Instead of Hustling for Your Dream Job, Do This (Part 2 of 2)

A couple of weeks ago, I posted here about what I believe to be a saner, gentler way to figuring out your career and work situation. I promised I’d be back this week once you’ve digested the kind of radical notion that you don’t need to find the exact right ‘dream job’ with some more details on how to get started with this mindset shift.

Before I do that, I want to make sure you’ve grabbed the guide that both these posts discuss. It’s here.

Ok, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way and you’ve got the guide in front of you, I want to take you through the first four steps of shifting your mindset in this way.

Once you start following these steps in this post, you’ll likely feel WAY more in flow and freer, like I felt here in middle of nowhere Chile!


1. Mind-set.

This is the foundation upon which the rest of this is built.

Without recognizing when you’re going back to your typical thought patterns or behaviors throughout the day or week, it is nearly impossible to just let go and let your current job be what it is. When I was in my former career as a finance events producer, I was butting heads with my career on the regular. My parents were so proud of me and I had this message coming at me that I’d “made it.” At 26. Riiiight. Anyway, with that in the back of my head and at my core foundation, no wonder why I tried to make a job that I was good at (but didn’t really like) my dream job for so many more years after that!

2. Flipping the Script: Once you recognize you are falling back into your typical M.O., it’s all about creating mantras or, if you really don’t like that word, scripts that you can use to go along with the mind-set/realization work. So if it becomes, “Oh, I’m doing my usual thing of trying to figure out my dream job again! <Insert mantra here>”. It could be something like, “I’m making progress daily with the small decisions I make.” Or “My next step will reveal itself to me when it’s time.”

Another thing that might be helpful to realize is that the workforce is vastly different than even 10 to 15 years ago. It’s so much less linear and so much easier to do cool projects or jobs or, as Sheryl Sandberg puts it in her book Lean In, recognize that it’s no longer a “career ladder” anymore but a “jungle gym” with lots of starts and ends. And when we are trying to “figure it out” and “find a solution,” those notions are vestiges left over from the old way of the working world. The rules are being rewritten and you can join in on the writing.

3. What to Do Instead: While the whole point of this new way of thinking is not to jump into “doing” as per steps 1 and 2 above, there are unlimited things you can be thinking about and exploring. The difference is that there’s not an endgame (i.e., job) in mind. The guide is full of ideas for things and ideas to pursue outside of work. For example, when I was working with a client last summer, she was in a rough spot and instead of throwing a whole pile of DO DO DO on the problem, we had her do something she was interested in and that she’d wanted to do — learn how to make sourdough bread. She started posting how-to videos and posts to social media. Fast forward a couple months later, and a wealthy investor who wanted to launch a ricotta tart company got wind of her baking and BOOM — now she’s running his company.

4. What Does Not Loving Your Job and Just Liking It LOOK Like? If you’re like a lot of the people I talk to, they give their all (or more) at their job, whether they like the job or not. And here’s the kicker: They don’t know how to do any less. It’s that hardwired into them. And THIS energy and drive is exactly what I want you to pour into your hobbies and interests and life outside of work. This doesn’t mean slack off to the point of being laid off, but it does mean that there’s work to be done in:

a. Setting healthy boundaries at the office (e.g., leaving on time, declining meetings that there’s no reason for you to attend)

b. Managing up in a way that revitalizes your relationship with your manager and helps you reach a mutual understanding

c. Talking with your manager or mentor at work and letting them know what you’re interested in exploring at the company. This is something that Lynze Ballay, founder of She Works Abroad can’t stress enough. If you don’t give your employer a chance to find you work that interests you more or gives you a little extra creativity or autonomy you’re looking for, they have no fighting chance of keeping you. And how cool of a win-win is it to share your interests with an organization that will try to foster that?

So, while I know it sounds crazy to not actively be marching forward toward your dream job at first blush, it is possible to figure out your next step in a saner, calmer, and frankly more fun way. Who WOULDN’T want to explore their dream of, for instance, owning a winery and retreat center in South America by taking wine classes, meeting people in the wine industry and learning how wine is made at a retreat? Each experience and interaction and connection is a breadcrumb that leads you to the next thing…there is no end.

Don’t forget to grab the free guide here to get started on your own journey in this way.

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Jill Ozovek (CPC, ACC) is a Career Development Advisor based in New York City. She is the host of the Career Passport, not-your-typical career podcast for thirty-something women hosted on iTunes, and has a personal coaching and retreat business, where she takes women to far-flung places both domestic and exotic to consider new possibilities for themselves. Look out for the next one in Austin, January 2018. In her free time, she enjoys cooking all sorts of crazy things from scratch, traveling without an itinerary, photography and hanging out with her husband, Aidan, friends and family.