The Disorientation Of The Ideal Job

Steve_Color_smYou have that dream job that will merge your fandom into your career by being a translator for a major anime company.  You have a career dream that takes your geekery to new heights – that job you hope to get as a game programer.  You have dreams.

Yet, something is wrong.  You see that ultimate job coming, hope for that job, or got that job.  Yet you wonder . . . is this right?

Trust me, it happens.

It's scary.  Suddenly your hobbies are your job, your job is your hobbies, news you discussed casually with friends takes on new meaning, and a release schedule you formerly cursed is now in your hands.  It's disturbing, disrupting, and you have to ask this . . .

Are you afraid of the changes that come with your ideal, geeky job?

In my experience, this is pretty normal – having been through it several times myself.  When you're suddenly in that ideal job, in that ideal industry, you have a huge shift in perspective:

  • First, all your work up to this point is done – and now you have to make things work.  You got that ideal career making special effects – now what?
  • Second, you see things differently.  I'll bet that no matter how much research you do, getting that job that's what you want will still introduce you to factors you never expected, and those can be disturbing.  I recall in my geektastic IT career how disturbed I was to find the old language Cobol still in use, and in my career in video games how I was surprised by management organizations different from typical software development.
  • Third, you are suddenly working at what you love – and often experiencing all the stress of any other job.  There's a bit of disillusionment when your ideal job still means a late night, only now you're trying to talk to people in Korea about the shipping dates of a film, and you have only one translator.
  • Fourth, you have to do things you didn't necessarily think of simply as you had no experience in your ideal industry.  That film you were working on requires a two-hour meeting to discuss a disturbing nude scene.  Your work as an art teacher means questions about technology you weren't prepared for.  It happens.

Let me put this simply – it's normal.  You will find that, when you get your ideal job and career (and you're reading this blog so I'm bloody well going to push you in that direction), that you just get different perspectives once you have that job.  It's normal.

I can't say don't let it get to you – it's flippant and insensitive.  I can say that it's normal, and that you might as well buckle down and expect it.  Your dream job will come with a shocking change of perspective and a bit of disillusionment, confusion, and just plain odd uncomfortableness.

Be ready for it and keep your eyes on what's important.  It'll happen.

And I assure you having been there, it passes once you adjust.

– Steven Savage