How Holding Out For Dream Jobs Can Harm Your Career

How Holding Out For Dream Jobs Can Harm Your Career

Some people will suggest that being unemployed gives you the perfect opportunity to find your dream job. Career writer Penelope Trunk suggests that’s pretty bad advice — taking any reasonable job and working your way into better luck is the smarter move.

Trunk suggests that the structure imposed by having daily work responsibilities and the constrained time it puts on your Next-Bigger-Better Job hunt trumps the likely small chance of landing a great gig while starting from scratch. Plus, she writes, you’re more likely to find a great opportunity or way out at a job than you are at home:

You know the saying that lucky people create their own luck? For the unemployed, that means taking almost any job. People get lucky at work – someone mentors them, a big project lands in your lap, you catch a huge error and save a lot of money. But no one gets lucky in a job without actually being in a job. Also, Iyengar points out the inherent struggle of deciding between jobs: There are many factors that are simply unknown.

Trunk often takes a contrarian view to typical career advice, but she also hits on a larger truth near the end of her column: Your job isn’t what defines you as a person, so torturing yourself for a “dream job” isn’t necessary. If you can’t help but disagree, we welcome your own take in the comments.

Why Hunting for a Great Job Will Hurt Your Career [BNET]


  • I agree with the idea that it is better to have a less than ideal job and work your way up as it provides structure to the day and a certain amount of motivation to keep looking. From personal experience I find i meet more people and gain more opportunities to start steering myself in the right direction.

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