The Sure Shot Way to Your Dream Job

January 21, 2015
The Sure Shot Way to Your Dream Job

I will take you from point A to point F today. Point A being toiling away at an uninspiring job and part F being working for a cause that is meaningful to you and those around you; aka your dream job. Even though it sounds like a privilege that only a few have and the masses long for, this book,
So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport lays out a four step method (points B through E) that will enable you, the reader to attain this illusive milestone. There have been many an idea thrown about on how to achieve this feat; they have been tried, tested, evaluated and replaced by newer ones. But people’s quest for the path to the perfect job still goes on. Which is understandable because for the average worker, the majority of life (x years out of y) is spent toiling away at one’s place of work.
This book, challenges the most popular hypothesis on how to get your dream job; the so called ‘passion hypothesis’. Do what you love and success will follow. There are critical flaws in that statement that followers have discovered to their detriment. So instead, this book lays out its own steps for career satisfaction which in my opinion is a lot more realistic and workable. It does so by laying out a 4 step ladder towards this lofty goal. Without further ado, I hereby present them to you.
1. Disbelieve the Passion Hypothesis: This method assumes two facts that are not applicable for the majority. First that everyone has a ‘passion’ they know about and second that ‘following’ that passion will inevitably lead them to have a successful career. In keeping with these flaws, this theory is relegated to the realms of mere ideas.
2. Build Career Capital Instead: This is the key argument of the book. Instead of blindly trying to find and follow your passion, do something proactive. Namely, try to get good at the job you are doing by deliberate practice. Whether it be learning the intricacies of your current job, using the tools better or just learning a new trick in Excel. Work with the goal of getting incrementally better at the work you do; what Newport calls ‘career capital’.
This is not easy; you will have to stay back at work, face the frustration of failure and want to quit and fall back into mediocrity. But if you stick to it and actively learn new skills and develop old ones by using tools such as online tutorials, courses, guides then you will have gained valuable credentials that will take you forward. This logically leads to the next two steps in the ladder.
job3. Gain Control of your Career: When you develop career capital, and get ‘so good at what you do’ that others start approaching you for various issues, you can assert more control on your work methods and ultimately, your work load; when you choose to work and where. The implications of this are deeper than it appears. This flexibility will give you the scope to work on projects that interest you, work that energizes you and kicks you out of bed every morning. This flexibility is afforded to you because of the work that you put in, getting good enough at the job at hand that you were able to branch out your work parameters beyond your call of duty.
4. Have a Mission: When branching out the scope of your work, you will find that you are able to apply concepts from different areas of learning to solve problems in effective and creative ways. You may be able to solve a problem in your marketing department by applying skills that you learned while implementing the firm’s new product strategy. This will be further enhanced when you broaden your horizons by exploring completely different areas of learning and challenge yourself to do more. Because after all, innovation is nothing but an amalgamation of existing ideas. And it is this innovation that is going to give you a mission in life that you never thought possible.
These steps can be illustrated by way of an example; when Daphne Koller founded Coursera, she did it by applying skills she had gained from working as a computational pathologist while at Stanford; she got good at what she did, broadened her horizons and found her mission to ‘take education to everyone in the world’. She in turn found her calling; and made way for other people to pave their dreams through it.
So, if you manage to follow these steps properly, not only will you end up doing something you love, you will end up giving people their dream jobs as well.
Now how’s that for a journey?


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