Who wouldn’t want a dream job?
However, when choosing the careers for 25before25, I realised that the project could not just be about the things I have dreamed of since being a child as this would oversimplify the search for fulfilment.
There are elements of my civil service career that I really loved and would want to continue. Similarly, there are elements of ‘dream’ careers that I would not suit.
So I set about considering this issue in a more methodical way – instead of trying to find one job to rule them all, I have tried to think more granularly about individual career attributes and question which attributes would make me feel most fulfilled, and ultimately, happiest?
I have made a ‘primary’ list for elements which are absolutely essential and ‘secondary’ list for elements that I would like to have, but are not deal breakers. All the careers in 25before25 will fit somewhere in this framework.
I will weigh up each of the 25 careers against these ten factors, with the aim of quantifying and directly comparing them. I hope I will be lucky enough to find one that is a perfect 10, or more likely there will need to be a combination of two or three of achieve that.
Many careers that I have researched and spoken to people about (there is lots going on behind the scenes!) have several elements from the primary list but will miss out an absolutely crucial element or two. For example, being an Expedition Leader/Explorer ticks most boxes, but does not allow me to think as strategically as I would like and perhaps is not as obviously intellectually stimulating as I feel I need.
I therefore reject the idea that jobs must be full time and sequential.
We can stop thinking of careers in only one dimension, as one full time job at a time. Whilst no job is perfect - they all have their cons as well as their pros and we must accept that - many of us are perhaps guilty of not challenging a job's shortcomings. Accepting those shortcomings is something we are very good at doing, but where we regularly fall short is taking it that one step further. Where one job ticks many but not all of our boxes, why can we not supplement the desire for those other primary and secondary elements with another?
I could combine being an Expedition Leader in the summer months (as this is usually seasonal, short term contract work) with working with International Development agencies (again, contract work is common in this industry). On the side, I might write the occasional article on the strategic importance of development work, or promote the benefits of the great outdoors for mental health, wellbeing and children’s development.
So I challenge readers who are questioning their current career choices – what would make you happy? What elements do you need from your working life, primary and secondary, to make you feel truly fulfilled? Do not try to tailor these traits to a specific career you like the sound of or think you might be good at - instead start with a blank sheet of paper.
And hey, if you think of any blindingly obvious careers that match my much of my list please let me know - I still have four question marks on the 25!
Feel free to post your lists below in the comments below, or on the Facebook page.