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When Your Dream Job Isn't a Dream Anymore

When Your Dream Job Isn't a Dream Anymore

"One person's fantasy is another person's job." That was the inscription written inside a fashion photography book I read sometime ago, just before the internet came along.

 The book was filled with fantastic fashion photography. Probably wouldn’t be described as fantastic today though. What it didn’t mention was the long days and nights, incredibly tight deadlines, extreme weather conditions and logistical nightmares. There’s a lot of work to getting a fashion shot just right and today photoshop makes things a little easier. 

Right from the start, we are encouraged to get the job we’re passionate about. However, sometimes it’s a case of being more passionate about getting the dream job, and once we get it, it may not live up to our expectations. 

And if you’re saying to yourself, “Why did I put so much effort into getting this job?” only months later to find out, that as with your last company, there’s always one colleague who you can’t click with and you can’t understand why your boss is always late. And why does the company insist “ It’s the way we do things around here” and everyone just accepts that mantra. 

Fantasies about a job don’t always match its workday realities. And it’s not that uncommon to hear of candidates becoming enamoured with the apparent glamour of a profession, only to find the workplace culture and deadlines impossible. Putting all your eggs in one basket and doing anything to get that “Dream job” if it turns out to be not quite what you expect, can be a huge disappointment.

Five approaches to take when your dream job goes bad 

1. Turning a dream job gone bad into a win requires overcoming disappointment, looking hard at where you went wrong and making the most of the skills you’ve gained. Remember, unexpected failures can jolt people into new ways of thinking. Those who stop and think deeply about what they might have done differently tend to be more creative about reaching goals in the future. 

2. Ask yourself, "Where can I go from here, to avoid going backwards?” Use your current job to develop skills and contacts that might serve as stepping-stones to something else. 

3. Make a pros-and-cons list of all the job characteristics that affect your happiness. Pros maybe gaining the latest job skills. Cons could be bad communication and culture. Talk with colleagues, so you can uncover potential surprises or red flags. This will help you in the “should I stay or should I go?” decision. 

4. When should I leave? Don't flee unexpected challenges too soon. It’s usually better to stay 12 to 18 months to show stability. Quick departures are more common in some industries, such as high-tech work, than in others. 

5. When interviewing for a new position, stress what you gained from your experience, such as new skills or an insight into understanding another industry. Change your way of thinking to recognise that you're a different person than before with so much more to offer.

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