30 September 2023
What makes for a dream job?
What makes for a dream job?
We all want to find a dream job that’s enjoyable and meaningful, but what does that actually mean? Using research from our partner organisation 80.000 Hours, we present some evidence.
What makes for a dream job? Contrary to common beliefs, passion, often considered the guiding light, doesn’t necessarily hold the answer. Similarly, the idea that a dream job should be both effortless and highly lucrative is also largely debunked.
Instead, 80.000 Hours identified six core components that make up a dream job, factors that transcend income and the oversimplified “follow your passion” mantra. In fact, singular passion can be misleading – luminaries like Steve Jobs and Maya Angelou ventured into unexpected territories before finding their true calling.
So, what’s the key? Summarising the essentials, to uncover a dream job, focus on these factors:
- Engaging work that lets you enter a state of flow (freedom, variety, clear tasks, feedback)
- Work that helps others
- Work you’re good at
- Supportive colleagues
- No major negatives, like long hours or unfair pay
- A job that fits your personal life
Engaging work that lets you enter a state of flow (freedom, variety, clear tasks, feedback)
What truly matters is the daily engagement and flow in your tasks, more than factors like salary or status. Engaging work involves autonomy, clear tasks, variety, and feedback—key predictors of job satisfaction.
Work that helps others
Meaningful work comes from making a difference. Evidence suggests that aiding others substantially enhances life satisfaction. Acts of kindness, volunteering, and charitable giving correlate with increased happiness.
Work you’re good at
Being skilled at your work is pivotal for achievement and negotiation. Proficiency opens doors to meaningful projects, engaging tasks, and fair pay—a vital aspect often more important than mere interest.
Positive work relationships are vital. You don’t need to befriend all colleagues, but the ability to seek help and feedback matters. Does the culture of the workplace make it easy to get help, get feedback, and work together?.
Work that doesn’t have major negatives
Beyond positives, the absence of negatives is crucial. Aspects like long commutes, excessive hours, unfair pay, and job insecurity are strongly tied to dissatisfaction.
Work that fits with the rest of your life
Fulfillment doesn’t solely come from work. A job that harmonises with your life allows for personal pursuits, hobbies, and relationships, recognising that your career isn’t the sole source of life’s components.
To realise your dream job, shift your focus away from money and stress, and refrain from optimising for a single passion. Rather, excel in a domain that creates a positive impact. This alignment benefits both you and the world.
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