What To Do When Your Dream Job Stops Being Your Dream Job

If you’re so lucky to ever land your dream job, it can be a very surreal and rewarding experience.  While you’ve worked hard to get there, you know that very few people ever get to actually live out their dream.  However, every perfect opportunity will reach a point where it doesn’t feel as glamorous or prestigious as it once did.  You may have been so enchanted on your first day of work, but that shiny exterior eventually wears off.  This can be very confronting for professionals who hadn’t thought beyond this goal, and it may lead you to feel a little bit lost.  If you’re unsure of how to approach this new frontier, here are the questions you can ask yourself to determine your next steps:

Why was it your dream job?

First, think back to when you were imagining this as your dream job, and ask yourself what elements of the job made it so important to you.  This could be a number of things, including:

  • The company’s mission and values
  • The position itself
  • The potential for advancement
  • The prestigious nature of the organization
  • The team of people you work with

Once you identify those elements of the job that you love, you can begin to move forward to figure out what changed.

Are those elements of the job still present?

Now, it is time to analyze the situation.  Now that you remember why you wanted this job in the first place, you can ask yourself if you feel that those elements are still present at work today.  If they aren’t, you can decide how that changed, and consider what that means for your current position or for the organization—perhaps the company or the role has changed too much.

However, if those “dream job” aspects are still there, you may have more self-reflection to do.  This may mean that you’ve simply grown out of the role and the company, and you’re ready for your next professional challenge.  Or, it may mean that your goals and perspectives have changed over time, and you need a career shift.

What would need to change?

Next, consider what would need to change for you to be happier at work.  While you may not achieve “I just landed my dream job” level happiness, you can improve your outlook with some basic changes.  This could be a shift in a number of areas:

  • A change in responsibility
  • A promotion
  • Learning a new skill set
  • Moving into another department

If you don’t feel as though any of these changes would make you happier at work, it may be the right time to consider looking for new positions outside of the company, or even going back to school for an advanced degree.

How can you make that happen?

Now that you know what needs to change in order to get your mojo back, outline how you can make this a reality.  For a change that takes place within the confines of your current company, decide on the right time to approach your supervisor to discuss the issue and outline your new goals.  If you’ve decided to seek further education or learn a new skill set, start with some preliminary research to make a plan for what steps you need to take.  Lastly, if you’ve decided to pursue new opportunities elsewhere, start by researching your marketability and open positions, and dust off your resume to begin your process of applying to new jobs.