Why you don't have your dream job

Steve Redgrave

There's a four in five chance that you're not doing the job you dreamed of. A new survey has revealed that the vast majority of us are dragging ourselves out of bed and into work, to do something we never dreamed of when we were kids.

So what are the jobs of our dreams, and is it too late to change?
The New Year is typically the point at which we all wonder where it all went so wrong. It's hardly surprising because just a fifth of people in the UK are doing the job they dreamed of as a child.

LinkedIn, the professional network, has identified the top jobs we dreamed of as children.

Men's top five

1. Aeroplane Pilot
2. Engineer
3. Scientist
4. Police Officer
5. Olympic Athlete

Women's top five:

1. Doctor/Nurse
2. Teacher
3. Writer
4. Singer
5. Actor

The survey also showed that 21% of UK LinkedIn members have achieved their childhood ambition or work in a career related to their perfect job. However, the rest of the population is less lucky. Around a third still dream about the job they wanted as a child.


Clearly we're not all going to be athletes, and only a rare few cut the mustard as pilots or writers. However, there are a fair few of these roles which are perfectly achievable after a few years of training.

Our ambitions change, and there may well be those who look up to the main forms of authority in childhood, such as teachers or police officers, who wouldn't necessarily want the day-to-day challenges of those jobs.

However, the same survey showed that we're falling short of more mature ambitions too. Some 5% say the most important feature of their dream job would be 'taking pleasure in their work', followed by 'helping others' (9%) and having 'a flexible work schedule' (5%). These don't seem like too much to ask.

"It's never too late to land your ideal job," says Darain Faraz, LinkedIn spokesperson.
He has a point - unless your dream job was to be a gymnast, in which case there's a good chance you're past your prime.

Get the job of your dreams

If your unhappy in your job, the experts say there is a five step process to getting out of the rut.

1. Decide what you want from a job. You need to take everything into consideration, from the working pattern, to the job itself and the financial rewards. From here you can identify the job roles that would most suit you.

2. Work out what is standing in your way. In many cases it may be qualifications or experience. Neither is impossible to overcome, but you need to know what you need to do in order to get into a position where your new job is attainable.

3. Take the first step. If you need to do a fair bit of studying, or rack up unpaid experience, then it can be daunting. However, if you take the first step you'll find the second comes more naturally and you'll soon be closer to your ambitions.

4. Prepare your CV. Not only do you need the skills and experience, you need to demonstrate that you have them, so take your time with your CV and any applications, as this is your opportunity to reveal the best of yourself.

5. Network. Often dream jobs are not offered on a platter - you have to work for them. Start with the people you know, and ask to be introduced to the people they know. This can happen in the real world or through a tool like LinkedIn. Faraz says is offers: "access to a world of potential contacts, business partners, investors, employers and employees - it's much easier than ever to find the job to fulfill your dreams".

But what do you think? Do you have the job of your childhood dreams? Do you have a job you love? Or is it a silly pipe dream? Let us know in the comments.
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