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Dream Jobs

By Andy Warren,

Today we have a guest editorial from Andy Warren as Steve is at SQL in the City - Portland.

Have you ever thought, really thought, about what your dream job would look like? Dream jobs are one of those things where it seems like we should all have one in mind. But do we? And if not, why not?

I remember back in 2001 or so thinking that being a consultant was my dream job. It certainly looked attractive to arrive on the scene as ‘the expert’, solve an interesting problem or two, and then depart with a nice check.  I thought the best path to get there was to study and learn and I did that, eventually becoming a trainer and consultant, only to find that it was only partially satisfying – it didn’t scratch the entire itch and it had downsides I had not understood fully at the beginning, things like a lot of travel. I look back and realize I didn’t try hard enough to dig into and crystalize that vision to make sure my dream job really was my dream job.

Fast forward some to 2009 or so and I’m trying to find that vision for the next dream job. I made some changes, but it felt like treading water. The best I could define what was I looking for was “an industrial strength challenge”. That’s not much to work with. It seems like a worse effort than my first try! But that was what I was looking for and that helped me be ready when one came along. Here is the really interesting part – I couldn’t have on my best day described the job or the challenges that I got. That dream job lasted for two years and then the work was done. What to dream of next?

The next dream was to land a larger project. Not a complicated dream, because it was a project I could see in progress already and it was just a matter of getting a seat on the bus. Is it even fair to call it a dream? I got the seat, but the bus ran out of gas, and then it was time to dream once more.

Dreaming is hard. It carries the risk of failure. It’s not easy to dream beyond what we know right now or what we see someone else doing – we can’t see over the horizon and the horizon is often all too close. When people ask for help I try to help them refine that vision, get it so clear they can see it, but I know it’s not always that easy if the dream is big.

Have you ever landed your dream job and was it everything you hoped? Or do you have a vision of your dream job? I hope you’ll join me in the attached discussion forum for an interesting conversation!

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