The dream job syndrome

A few weeks ago the last edition of Find your way: a 12-week tutored program that helps people who don’t know what to do to find an option for the future that suits them and that allows them to lead a life that suits them.

With this edition, there are already more than 500 students with whom I have worked.

And after hearing hundreds of stories and seeing all kinds of cases, I can say that one of the biggest causes of paralysis and job dissatisfaction that exists today is what I call “dream job syndrome.”

What is the dream job syndrome?

People who suffer from the ideal job syndrome stand out because they dream of devoting themselves to something that “really fulfills them”, but no matter how hard they search, they can’t find any option that convinces them because they all see some drawback or problem.

Most live installed in the following vicious circle:

  1. They discover a job or profession that appeals to them, or they come up with a business idea that fits them
  2. They get excited because they are convinced that they have finally found what they were looking for and they go with it.
  3. When they start to investigate and find out more details, they realize that not everything is perfect as they thought, but that going down that path requires time and effort, doing some tasks that they don’t like at all, that success is not guaranteed or that does it have any other drawbacks
  4. They come to the conclusion that deep down that option does not fill them, so they discard it and resume their search, which after a while brings them back to point #1.

They spend months or even years repeating these four steps in a loop over and over again, and their lives become a source of continual frustration and dissatisfaction.

When these people sign up for Find your Way, they usually do so because they believe that I have a magic wand that will allow them to find that option for the future with the characteristics they are looking for.

And yes, it is true that in the program I explain how to discover options that they did not know about or that had never been considered and that could be perfect for them.

However, in his case that is not important, because his problem is not so much the lack of good options, but his expectations about reality.

What is the true origin of the dream job syndrome?

The big mistake made by those who suffer from the perfect job syndrome is that they consider that for a certain path to fulfill them, it must meet a long list of requirements, among which are usually the following:

  • All the tasks involved are exciting
  • It is well paid
  • Doesn’t require much effort
  • It has super convenient hours
  • It is easy and fast to get
  • It does not present any risk
  • Guarantees you a good life until you retire

And they must also comply with all of them without fail, to the point that any small drawback or obstacle, such as the fact that the path in question requires several months of work, includes an activity that they do not like too much or involves the slightest uncertainty, is reason enough to discard it.

What these people do not understand is that finding a profession, a job or a business without any inconvenience is impossible.

It’s like trying to find a partner without any flaws.

You will not get it, because it does not exist.

Think about it…

No matter how much you are attracted to a person or how much you love them, they will always have something that does not convince you or that is not 100% to your liking.

She may be short, a bit of a mess, or sometimes in a bad mood.

Or maybe you would prefer her to be a little more fun, to like soccer a little less, or to dress a little better.

But it will never be perfect.

In the same way, wherever you live, your place of residence will always have some inconvenience.

If you choose to live in an apartment in the center of a big city, you will be far from nature and the rent will be expensive.

And if you choose to live in a big house in a village, you’ll have to commute every time you need to go into town, and you’ll have to spend more time (or pay more money) cleaning and maintaining the garden.

What is clear is that you will never find an apartment that is both modern, spacious, fully equipped, close to the center and also to nature, and also cheap, because there is no such thing.

It’s a bit like Pro Evolution Soccer players, who all have a series of attributes (passing, shooting, speed…) and a score for each of them.

There are those who stand out more in some things than in others, but none have everything at 100.

Even Messi, who is the best player in the world, is weak in defense and physique:

Pro Evolution Soccer Messi

Not even Messi is perfect!

Well, that’s basically how life works.

Whichever path you choose, there will always be something negative about it.

Something you won’t like.

Because things are never usually black or white, but most are gray.

How to overcome dream job syndrome

If you are one of those affected by the perfect job syndrome, you should know that understanding this uncomfortable truth is the only way to get out of the loop of frustration and dissatisfaction in which you find yourself right now.

You need to accept that the world is not a menu restaurant where you can ask the waiter to take away the ingredients you don’t like and substitute others.

And it is that all, absolutely all the future options that exist have drawbacks and a price to pay.

For example:

  • If you work in a company, you will have a boss telling you what to do, who can also fire you at any time
  • If you become a civil servant, you are going to spend many months preparing for oppositions, and if you get them, your salary will never be very high and your professional career will not evolve much over time.
  • If you start your own business, you are going to have to work like an animal with no guarantee that what you are doing is going to work and you are going to have to be constantly competing with other entrepreneurs.

And not only that, but whatever you do, even if you’re doing something you’re passionate about, there’s always going to be…

  • Boring or disliked tasks
  • Days you don’t feel like working
  • Moments of stress, helplessness and frustration

I know this because I love my job at Vivir al Máximo, but even so, I have to manage a lot of legal and bureaucratic issues that put me in a bad mood, there are mornings when I’m terribly lazy to sit down and write, and there has even been a couple of times I have reached burnout from working so hard.

And I insist: I am passionate about what I do.

In this sense, the mistake is in believing that for a future option to “fulfill you” it has to be perfect.

It is not like this.

Just as you can be happy sharing your life with a person who has things you don’t like, you can also be happy walking a path that has problems, obstacles, and inconveniences.

The secret is to stop striving for perfection and focus on choosing a path where the pros more than outweigh the cons.

That is, a path that has advantages that are very valuable to you, and at the same time has disadvantages that you can tolerate.

In my case, when I decided to become a digital nomad back in the day, I was well aware that it was not the perfect option.

It is true that I had many good things, such as the freedom of being able to work from anywhere in the world with my own hours, but it also meant being away from my family and friends for months, having to start from scratch every time I arrived at a new city, the uncertainty of not knowing if my business would continue working…

Still, in my case the positives more than outweighed the negatives, because at the time my priority was the experience of traveling the world with a backpack, and the price I had to pay to get it was very low compared to what was important. that this trip was for me.

In the same way, people who are dedicated to niche pages, such as Pau Ninja or Pau Forner, know that the business model is not perfect.

Writing 10,000-word articles about express pots or barbecues is not fun, the competition is getting higher, depending on Google and Amazon generates restlessness…

But despite that it pays off, because they earn a good salary every month, they don’t have to deal with a boss or clients, and it leaves them enough free time for the rest of their projects and interests.

Conclusion: Embrace Imperfection

Internalizing what I have explained to you in this article, the idea that there is no path without hitches and that what you have to do is find an option for the future in which the pros far outweigh the cons and whose drawbacks you can tolerate, is the key to overcoming the dream job syndrome.

It is what will allow you to get out of the loop of “find an option → get excited → discard it → search again” in which you may have been involved for months or even years, and finally opt for something that, even if it implies doing tasks that you do not like , taking certain risks or having your days of stress, in the global calculation can make you happy.

Because just because a job fills you up doesn’t mean it always has to be easy, wonderful, and fun, and it doesn’t mean there’s no chance of failure.

The reality is that all worthwhile paths require effort and sacrifice, and there will be times when you find them boring, frustrating and even painful, and this is not a bad thing.

It’s just something we have to accept.

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