Don’t confuse Purpose with a mere ‘dream job’

June 19, 2012 | 36 comments. | Comment on this post

On one side we have the j-o-b or work that lacks any purpose to us other than providing a hoped for paycheck. Investing so much of our lives just for a buck is killing us, reducing us to mere workhorses and slaves. It’s illogical, unBiblical and unless you’re in a short time of survival mode…is one of our cultures most deadly diseases.

But on the other side we’re offered the big, blinking light of the ‘Dream Job’! The kind of job where you almost feel guilty cause it’s so fun. Where you’ll find yourself saying, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this!”

Quotes like this have further led us in this perspective:
“Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life” – Harvey MacKay
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play…” James A. Michener

In my experience, people who say such things don’t really know how to play and have fun. They’re dedicated to their work. My play and fun is generally about me. Making ME happy. If I’m truly serving others in a meaningful way, the rewards are dramatic. But it comes at a cost to me and doesn’t feel like mere ‘play’.

If we accept the two perspectives above, then we must choose between selling-out or narcissism. Dog food or a meal of only desserts. Hmmmm. I’m not a fan of either.

I’ll go with option ‘C’. Work that fits my cares and inherent abilities. Work that serves a need and provides value to mankind, and fulfills who I am at the core. A great tasting, fulfilling and healthful meal!

It’s fulfilling. It’s rewarding. It matters. It’s valuable. It provides for my family, serves others and matters to me far beyond the mere income I receive for doing it. And as I truly care about it and invest myself fully, and it fits my natural abilities…I invest myself fully and do a great job and end up making more income than I would otherwise to boot. Pretty great deal.

But is it all fun? All play?

Folks, I can’t showcase one person to you who is working at what they feel is their ‘purpose’ or ‘calling’ and would say it’s all fun and play and easy. Far from it. They’ve worked much harder than they would have at a mere j-o-b. They’ve made sacrifices. Stepped out on faith. Done the ‘right thing’ at the cost of what was most profitable for them.

If you’re working at something just for a paycheck and know there should be more purpose in what you’re giving so much of your life to, please don’t think the alternative is the narcissistic ‘dream job’ that’s all about making you happy. A lifetime of dessert only will become just as meaningless as selling out for dog food. And who’s going to risk and sacrifice much just for dessert and self-serving?

How about it. Have you struggled with the pursuit of the ‘dream job’ just seeming narcissistic? Let us know below in the comments.


Check out our discussion on this post in the June 20th live show:

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  • Jeremy

    Great article, Kevin! How does this do for a comment? :)

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      I feel just a tad better about myself… I’d still like to figure out what didn’t connect with folks on this one.

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      I feel just a tad better about myself… I’d still like to figure out what didn’t connect with folks on this one.

  • Jeremy

    Great article, Kevin! How does this do for a comment? :)

  • Mark

    Those quotes do seem too glossy and generic. Dream job seems like an oxymoron… there might be a “Job that fits well” or “Ideal job”, but eventually a job is going to have too much limitations and leave the employee looking for more. I think most of your readers, know that entrepreneurship or freelancing work is the way to go.

    There are people who feel like their job or business is pretty fun and doesn’t feel like work, but that’s only because they’re good at outsourcing the mundane stuff or the stuff they aren’t as good at by building a good team. They seem to be able to accomplish great things given their freedom from distraction and stress.

    Not that we all want that. Some hard work, challenges, and some humbling tasks are good for us… I wouldn’t want to avoid these altogether.

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      Thanks Mark, I read this on the live show, which is posted here at the blog. I agree, as you embrace the fullness of your purpose and passion, any traditional job as an employee tends to be too limiting. And your ending statement…if the work is just easy and all fun, then you probably aren’t doing too much of true significance!

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      Thanks Mark, I read this on the live show, which is posted here at the blog. I agree, as you embrace the fullness of your purpose and passion, any traditional job as an employee tends to be too limiting. And your ending statement…if the work is just easy and all fun, then you probably aren’t doing too much of true significance!

  • Mark

    Those quotes do seem too glossy and generic. Dream job seems like an oxymoron… there might be a “Job that fits well” or “Ideal job”, but eventually a job is going to have too much limitations and leave the employee looking for more. I think most of your readers, know that entrepreneurship or freelancing work is the way to go.

    There are people who feel like their job or business is pretty fun and doesn’t feel like work, but that’s only because they’re good at outsourcing the mundane stuff or the stuff they aren’t as good at by building a good team. They seem to be able to accomplish great things given their freedom from distraction and stress.

    Not that we all want that. Some hard work, challenges, and some humbling tasks are good for us… I wouldn’t want to avoid these altogether.

  • http://www.roccocapra.com/ Rocco Capra

    Ok, so, I read this in my email and never came here to comment till you prodded on FB. :)

    I think I can relate a bit, maybe. I’ll try and keep it short…

    In 2000 I got a job with a national company in their Technical Services dept, and by 2005 I was miserable. For the most part it was the ‘company’ that made me miserable, so I thought.

    In 2005 I got a new job, that was basically a promotion, better pay, responsibilities, and more challenging. 2.5 years into it I was getting miserable again. This time it wasn’t the company. It was a great place to work! So I started to try and figure out how I can jump ship into another job or career even and maintain my income (have to pay off school debt, mortgage, bills, etc.) I eventually found a job in the same field with again, more pay, responsibilities, and more challenging. Yet, it didn’t even take a year for me to get that old feeling back.

    So, now I’m at the precipice of completely rebooting my life. Our house is in contract, and we have enough equity to pay off all debt. I’m looking forward to the freedom to ‘try’ differ careers to see what makes my heart come alive. At this point I’m even willing to be a school bus driver! :)

    • http://www.roccocapra.com/ Rocco Capra

      Not sure how that fits with your post, but that is what it made me think about.

    • http://www.roccocapra.com/ Rocco Capra

      Not sure how that fits with your post, but that is what it made me think about.

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      Rocco, thanks for this. I read it and talked about it in the show. My guess is that the end product or service you were working to help support…wasn’t something you cared about. And that…is not sustainable.

      • http://www.roccocapra.com/ Rocco Capra

        I’ll have to listen and catch up then!!

      • http://www.roccocapra.com/ Rocco Capra

        I’ll have to listen and catch up then!!

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      Rocco, thanks for this. I read it and talked about it in the show. My guess is that the end product or service you were working to help support…wasn’t something you cared about. And that…is not sustainable.

  • http://www.roccocapra.com/ Rocco Capra

    Ok, so, I read this in my email and never came here to comment till you prodded on FB. :)

    I think I can relate a bit, maybe. I’ll try and keep it short…

    In 2000 I got a job with a national company in their Technical Services dept, and by 2005 I was miserable. For the most part it was the ‘company’ that made me miserable, so I thought.

    In 2005 I got a new job, that was basically a promotion, better pay, responsibilities, and more challenging. 2.5 years into it I was getting miserable again. This time it wasn’t the company. It was a great place to work! So I started to try and figure out how I can jump ship into another job or career even and maintain my income (have to pay off school debt, mortgage, bills, etc.) I eventually found a job in the same field with again, more pay, responsibilities, and more challenging. Yet, it didn’t even take a year for me to get that old feeling back.

    So, now I’m at the precipice of completely rebooting my life. Our house is in contract, and we have enough equity to pay off all debt. I’m looking forward to the freedom to ‘try’ differ careers to see what makes my heart come alive. At this point I’m even willing to be a school bus driver! :)

  • http://www.outstandinglandings.com/ Victoria Jones

    Having a “Dream Job” is often portrayed as some sort of out-of-body, other-wordly phenomenon few of us will ever achieve. In my opinion: if you have work you enjoy, and are compensated well for it – you have a dream job; if you do what you like, with whom you like – you have a dream job; if you are continuously challenged to be better tomorrow than you are today – you have a dream job; if you wake up in the morning eager to face whatever is thrown your way in work – you have a dream job; and, if you serve others in some small (or large) way in the course of your work – you have a dream job.

    If these are considered “narcissistic,” I guess I can live with that!

  • http://www.outstandinglandings.com/ Victoria Jones

    Having a “Dream Job” is often portrayed as some sort of out-of-body, other-wordly phenomenon few of us will ever achieve. In my opinion: if you have work you enjoy, and are compensated well for it – you have a dream job; if you do what you like, with whom you like – you have a dream job; if you are continuously challenged to be better tomorrow than you are today – you have a dream job; if you wake up in the morning eager to face whatever is thrown your way in work – you have a dream job; and, if you serve others in some small (or large) way in the course of your work – you have a dream job.

    If these are considered “narcissistic,” I guess I can live with that!

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      Great perspectives Torie, I read these on the show!

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      Great perspectives Torie, I read these on the show!

  • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

    Kevin, I think the big question here is what really does constitute a Dream Job. I think so many of us haven’t really thought of it in that regard. For me, a “dream job” is one where I can do things I love to do AND gives me time to spend outside of work with those I love AND gives me the financial freedom I desire. For people who say they are in their dream job and are working 20 hours a day, I’d say they aren’t. I don’t care how much I love my job. I want discretionary time, which is my true measure of wealth.

    It’s a hard subject to handle. I can tell you that I haven’t found my dream job just quite yet, because I don’t have the financial freedom I’d really like.

  • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

    Kevin, I think the big question here is what really does constitute a Dream Job. I think so many of us haven’t really thought of it in that regard. For me, a “dream job” is one where I can do things I love to do AND gives me time to spend outside of work with those I love AND gives me the financial freedom I desire. For people who say they are in their dream job and are working 20 hours a day, I’d say they aren’t. I don’t care how much I love my job. I want discretionary time, which is my true measure of wealth.

    It’s a hard subject to handle. I can tell you that I haven’t found my dream job just quite yet, because I don’t have the financial freedom I’d really like.

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      Hey…you’re on your way my brother!

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      Hey…you’re on your way my brother!

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnanthony.dimare John Anthony DiMare

    Hi Kevin, I think the problem is the JOB classification. You know my Story and I am viewing my JOB as a blessing now that will support my Pursuit of Free Agency. So I try not to feel Guilty about my JOB as it allows me the freedom to pusue something Higher as long as I keep taking your advice Kevin on ” Making something Give”. Grueling through one last Marketing Event Tonight at a 5 star resturant in Anaheim CA. Seriously I will use this opportunity as a learning experience even though the topic of conversations tonight might bore me. Then it’s off to your Town ( C. Springs)to Renew and Refresh with Family and Write more episodes of my podcast. Something Does have to Give ; Working the JOB keeps the fire in the belly sometimes to Strive toward something better…….. dare I say Dream-like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnanthony.dimare John Anthony DiMare

    Hi Kevin, I think the problem is the JOB classification. You know my Story and I am viewing my JOB as a blessing now that will support my Pursuit of Free Agency. So I try not to feel Guilty about my JOB as it allows me the freedom to pusue something Higher as long as I keep taking your advice Kevin on ” Making something Give”. Grueling through one last Marketing Event Tonight at a 5 star resturant in Anaheim CA. Seriously I will use this opportunity as a learning experience even though the topic of conversations tonight might bore me. Then it’s off to your Town ( C. Springs)to Renew and Refresh with Family and Write more episodes of my podcast. Something Does have to Give ; Working the JOB keeps the fire in the belly sometimes to Strive toward something better…….. dare I say Dream-like.

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      nice John. Yeah, makes it easier to endure when you have a hope in front of you. Wish I was home to see you while in the Springs.

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      nice John. Yeah, makes it easier to endure when you have a hope in front of you. Wish I was home to see you while in the Springs.

  • http://www.CareerCoachJeff.com/ Jeff Melvin

    “Dream Job” it seems almost too good to be true. For many, and even myself at times, the dream job illusion is that it will require “less work.” It’s easy street once you achieve it, but your post brings up a great point about “working harder than at a j-o-b.” That’s the crux of the matter though too – it’s working in your “sweet spot”, what you were designed to do. It may require working harder, longer, sacrificing, but it doesn’t seem like any of those when you’re doing what you were designed to do (at least that’s what I’ve heard from those who are doing it).

    Getting stuck in a j-o-b, living out the daily grind, going through the motions to pay the bills is the glue that holds many back (even myself to some extent). Too many “what ifs” to deal with – what if I don’t make enough money, what if it doesn’t work out as planned, etc. Thankfully, a person who sets their mind on discovering their purpose, what they are uniquely designed to do can develop a “plan of action” and make a change in their life to work their dream job – all it takes is little tweaks to create major change. One step at a time with a desire to achieve the end result.

  • http://www.CareerCoachJeff.com/ Jeff Melvin

    “Dream Job” it seems almost too good to be true. For many, and even myself at times, the dream job illusion is that it will require “less work.” It’s easy street once you achieve it, but your post brings up a great point about “working harder than at a j-o-b.” That’s the crux of the matter though too – it’s working in your “sweet spot”, what you were designed to do. It may require working harder, longer, sacrificing, but it doesn’t seem like any of those when you’re doing what you were designed to do (at least that’s what I’ve heard from those who are doing it).

    Getting stuck in a j-o-b, living out the daily grind, going through the motions to pay the bills is the glue that holds many back (even myself to some extent). Too many “what ifs” to deal with – what if I don’t make enough money, what if it doesn’t work out as planned, etc. Thankfully, a person who sets their mind on discovering their purpose, what they are uniquely designed to do can develop a “plan of action” and make a change in their life to work their dream job – all it takes is little tweaks to create major change. One step at a time with a desire to achieve the end result.

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      ‘Easy Street’, great analogy. Battling that is why I wrote this. Hey, we can’t ever know all the ‘what ifs’. That’s what faith is for, eh?! There is wisdom in one step at a time. Though if I look at all the great free agent success stories, at some point they all took a fairly radical step.

    • http://www.freeagentacademy.com Kevin Miller

      ‘Easy Street’, great analogy. Battling that is why I wrote this. Hey, we can’t ever know all the ‘what ifs’. That’s what faith is for, eh?! There is wisdom in one step at a time. Though if I look at all the great free agent success stories, at some point they all took a fairly radical step.

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    After listening to the podcast and quickly reading through this blog I wonder what people think of when they hear “dream job.” Do they think they will just be able to do their art (write, sell, draw, play music, create, labor, travel…) and do nothing else. That aside, it is looking at self. I am looking at what I care about and narrowing down what to really focus on and what will be hobbies/things to support on the the side.
    Thank you for the show/blog Kevin.

    K, bye

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    After listening to the podcast and quickly reading through this blog I wonder what people think of when they hear “dream job.” Do they think they will just be able to do their art (write, sell, draw, play music, create, labor, travel…) and do nothing else. That aside, it is looking at self. I am looking at what I care about and narrowing down what to really focus on and what will be hobbies/things to support on the the side.
    Thank you for the show/blog Kevin.

    K, bye

  • http://www.tonywheeler.net Tony Wheeler

    Kevin,

    Great ost as usual, bro.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here…So often you hear folks talking about the dream job. Heck, I have wondered about and labored over this very thing for a number of years. Often the questions we ask surrounding finding said dream job are things like “what would you do if money were no object?” and “what would you do for free?” While those may be worthwhile, I don’t think they really get to the heart of our passions. They do help in guiding the process, but seem to fall short and into your “mere dream job” category.

    I’ve faced this very issue for years, but circumstances in life and just plain old laziness have kept me from pursuing the things that I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about God’s Chuch…I love it. I’ve often taken that to mean I need to be working in it. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to craft my on position within a ministry. While it is tailored to me, it isn’t neccessarily my ‘dream job’, but it does touch on many of my passions. Deep within me, though, I know there i more. I know that I’m really passionate about helping others through the process that I have gone through…maybe even having them not have to struggle as much as I did. I’m formulating a plan for this path…I’ll need some help along the way to craft the idea, but I know that I must do this…I can’t settle for a mere dream job, the message and mission are much greater than that.

    Missed this..Thanks for staying true to your message.

    Praying for the canyon, brother!

  • http://www.tonywheeler.net Tony Wheeler

    Kevin,

    Great ost as usual, bro.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here…So often you hear folks talking about the dream job. Heck, I have wondered about and labored over this very thing for a number of years. Often the questions we ask surrounding finding said dream job are things like “what would you do if money were no object?” and “what would you do for free?” While those may be worthwhile, I don’t think they really get to the heart of our passions. They do help in guiding the process, but seem to fall short and into your “mere dream job” category.

    I’ve faced this very issue for years, but circumstances in life and just plain old laziness have kept me from pursuing the things that I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about God’s Chuch…I love it. I’ve often taken that to mean I need to be working in it. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to craft my on position within a ministry. While it is tailored to me, it isn’t neccessarily my ‘dream job’, but it does touch on many of my passions. Deep within me, though, I know there i more. I know that I’m really passionate about helping others through the process that I have gone through…maybe even having them not have to struggle as much as I did. I’m formulating a plan for this path…I’ll need some help along the way to craft the idea, but I know that I must do this…I can’t settle for a mere dream job, the message and mission are much greater than that.

    Missed this..Thanks for staying true to your message.

    Praying for the canyon, brother!