5 Hard Truths about Finding your Dream job

Whenever I meet my peers, we catch up and share about how we are doing. At some point, they began to talk about how this one friend was having a great job, helpful colleagues, and likely earned a much higher salary than most of us. As someone who is fresh out of school and starting their first job, we always have high expectations of what a dream job should be like.

When we plowed through many job postings, we noticed the job scope differed greatly from what we were expecting, e.g. pitching to high-net-worth clients, closing multimillion-dollar deals, and speaking to top CEOs in the world. It would be more like being a junior assistant to a more senior colleague, executing and being involved in small parts of a project. Since we are entry-level employees, we might not get paid top dollars.

Once we got moving into a new job, we got so worn down by long working hours, subpar benefits, and a stressful work environment. The deluge of work and tight deadlines fill our minds while waking up to work every day feels like a nightmare. Realizing this was the job we signed up for, we became discouraged and disappointed in ourselves.

In retrospect, I knew I had to accept certain things in finding a job, knowing that our mentality sets the tone for us to view the jobs objectively. If we cast aside our unrealistic expectations of wanting a job that pays well but is less demanding, we will quickly come to realize what is most important to us.

As a result, I concluded that there are probably 5 things we should ask or tell ourselves when choosing a job for our career.

Finding a job because it pays well

Despite how cliche it sounds, living life is all about being able to do what you want with your own time. As you earn more money, you will have more resources to get what you need to live your life and to spend on the things that are important to you.

We’re often misled to believe we need to find high-paying jobs because of the way society looks at money, fame, and prestige. During your job search, you might choose to focus on the jobs that pay well, and ignore those that you are passionate about, but are lowly paid.

In the long run, when you have the money, will you be proud to tell yourself that you are really passionate about your work? It seemed as if you could just be slogging your way out of work, not knowing if you could eventually escape the rat race. This is true unless the job you enjoy pays well or you will have to give up part of yourself for that job.

There will never be a perfect balance between good working hours and welfare

There are always constant comparisons between companies on how they treat their employees and value work-life balance. It has been a common topic of how youths should be treated in the workplace and be entitled to various benefits in order to be retained.

Industry standards are different, and varying degrees of work commitment is needed to function in different roles. Several require higher levels of work involvement while others offer greater flexibility and work-life balance.

In essence, some jobs may have long working hours or require shift work, while others require no further commitment after working hours. Thus, it is quite understandable that some jobs do not seem particularly appealing to many, which is a common discussion point among young professionals.

Some companies provide generous welfare for employees, looking to retain their best talents in the firm. By considering having a well-stocked pantry, complete gym facilities, and matching offices that look like WeWork coworking spaces, top companies will be able to attract top talents.

However, youths may consider it a deal-breaker if firms they want to work for do not provide enticing benefits.

Knowing what you want in a job is essential

When we find a job, it isn’t just about paying our bills or looking good on our resume; it is also about knowing what we want to spend our time on when we wake up every day.

Some people value their work and colleagues, while others are more driven to earn money for their loved ones. Since we all have different career goals, it essentially boils down to knowing what we want to do and being paid for it.

If we don’t know what we want to work on, we likely won’t have any long-term plans for our careers and earning “more” money will be our only goal.

The fear of not earning enough to maintain a certain standard of living may make earning more money a fear-driven goal instead of an objective-driven goal.

Thus, when finding a job, it is important to think about what we really want rather than just looking for work to pay the bills.

Knowing the difference between a job and a career

It is rather difficult to know the difference between a job and a career because of our needs and wants in life. Some may argue that they need a high-paying high-paying job to accumulate a substantial amount of money in the short term so they would go for a sales job (unarguably one of the best-paying jobs based on performance).

It also may be appealing to others to have a career that is stable and high paying in the long run, which they can also achieve by working (not limited to) in finance, law, or medicine.

Most of us realize a job differs from a career, but we admit that we might have changed jobs multiple times before we finally settled down in a job for good. It is alright to have career planning but do not be too rigid to let it dedicate what we have to do in our personal lives.

The saying goes, “We work to live, but we don’t live to work.”

We must therefore consider what is best for us when deciding if our current role is suitable to be a job or a career.

There will never be a dream job

Even though it sounds disheartening, it is always about finding a balance between having high expectations for a job and knowing that it will never be the best job you could ever hope for.

Great boss, great colleagues, high-paying salaries, and a wonderful office space stocked with coffee capsules and snacks — we could only have one or another, but not all at once.

In our work, we can either strive to achieve our dreams or dream of a job that pays for what we are passionate about outside of work. Certainly, if you consider your job to be your dream job, then it is.

When you’re passionate about the work you’re doing, whatever it is you dream about, will give you the fulfillment you yearn for.

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Looking back on my conversations with my peers about our ideal jobs, I feel we are focusing too much on parts of it that could benefit us, rather than the role. And selecting jobs that can only be fulfilling if they provide us with good salaries and benefits.

While I don’t disagree that the majority of us would like to have these incentives, ultimately it boils down to what we want to get out of the role and if it aligns with our values and vision.

About The Author:

Vince Law is an Accountancy graduate from Singapore Management University. Having a keen eye for numbers and a bent for problem-solving, he is currently working as a business consultant at one of the Big 4 Accounting firms, focusing on both consulting and assurance. During his free time, he writes on topics related to personal development and current affairs through his lens.

P/S. If you like this post, please follow his medium account at

Yin Kai Law (Vince) for more future updates!

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