Don’t have a dream job? Me neither.


Kelly Hueckman / The Advance-Titan – About 1/3 of college students change their major at least once, according to a past study by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Kelly Hueckman, Managing Editor

A few weeks ago, a professor of mine asked the class: “What’s your dream job?”

Most of us have heard this question before, dating back to our elementary school days when our answers were along the lines of “an astronaut,” “a veterinarian” or “a princess.”

Now, as a college student, I heard responses like “a sports broadcaster,” “a pediatrician” or “a social studies teacher.” All of these are fine occupations and certainly serve a great purpose in society.

But then another hand shot up, and the girl said, “Well, I suppose my dream job would be to not have a job… but still get paid.” 

If you’re anything like me, I’m willing to bet that last option doesn’t sound too bad; I’d take a lifetime of vacation over any job, especially considering I don’t have my heart set on one.

No, I’ve never really envisioned myself 15 years down the line and saw myself in a specific occupation that truly fulfilled me.

But does that mean we’re lazy if we don’t have a dream job? Are we passionless empty shells of being that have no motivation in life and, by default, are inherently useless?

The short answer: no.

The less short answer: Not everyone has a dream job and not everyone needs a dream job. 

More than 30% of college students change their major at least once during their schooling, according to the National Center for Education. Overall, college students switch their major an average of three times.

Just because we graduate, does that mean we can no longer change our mind, or are we subject to a lifetime in a profession we chose before our frontal cortex was even fully developed?

We shouldn’t feel obligated or pressured to be passionate about a single career path. As humans, it’s in our nature to grow, evolve and change — and we shouldn’t bully ourselves out of that because we don’t have a dream job.

Now, don’t confuse this with me telling you to quit your job and pray for the best; I’m not saying that at all.

Our society relies on people getting their jobs done. Getting up and going to work — whatever work that may be — is integral to having a functional civilization, and along the way, there are bound to be jobs that most people don’t want to do. 

Still, your garbage needs to be picked up, your grocery store’s shelves need to be stocked and that deer you hit on your way home from work needs to be dragged off the side of the road. 

I’m sure the people that perform these tasks didn’t pipe up in second grade and say “Yeah, my dream job would probably be to pick up roadkill off the highway,” or “It’s always been my calling to stack nonperishables — especially when they’re on a BOGO sale.”

But this doesn’t make any of these people any less successful, because a job title does not always need to define a person. They get their check, just like electricians and dog trainers and painters and security guards, but they also have a life outside of their careers.

Fulfillment shouldn’t always come from your 9-5; it comes from hobbies, spending time with family, getting your friend through her first breakup, teaching your dog a new trick, traveling or whatever else might brighten your day. 

So, can we finally let go of the idea that we need to have a dream job?

The question of what your dream job is or if it exists certainly requires us to make some much-needed self-exploration, and can even give us some guidance.

Still, if you can go to your job and not hate your life every single day because of it, I’d say you’re on the right track. If it also puts food on your table and pays for rent, you’ve got it made.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t take pride in our work, which can be extremely rewarding for some. 

But we shouldn’t seek total achievement in only our jobs. Instead, we should aim to fulfill ourselves by enjoying ourselves outside the workplace.