How long do you wait for the perfect dream job to come along?

How long do you wait for the perfect dream job to come along?

I’ve found a new hobby.  And nerdy as it sounds, that hobby is writing cover letters. 

Job hunting is so much easier when you have a passion for an industry. Helping T do cover letters is super enjoyable because it’s a breeze to communicate that – and those letters are getting responses, because that passion shines through and stands out.

Still, time has flown; it’s been about a month already with no solid leads. Obviously it’d be great if he could score a dream job doing what he was doing, now that he’s had a taste of it … but with limited experience, that’s a long shot.

How long, then, do you hold out for the ideal job? Money is money and at some point bringing in an income becomes top priority. (You can always keep looking, and they do say a lot of employers prefer to hire people who already have jobs…) And I think we’re shifting into that mode now.

One option would be to keep going down the sales path – there’s never any shortage of sales jobs out there, many of which are happy to train people up. If you can sell, you’ve got a pretty versatile skill that’ll never go out of demand, and your earning potential is massive. But he rocked car sales because he loves cars, and it’s doubtful that he’ll find the same level of a) enjoyment and therefore b) success selling insurance or water coolers or whatever.

The other obvious path is to look for something else in the auto industry. Now that T’s found an area he really likes, it’s a no-brainer. Even if it doesn’t pay a ton, as long as it pays enough, is steady, not too physically taxing, and doesn’t trigger Sunday night blues – that’s pretty good in my books. We’ve been doing this to some extent but it’s probably time to really ramp that up and expand the search.

This is where I think I need to play cheerleader a little. Sometimes he’s a bit narrow-minded about his skillset and will write off postings because he doesn’t fit all the criteria; I find myself having to persuade him that his experience applies just fine to roles that don’t bear the exact same title or description, and that there’s nothing to lose by applying for jobs that are a little bit of a stretch if you don’t tick every single box. (This is no time to fall prey to impostor syndrome…)

There’s something really exciting about all the potential, all the opportunity that comes with the job hunt – imagining yourself doing various jobs that sound particularly awesome and what your future might look like. But conversely, it’s also a bit depressing seeing how mundane and poorly paid many jobs out there are – it makes me feel really privileged to be able to do work I enjoy that I am decently compensated for.

How long would you keep hunting for the dream job? On a scale of 1-10, how perfect is your job?

20 thoughts on “How long do you wait for the perfect dream job to come along?

  • Reply Liz March 24, 2014 at 08:47

    I don’t know if I have the “dream” job but there are aspects of it that I do really appreciate like the stability, hours, and pay. My dream job would be full-time blogging!

  • Reply Melanie@Dear Debt March 24, 2014 at 09:04

    My job is about an 8 in regards to dream job. Not exactly in my field, but something I’m super interested. I didn’t have any of the technical requirements when I applied for the job — I was at my worst. At the moment I stopped caring, I thought, why not, the worst that’ll happen is I get rejected again. And I got the job because of all my other skills and they were willing to help me learn the tech stuff! Now I have a ton of marketable skills that I didn’t need to go to school for. I’d say be open to possibilities — a dream job could come in a different form than you think. I also take whatever job will pay the bills and still try to look for a dream job. Also, you should turn writing cover letters into a side hustle!

    • Reply eemusings March 24, 2014 at 11:06

      This occurred to me! I am thinking about how that could work – imagine I would have to Skype with people to get to know them, or get them to send me rough material/drafts that I spin into gold.

  • Reply Kelly Dennett March 24, 2014 at 11:04

    When I was looking for my first journalism job after arriving in the country from six months travel I was pretty impatient. I told myself I absolutely wouldn’t apply for any roles other than journalism because I’ve been caught in the hospitality trap before (getting a hospo job and then never leaving). After about four weeks however I got really bored and sick of being broke even though I was living with mum at the time and didn’t need to worry about money as such. I ended up working at a restaurant for four weeks and during that time I got offered my dream job (at the time).

  • Reply saverspender March 24, 2014 at 12:37

    1. Just apply. Those CV postings are for a dream candidate.

    He may come the closest to being their dream candidate but will never find out if he doesn’t apply. It doesn’t hurt to try.. what’s the worst? That they say “No” or don’t contact you? At least you tried instead of psyching yourself out beforehand.

    Besides, all that matters is that you are confident that you CAN do the job and learn quickly, not necessarily that you have already done it a billion times before.

    2. How long CAN you hold out? That’s the question. Did you have a plan in place of when to pull the plug? Mine would have been 6 mos – 1 year before taking on a job, any job to get by.

  • Reply Sense March 24, 2014 at 13:05

    I think it is a really good idea to look at your budget and set a deadline for how long you guys are willing to wait before T absolutely has to find a job, any job, even it is at BK or whatever. It’s awesome that T has you as a cheerleader and cover letter writer! Sounds like he likes to get his hands dirty with real life experiences rather than schooling pursuits–maybe he would be a perfect person to start near the bottom of an industry (auto?) and get groomed to work his way up to managing the whole shebang?

    I WAS going to say that I waited for about 3 – 4 years for the dream job to come up in the area I wanted to be in, geographically. But now I’ve given up that dream and accepted that I need to work on my skills before it can happen. Luckily, I’ve had a job that ranged from 8 to 10 in terms of perfection in the meantime (it is just in the wrong part of the world!!). I’m a lucky girl.

  • Reply eemusings March 24, 2014 at 14:01

    No strict/formal timeframe – my personal tipping point would probably be 2-3 months (as you might have guessed by the existence of this post, my patience is starting to wear a little now, even though a month is not long in a job hunt!) I am not sure if he would put a specific timeframe to it either, aside from ASAP (but probably similar to mine). He likes money too much.

  • Reply Deia @ Nomad Wallet March 24, 2014 at 14:14

    I also write cover letters and resumes for my husband. Doing it as a side hustle has occurred to me, too. 🙂

  • Reply Funny about Money March 24, 2014 at 16:02

    Well…I’ve had two dream jobs in my lifetime. One came my way by serendipity. The other came into being while I was searching forlornly for some way to escape teaching — incredible luck, awesome job.

    And I’ve had my share of jobs from H*ll. Once a financial advisor remarked to me, after I had asked her if she thought I could get away with quitting and living on my savings, that “a sh!tty job is better than no job.” She was right.

    And since it’s usually easier to get a job when you have a job, it might be just as well to take whatever comes along (assuming it’s not picking up trash in the park) but quietly keep on looking for what you really want.

  • Reply Michelle March 24, 2014 at 17:26

    My job has never been my “dream job” it was the job that I took and made it work. For a very long time it turned out to be a wonderful situation. I HAVE worked it too long at this point and am impatient for my next adventure. Sometimes you have to take a situation that is less than ideal and make it work. I’m glad that I made the pragmatic choice.

  • Reply Jef March 24, 2014 at 23:45

    I’d give it 3 months, then I would probably be driven crazy and would have to get back out there in the work force..

    I was out of work for 2 months last year and although my blog was created as a result and it was great to have a break, earning and learning in a corporate environment is also fun

  • Reply Stephany March 25, 2014 at 03:10

    If I was out of work, my first priority would finding something, anything, because a) I don’t have savings to fall back on and b) unemployment checks would barely cover my bills so for me, it wouldn’t be the time to find my dream job but to find ANY job. I guess that’s why my last job search took me over a year because I was still working (even if the job sucked) so I could be more particular about where I applied to, making sure I was finding a position that paid a lot more and where I could do work I enjoyed.

    I would say I’m a 7 on a scale of 10, in terms of job satisfaction. It’s not my dream job, but it’s a very good job (and I came to it from a job that would easily rank a 3 on the scale!) and it’s the stepping point to being able to someday work for myself.

  • Reply Morgaine March 25, 2014 at 04:47

    I would wait until my employment insurance (usually 1 year) runs out before taking a job that I felt that was beneath me or I wouldn’t enjoy. I would probably try to get a side hustle or part-time job going after a few months if the job hunt isn’t going well because the insurance only covers a percentage of the income and I would try to hold on to my EF as long as possible but I still need to contribute to the household expenses.

    I would give my current job an 8. I don’t dread coming into work, I like most of what I do and my co-workers, but there are certain policies here that take away from it being a 9-10.

  • Reply Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life March 25, 2014 at 14:37

    I ask myself this all the time. I’ve had so many “dream jobs” already as a professional actress, but there’s something about saying I did a “broadway” show that would allow me to walk away happy.

  • Reply No Nonsense Landlord March 25, 2014 at 15:01

    My job is pretty good, a 9 or 10, but a job is only as good as the people that you work for. Working with a bunch of people that you do not want to be around is lame.

  • Reply Suburban Finance March 26, 2014 at 01:48

    My current dream job is to be able to blog full time! Nevertheless, I think it would take some time if you ‘wait’ for your dream job. Try out new opportunities, even though you never considered it before, who knows that it’s actually something you enjoy doing? 🙂

  • Reply Sally March 26, 2014 at 19:23

    I feel like I never had the luxury of waiting for a dream job or even an ideal job, until this position. They came to me, and I was very interested in the position. I was working in a fine enough position so I wasn’t dying to leave. It worked out for the best, but for every other position I feel like I’ve always been in desperation mode- it’s this job or bust! In the future, I would give myself at least 6 months of time to look and would be working during that time. But those 6 months would be serious, talking to head hunters, digging for leads, doing whatever I knew best to get the job I wanted. It ain’t easy though and it gets discouraging quickly! I have a friend who’s in a top marketing position for a very good public company, but she’s become bored after over 5 years there. She’s interviewed here and there but has not gotten firm offers. She feels stuck (always a bridesmaid, never a bride is how she put it) and I get it. It’s also tough on your current position when you’re looking for your escape route, so the ideal way would be keeping your job search fresh and full of hope, which it seems like you and T might have, at least for now 🙂

  • Reply Ryan @ Impersonal Finance March 27, 2014 at 05:13

    While I think a true dream job is not a reality for most people, I think they should never stop looking if they aren’t doing what they want. I would prefer to work while searching, but if I was really determined, I think 6 months would be around my maximum before I started to expand my search.

  • Reply The Career Circle #1 | My Career Crusader March 30, 2014 at 09:22

    […] How long do you wait for your dream job – By NZ Muse. This is a post looking about at what stage you stop looking for that “perfect job”. The article explores the balance between waiting and why you can wait. The NZ Muse is a well established personal finance blogger too, check her out […]

  • Reply Emily @ Urban Departures April 4, 2014 at 05:50

    Post university I really wanted the position I currently hold. It took 8 months to get it. I waitressed to get by while unemployed. When my husband was laid off in 2008, our max waiting period was about a year, which was when unemployment insurance would have run out. He ended up taking a job he was over qualified for, outside his field of interest, and a huge pay reduction from his previous job at the six months mark to ease the finances. Another six months later, he found he actually wanted.

    What is your max waiting period? When do finances get tight with the reduced income? That’s how long I would wait.

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