Although I love being a freelance writer, it’s not often that I feel like others covet my job, with all of its unpredictability and unsteady paychecks. So I was a little surprised by the results of LinkedIn’s recent survey of 8,000 professionals about their dream jobs.
The top five “dream jobs” for women were teacher (cited by 11.4%); veterinarian (9%); writer, journalist or novelist (8.1%); doctor, nurse or emergency medical technician (7.1%) and singer (7.1%). (Interestingly, both writing and singing are often freelance careers).
Men seemed to take the word “dream” more literally. Their top five jobs: professional or Olympic athlete (8.2%), airplane or helicopter pilot (6.8%), scientist (6.8%), lawyer (5.9%) and astronaut (5%).
What exactly is a dream job? More than 70% said “taking pleasure in your work” is a key indicator. Interestingly, money wasn’t a big pull for most of the professionals surveyed. A little over 6% of respondents said a high salary was essential to a dream job.
Many of us have followed others’ advice to be practical and wake up one day to realize we’re unsatisfied or even miserable at work. If you’re looking for a change, Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert, offered some guidance in a quote in LinkedIn’s press release: “The dream jobs we aspire to as children are windows into our passions and talents.”
Only 30.3% of respondents in the survey said they currently work in their childhood dream job or a related career. Among the others, 43.5% discovered another route they wanted to pursue later in life.
Maybe the folks who opted for a different path discovered new disciplines they didn’t know existed as children–but I wonder. We all know many people who earned a degree in something their parents thought was important–and, years or decades later, have lost themselves in high-paying careers that don’t allow them to be who they really are.
Life doesn’t have to be that way. At the $200KFreelancer, we’ve tried to offer the best ideas we can find on creating a career where you get to define your priorities without neglecting your financial responsibilities. It’s not always easy to balance the two–but it’s a goal worth pursuing.