Recently I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by a talented visionary by the name of Cathy Paper as a part of a fabulous workshop she’s created called “The Dream Job Lab“.  In a nutshell, it shows people how to identify their goals, skills, and passion to find their dream job.

Cathy is one of those people who continuously gives her time, energy, and expertise to those in need as a way to help them find the best within themselves.  During the economic downturn she has put on “The Dream Job Lab” on a few occasions knowing that she would be taking a loss in the process and never once complained as long as it helped others in need.  Her intention is to see that we all set goals, strive to be better than we were the day before, and most importantly to find our inner passion and run to wherever it takes us.

When I began networking with Cathy about 15 months ago, she gave me some great advice.  She told me that if I didn’t like the career path I was on I should examine why and set some goals to change things.  I was fortunate that I had experienced a “Dream Job” years before and remembered what it took to get it.  In order to do it again, I needed to dig down and figure out what my “Dream Job” looked like and how I could network my way into position to get it.

Oddly enough, when I got laid off about 16 months ago I lost a bit of my focus because I went from employed and frustrated, to unemployed and a bit freaked out.  Cathy reminded me that a plan filled with goals and passion will cure any anxiety one experiences in this type of situation.

The biggest challenge is our inability to sustain that fiery passion and to hold accountable the person staring at us in the mirror.

Something to keep in mind while searching for your “Dream Job” is that sometimes you have to take a detour in the process to reach your short term goals, while still striving for the bigger goal.

For example, while I was contemplating my “Dream Job” last year and unemployed, I ended up taking a job that was in line with what I’d been doing for the past 11 years in order to re-enter the ranks of the employed in an area I thoroughly enjoy. I knew I would have a positive impact on the company, contribute to my family financially, and  continue to grow toward my ultimate goal.

Remember, if you truly want to find the holy grail of careers, you will most likely have to do so outside of the hours you are working for your current company or job search.  We’ve all had the feeling of fatigue after a long day or interest in doing something else with our free time, but this is the price for having what you want in life.

I have a few simple recommendations in mind.

  1. Find someone you know who is extremely happy with their job or career and pick their brain as to what it took to get there.
  2. The internet is full of bloggers, columnists, and information you can get on a daily or weekly basis to give you food for thought on how to understand what it takes to get to your ultimate goal.  Find those people who speak to you through their drive, determination, and insight and dig in.
  3. Don’t let money be your prime motivator. Don’t get me wrong, money is important, however if you do what you love, the money will come.

One of the other things that I’ve learned is that a great network and a regular networking regiment will create opportunities even when you least expect it.  I am in my “Dream Job” now and it blindsided me when I least expected it during lunch with someone in my network who was debating between 2 jobs.  She ended up taking one, and the one she stepped away from that I eventually got at Buffalo Wild Wings.

A former co-worker of Cathy Paper accepted my LinkedIn request to network in October of 2009 (and also bought a house from a friend of mine) and connected the dots for us to meet and start networking.

A lot of these steps took me outside my comfort zone, but ultimately landed me my “Dream Job” while expanding my network for future opportunities in other areas that I’m passionate about.

Are you willing to do what it takes to find your “Dream Job”?