Your Hidden Dream Job

When deciding on a career, you have one huge limitation:

You can only pursue fields of work you know about.

This is why, in WG’s nsho, so many young people announce they want to be an “athlete” or “actor” or even (eek) a “politician.”  Girls who like fashion want to be runway models.  Boys who like sports picture themselves playing for the Dodgers. 

The problem being, of course, that the higher profile the job–the more you see it portrayed in the news and at the movies and on TV–the lower the chances are of you, dear reader, ever actually making a living this way.

But guess what?  Most people earn decent incomes and lead happy fulfilled lives doing work you have never heard of.  So here is Working Girl’s advice for finding your (hidden) dream job:  Read widely.  Talk to many different kinds of people from many different walks of life.  Note carefully what subjects turn you on.

Now here’s the hard part.  Determine what it is about those turn-on subjects you like the most

Example:  Say you love the ballet.  Your bedroom is swathed in pink tulle, you wear a tiara on a daily basis, and you can hum the entire score of  Swan Lake.  Should you become a ballerina?  Well, maybe.  But think harder.  What is about ballet that thrills you?  The music?  The physicality?  The sets?  The teamwork?  The costumes?  The attention?

Once you know what you like about ballet you will know more about yourself and you can start to get creative about careers.  For instance, if it’s the costumes you adore, maybe you’d find joy being a department store buyer, a hair stylist, a “sourcer” for apparel manufacturers, a merchandiser, or the owner of your own boutique.  If you like the sets–well, have you considered interior design or architecture?  Is it the being-on-stage that you crave?  You may be a born teacher.  The physicality?  Consider sports medicine, fitness trainer, nutritionist, or any of a billion facets of health care.

You get the picture.  It’s a huge world out there with infinite possibilities.  You can find success and job bliss in so many ways.  Weirdly, lots of these ways are hidden.  But now that you know they are, have fun hunting….


  • Erica says:

    This is great advice! A lot of people forget this, or choose jobs that have nothing to do with what they loved about their dream job.

    – Says the happy former archaeologist turned marketer

  • tina says:

    where were you when I was applying to colleges?? I think this is fantastic advice (coming from a girl with a drama degree, who 20 years later is an office manager designing clothing on the side).