Career Advice: Why ‘Follow Your Dream’ Needs A Dose Of RealityPosted: 5th of May 2015 by
Follow your dream – it is a common piece of career advice, especially from those who seem to have made it in desirable careers in acting, music, or other creative industries. Top business leaders like the late Apple boss, Steve Jobs have also famously championed the notion of never giving up and following your dreams until you make it. However, it seems that this slice of career advice may not be that useful in the real world. This is not to say that you should shelve your aspiration, but rather that you shouldn’t let the dream get in the way of reality.
The fact is that a great many people never make it into their dream career, while those that do may find that it is not quite all that they imagined it would be. It may sound harsh, and be at odds with the ‘yes you can’ attitude that permeates modern culture, but perhaps it is time we all took a step back and caught a dose of reality to go alongside our dreams?
With more university graduates than ever, it only follows that those top-level graduate jobs are harder to land. The competition is higher than ever before and increasing numbers of graduates are finding that their dream careers are simply over-subscribed, leaving them saddled with debt and no better off, employment-wise, than they would have been going straight out to work after school. This may sound bleak, but perhaps it is time to refocus your dreams to allow some reality to seep in.
Rather than thinking you will end up in a top career right away, perhaps it is time to realise that it is just as important to make sure you can pay your bills and get some food on the table. Being self-sufficient and having some money in your pocket needs to be given the same focus that is often placed on the idea of ‘following your dreams.’
Of course, the glamour of a desirable lifestyle can be blinding, but it is perhaps time some of our idols revealed how hard they actually had to work before they ‘made it.’ Having a low-paid job, working unsociable hours, and grinding away before getting a break were all once part of the story that went with careers such as acting. But it seems that many people are putting that reality aside, preferring to believe that ‘following your dream’ is enough.
Sadly, such ideas are not enough for many, and increasingly, those who are breaking through into desirable careers in the arts or media are those who have a wealthy-enough background not to have to worry too much about earning enough to eat and pay the rent!
This is not to say that you can’t work your way to the top and ‘make it,’ but rather that we need to focus on the ‘work’ aspect of the equation. It is all very well hearing of the lifestyles of those who have achieved the goal of a dream career, but we don’t tend to want to hear about how hard it was to achieve this.
High expectations are creating a situation where people believe that certain types of work are ‘below them,’ but living with your parents while they pay all the bills and feed you is hardly living ‘the life,’ is it? Dreams and goals are great things to have, but make sure they are tempered with reality, a strong work ethic, and a realisation that you may have to work hard to achieve them.
Follow your dreams by all means, but make sure you understand what it may take to get there – and be prepared to lower your expectations to make sure the basics are covered first, at least!
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