So you’re a young adult. You’ve finished high school, possibly graduated from college, and now you look at the world before you: a vast array of opportunities, choices and possibilities. But they’re all hidden behind the daunting prospect of actually getting a job.
Yes, you’ve been told to follow your heart and pursue your dreams. Yet dreams don’t fill your belly, and they’re not that useful when it comes to paying rent.
Dozens if not hundreds of books have been written on getting a job, many of them teaching you how to “pursue your dream” (or in Christian jargon: “your calling”) and giving you tricks on how to get paid to do so. Yet the sad truth is that for many people, it’s not that easy. Even so, I believe that as Christians, we shouldn’t let the obstacles we see keep us from our callings. So here are some of my thoughts on getting your dream job.
1. Be open to taking a pay cut.
Working in a church, I’ve met many people who had a burning desire to make a difference in this world in “X” way and gladly made the sacrifice of lesser pay, smaller benefits and a less comfortable lifestyle for the sake of their dreams.
One of my best friends is a social entrepreneur with a master’s in engineering from an Ivy League college, leadership skills well beyond his years, and a dedication to his work that’s surpassed only by his love for Christ and commitment to family. Though he could work in any Fortune 500 company, for him and others, it is worth taking the risks and cuts associated with working for a start up for the opportunity to create a sustainable enterprise that focuses on helping the less fortunate.
Sometimes to pursue your dreams, it takes a bit of sacrifice, and the payoff could be completely worth it.
2. Be a tent maker.
Sometimes your passions don’t always translate to a full-time job, or perhaps your life circumstances dictate that you need a certain income level, say if you’re supporting a family or have student debt. Tent-making might then be an option for you. Work a job to pay your bills, but purposefully channel your time and energy toward your calling.
One of the leaders in our church’s youth ministry works full time in the corporate world, while also studying a master’s program full time. Yet he views his ministry among our youth as his primary “work.” In addition to leading a small group on Friday nights, he meets with his boys on a weekly basis, runs an 8:30 a.m. Bible study every Sunday, and takes time to visit them at their concerts, games and events.
3. Get really good at your skill.
For many people, when it comes to pursuing a dream job, their goal is to get paid big money for doing the thing they love to do. Sports stars, music artists, pro gamers — we look at them and think, Wow, I wish I could do that!
Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that getting paid well for what you love to do is possible. The bad news is that it takes a lot of work.
One of my former flatmates was interested in visual effects and making short films (back in the days before YouTube). He messed around with an old Mac G4 making funny announcement videos for his youth group and then eventually for his church.
After nine years in this career field, he had worked with some of the biggest corporate names in the world, including Disney, EMI and Adidas. He had never gone to university and had no formal training. To achieve that, he routinely spent 16 hours a day working on videos and often worked 15 days straight to get projects completed. To learn new techniques, he studied YouTube videos and online tutorials and then practiced for months on test projects.
Without a doubt, he loved making videos, and he still does. Yet his amazing skills (and he is very good) didn’t come naturally. With years of practice, focus and dedication, he’s honed them just like any athlete or professional.
If you want to do your dream job and get paid for it, then my advice is start learning, practicing, seeking mentors and training. Once you get really good, I can almost guarantee that someone will pay you to do it.
What is your dream job?