The Old Career Model Is Dead

Page 1 of my soon to be published book.

There’s a problem in how we approach our careers. Nobody is talking about it.

Here’s what happens. We’re told as children that if we do what we love that we’ll never work a day in our lives. That makes sense to us, so we try to find that one thing we love. We then get a degree or start working towards that singular what. We call that what “the dream job.” We define this dream as a teenager, and immediately invest money and time in getting a degree or work experience based on our adolescent conclusion. We finish our education or training and (hopefully) get our dream job – the thing we worked so long for and invested so much in. Inevitably, it starts to suck. Why?

Because our teenage self wasn’t right about how we should be spending 1/3rd of our life.

Because we changed and have different skills, interests, or family needs.

Because the job market changed during this long and expensive journey.

Because innovation happened and we now are making less money or are at risk of being made redundant.

Or all of these things and more. 

So, we look to make a change by repeating the exact same process and by using the exact same model. We get a new dream job that “we love.” Soon after… repeat.

This is the career model everyone follows and has been following for decades. It was developed by our grandparents’ generation, when the job market was more stable, offered a generous pension, and where almost anyone could walk into a company, get a job, and work there for decades. The world, economy, rates of innovation, and job market has changed. Shouldn’t we?

Yet, decade after decade reports extreme levels of work dissatisfaction. The proof is in the polls, and they are consistent in many countries. Because of the polls, studies are done on ways to improve work. These studies advocate for things like better workplace conditions, more benefits, greater flexibility, and developing empathetic managers. More investment leads to more studies of the effect of these investments. These studies generate more polls.

Those polls keep saying the same thing: Most everyone still hates their work. We keep telling people to get their dream job. We keep investing money in band aid fixes to work dissatisfaction. We keep getting the same results.

Why? Because nobody can offer you a better job than the one YOU can create for yourself. Your dream job doesn’t exist, yet. You have to create it. It may even be with your current employer! Once you realize this, your career will transform into one beyond your wildest dreams. But it’s not a one time fix. Because over time, you change, the economy changes, everything changes! You need the tools to create your dream job today and continually create and recreate it for many years. 

This book is a solution to the problem and a guide to maximizing your career satisfaction. A new work philosophy based upon practical strategies and timeless wisdom. If you’re reading this, I’m speaking directly to you, not a spreadsheet or a group of researchers.

So, ask yourself these two questions.

“Am I happy with my work?”

“Do I expect my job, employer, the global economy, technology, innovation, personal interests, or family needs to never change?”

Few say yes to the first question. Nobody says yes to both.

Your work isn’t simply your job description, title, or industry. It’s when you wake up, what you wear, and your first 30 minutes in the office. It’s what your office is or is not, the five people you are physically closest to, and whether you can get up and walk or have to sit all day. It’s whether you fear for your job due to changing laws or innovation each day. It’s how it works with your family and all the people and events that matter most. It’s the person you are when you come home.

The old model says nothing about this, and only asks you to do what you love. One question, one answer, one time, and hopes you get it right and that nothing changes. This is a bad priority, and thinking you even know what that is and that nothing will change is a bad assumption. Eventually, you’ll hate your job or it will disappear or won’t challenge you anymore or a million other things! Following your dream job usually leads to being stuck in a miserable career, and with it, you sacrifice your health, family, and identity. So, let’s change the model we’re following.