How to be sure your dream job isn’t a nightmare


p 1 how to make sure your dream job isnt really a nightmare in disguise

By Lisa Cohen and Sandra E. Spataro—The Dialog 4 minute Learn

What occurs whenever you land your dream job but it surely seems to be something however?

Pals, profession consultants and the media inundate us with a fixed barrage of recommendation telling us to observe our goals, discover our bliss or pursue our passions in our skilled lives. But this type of recommendation is not always easily followed.


Even when it’s heeded, the recommendation can come with downsides, particularly when it seems that these aforementioned passions contain jobs with routine, day-to-day duties that persons are lower than captivated with. In brief, work is usually onerous work.

Folks land jobs in information science and synthetic intelligence, for instance, anticipating to create sensible algorithms that may remedy large issues. However they usually find yourself performing menial information assortment and cleansing duties. The joy of working for a startup loses its lustre with tough and boring work usually outdoors an worker’s major areas of curiosity.

And never everybody promoted to the lauded ranks of management is thrilled to be there performing administration duties, and even see the job as a step up.

Folks romanticize working within the media, trend, movie, fantastic and performing arts, and different cultural industries, however the work usually finally ends up being extra drudgery than glamour. Any job, particularly an entry-level place, has parts of drudgery.

‘Shiny work’ is lackluster

This hole between expectations and the day-to-day actuality of jobs is a phenomenon we’ve labelled as “shiny work” in a recently published study.


For the examine, we interviewed journal fact-checkers who labored for high-status organizations in a glamorous trade whereas performing menial duties day by day. They skilled a sort of dissonance between their work and its setting.

As one fact-checker described it:

“Since you’re affiliated with the journal, individuals assume you’re a unusual sort of royalty regardless of the way you’re affiliated.”

We examined how this phenomenon impacts them.

For workers, the shiny work dissonance can spur makes an attempt to change the precise job, frustration and a fast exit from the place. Shiny work additionally creates a dilemma about how to current the work and themselves to the world. How do they stability their simultaneous wants for self-enhancement and to be totally understood and genuine?

Glossing over mundane work

We discover they accomplish that by differentiating their descriptions of their jobs throughout totally different audiences. When speaking to full outsiders—individuals at social gatherings, for instance—they give attention to the extra glamorous features: working in journalism and for shiny magazines.

For the high-status writers they collaborate with, they give attention to their very own experience and different standing markers. And to insiders, they current a extra full view of their work.

Presenting themselves in a different way relying on who they’re speaking to can imply that anybody who will not be a true insider on the firm finally ends up with a partial or biased view of the work. The total nature of the work is usually glossed over, and that’s a downside for these contemplating taking one in all these jobs.

Once they solely hear concerning the gloss, potential staff find yourself with false expectations that have a tendency to gas the cycle of disappointment.

Potential staff can get round this by doing extra cautious analysis on the true nature of the roles they’re contemplating taking. They need to ask questions concerning the place’s day-to-day necessities and seek the advice of a vary of people that presently have the job or who’ve beforehand held it.

What employers can do

“Shiny work” additionally comes at a price to employers as they fight to handle employee frustration and employees turnover. They will cease this vicious cycle by offering practical job previews. This doesn’t imply they need to solely present the unfavourable aspect of labor, however they need to present an trustworthy stability of the glamorous and fewer glamorous features of the job.

Employers may additionally need to contemplate other ways of assembling tasks in order that the much less nice duties are unfold throughout staff and jobs.


Finally, nonetheless, performing many mundane duties stays a actuality in all jobs regardless of the promise that AI will eradicate an increasing number of rote chores. They might additionally need to be open to worker efforts to craft and tweak their jobs and create new alternatives inside their organizations.

What’s extra, hiring managers ought to train warning when itemizing “ardour” as a job requirement. In an evaluation of greater than 200 interviews for a project on startup hiring, ardour was a frequent topic of dialogue. Hiring managers appeared for it. Potential staff wished to stay their ardour.

But not one of the hiring managers who had been on the lookout for ardour of their potential staff might describe how they’d assess ardour in candidates, or why it was vital for the particular job being stuffed. The danger right here is that they rent people who find themselves passionate after which present work that both doesn’t match or douses that zeal, creating a problematic state of affairs for each worker and employer.

Lisa Cohen is an affiliate professor of Enterprise Administration at McGill University and Sandra E. Spataro, is a professor at Northern Kentucky University.