and rare to dread it.

The concept of a dream job can either be one of the following:

1. You are excited to wake up every day and go to work (getagrip's definition)
2. You are living a very and luxurious life with no challenges (FNF's loose definition)

In my mind, #2 isn't a "dream job", it's a dream and most likely retirement for some people. The "job" part implies there are challenges, which may make people like their job less. If you actually love the challenges, like I do, then you are already possess a dream job. If you ask the quarterback of the Broncos whether this is his dream job, he will most likely say yes. If you then ask him if there are parts of his job that he doesn't enjoy as much, he will also say yes. Does that make his job any less of a dream? No.

I once read on the internet that those who are happy in their job (and would possibly call it a "dream job") all possess the following 3 attributes:

1. They have a passion for the work they are doing
2. They have a natural ability or talent for it
3. The field they are in is able to make them decent money

If you have all 3 of those items, consider yourself fortunate. I lucked out and do have all 3 of them and wake up every day very excited to get to work by 6:30am.

I can't really stand my job, but it affords me the lifestyle that I like (the benefits cannot be found in any other company and I've looked). However, I started my own small business a few years ago that is getting close to my dream job (I just need it to bring in the income that I need and then it will be my dream job).

Sounds like some have a pretty strict definition of 'Dream Job', but I am seeing it FMF's way; just a fraction of 1% could possibly be 'doing what they love' for a living.

30 years of work, I would say 5 of those years were good where I enjoyed going to work, made a difference, and was recognized for doing so. Throughout, I was 'on the bubble' where my work could and would end for reasons beyond my control (i.e. in banking, ATMs and the internet reduced the need for bodies and brick-and-mortar; in aerospace, the fall of Communism allowed a 'peace dividend' reducing the need for bodies and weapons, the Asian Financial Crisis almost instantly stopped the client's (S. Korea) ability to pay, Y2K came and went without issue, dramatic recessions resulted in cuts to services and delayed infrastructure capital and O&M) and mostly if the client or company didn't like my face I could be gone. We all have to serve somebody, but the idea of a 'Dream Job' never crossed my radar.

"So 43 out of 50 commuters are going somewhere other than where they would like. Wow. If these people only knew that when you like your job, it isn't really work at all." - That is a really obnoxious statement. Next up he'll be putting down third world citizens ..."if only these people knew life is much better with clean water and vaccinations".

And yes, I would think real "dream jobs" are ones that would bring a level of pride and accomplishment that can only come from hard work. I bet most professional athletes both think they have a dream job at gametime and on paydays and also think they work extremely hard the other 340 days of the year. Seems like they must.

I'm surprised at FMF's narrow definition of a dream job - for some people reaching the top or near-top of a large company is it for them, but along with that high income comes a high degree of stress (generally). That's certainly not for everyone. Most people working in large companies further down the ladder don't see it as a "dream", but there are a lot of people that fall outside that place. Small business owners? Firefighters? Artists? Musicians? Brewers? There are lots of people doing lots of things that they control and love doing without making $400k a year, and it can still be their dream.

I like @Noah's definition if you apply a rather liberal meaning to "decent money." For example, an artist could consider her/himself in a dream job if s/he has enough money to pay the bills. My sister is probably in that category; she'd be as happy as heck to be able to pay the bills by just painting all day long.

As for myself (in an over 25y career), I've always been in the situation of having #2 and #3, but very seldom have I had the passion. Maybe I too much took to heart my father's frequent quip of "That's why they call it work," and consequently always viewed work as work and not as something to be passionate about.

On the other hand, I'd say my wife has #1 and #3 but her work doesn't come naturally to her. She has willed herself to be very competent in her job, but on many days it takes a high emotional toll on her. I know that she'd be willing to sacrifice a lot of salary to do something else that's in her wheelhouse.

Related read:

Brief synopsis - the notion of a "dream job" (the article casts it as "do what you love") devalues actual work and is fundamentally an anti-worker ideology.

I'm with you 100% on this, FMF. This whole "dream job/career" stuff is nonsense. It sets people up for crazily unrealistic expectations and major disappointment.

Of course, you can't hate going to work every day without paying a price for it. Liking what you do (at least most of the time) is where the balance is.

I agree with @Mark...enough said.

I tend to agree with Noah's description, but with a bit more. I would love to travel, but after about a year or so, I'd miss being challenged. I want to feel like I've accomplished something.

I’m in a job that I have a passion for, I’m good at it and I make a good living and have significant bonuses from company stock. It would be my dream job, if I didn’t have a family for 1 simple reason.

I work too much. 70 hour weeks are common (with no OT pay), 2 day weekends are rare, constantly variable shift are the norm and many days, my daughter hasn’t woke up when I leave and is asleep when I get home. I’m at a point now where I have an ok work life balance, with short periods of crazy hours, which is why I’m staying where I’m at, but the first 6 months were bad and almost drove me out.

With that said, I work on some of the coolest hardware on the planet that challenges me everyday and it always keeps me entertained, with a huge sense of accomplish when we successfully accomplish a goal. We’ve had a visit from the POTUS at my office. My company is constantly in international news. I even get to play a photographer (a hobby of mine) on the clock, with one of my photos currently being featured in the previously mentioned international news.

Dreams are fantasies. The best job I'd had was when the good was great and the bad was mostly minimal, but it was still felt more like work instead of play. Then a few minor things changed which morphed the great down to mediocre caused the bad to grow exponentially.

Every job is a dream job if you are totally insulated from the nightmares that result from bickering co-workers, indifferent management, lousy pay, cutthroat competition, decreasing benefits, too many hours, not enough hours, budget cuts, outsourcing, outstanding payments, demanding customers, awful commute, demeaning tasks, increasing workload . . .

14% seems high to me. "dream job" is pretty high standard and I'm surprised that many people have such satisfaction. But I think CD makes a good point that there are likely a lot of people in jobs they consider 'dream jobs' taht I might not consider. Personally I don't think you need to make high wages to be in a dream job and often people will forgo high wages to do a dream job.


Great point about hours! 70 hours would be a deal breaker for me especially since I have another baby on the way for a total of 2 children.

#4. Reasonable work/life balance

Even the most enjoyable jobs have tedious or tiring aspects to them. And, for many, the most challenging and worthwhile jobs will also involve a lot of stress and responsibility--if they didn't, they wouldn't be challenging!

I really did love my job and looked forward to going in to work every day. However my working career coincided almost exactly with the duration of the Cold War with the USSR and ended soon after the Berlin wall came down and the USSR had been forced to free many of the countries they had occupied in Eastern Europe.

I was part of a team helping to design several generations of the submarine launched nuclear missiles that produced the impasse with the USSR. Every now and again the Admiral in charge of the project would visit our plant when we would all gather outside for a pep talk and to listen to his words of encouragement for our efforts and the successful launches. During the latter years of my career I headed up a research and development team that reported to the chief scientist and for which the Navy footed the bill while my company received the exclusive use of new state of the art software. We were also fortunate that there were two professors at UC Berkeley that had published the leading papers on the techniques we planned to use and we were able to have some of their graduate students do some of the analytical work for us at a very modest charge. The Royal Navy was also building nuclear submarines similar to ours only they used nuclear warheads of their own design. Thus I was able to make quite a few trips back to the UK to attend meetings while also using the opportunity to vist my parents.

When the USSR collapsed and the Berlin Wall came tumbling down things started to change. Pretty soon it became obvious that the defense effort was going to slow down and my company would need to trim its workforce so they offered a "Special Incentive Retirement Program" to those of us that were eligible for early retirement. I had been preparing to retire in March 1993 when my pension would get its next annual increase so I just moved my retirement to September 1992 and accepted a nice lump sum based upon my 32 years of service.

The hardest part was having to say goodbye to all of my buddies however we did have a reunion a couple of years ago that was most enjoyable.

I like my job. I love self-employment more than any other job I've done or know about. I look forward to financial independence - where working becomes optional. So, if I have to have a job, I rather have my job(s) than any others I know about right now.

But my "dream job" is probably getting paid to be a smart ass since I'm so good at it. Stand-up comedian comes to mind, but the whole making-an-act sounds like too much work. I think someone should just pay me to email them smart ass replies to their emailed comments whenever they feel like it. I could have like 10 uber-wealthy clients, an hour or two of emails a day, and do my side hustles like pet sitting on the side. Anyone in the market? ;-)

I am fortunate to have a challenging job that plays to my strengths with pay rewarding enough not to resent the challenges. Even so, I agree with those who say that a "dream job" is the stuff of dreams.

Another point is that the goal may change as your life changes. Now that I am an empty nester with a wife who also works outside the home, I am more willing to work long hours as needed than when my kids were home. So today's good job would have been yesterday's bad job. We change, life changes.

I used to love my job until the corporation just kept changing the deparment, account set and also the reporting structure. This is what most IT firms are doing to their employees in search for an organization structure that will make them 'profitable'. Well, that is not how profits are reached (sorry to burst your bubble Mr Corporation), but yet, they feel that doing a restructing every year will do the job of employee satisfaction and shareholder satisfaction.

I work for a Fortune 15 company (high in the charts), and yet, they do this today (2006 to 2014), on an annual cycle.

Job Satisfaction.......No No, not possible. Salary Continuation Plan (SCP)......I am definitely riding the wave until it stops.

Any suggestions?

A dream job is like a dream marriage. No matter how much we love it, we will still have challenges, bad days, worries, problems. We will still make mistakes and say stupid things and worry every so often that we screwed up badly. Of course certain professions/companies/environments can provide a better fit for each of us and our particular needs, but there is no more a dream job than there is a dream life.

If by "dream job" you mean "the job I dreamt of having while I was poor and in grad school," then yes, I do have it. I work at the place I want to, on interesting projects, for an excellent salary and great benefits, but I also get a lot of pleasure out of my job. If my choice were doing projects at home all day ala Mr. Money Mustache or doing my current job, I take this. If my choice were making a million dollars a month while lying on waikiki beach, I think I'll take waikiki! But I'm pretty sure I'd get bored after a while.

In Software as a Program manager with a really big company. Hate my job. Waiting for my FI (Financial Independence). Hope to be there in 4 to 6 years.

It started of being I loved 70-80% of the time and currently I have 10-25% which I like.

I love most of my job, and I would classify perhaps 50% as a dream job; which I would simply define as doing what you enjoy doing.

I get to structure complex international transactions for tax purpose. The other 50% of the time, I am dealing with admin stuff and political BS. I guess you cannot have everything.

I like my job, I won't say I love it but it pays the bills and it's not mind numbing so I like it.

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