How to Cope When You Realize Your Dream Job is Out of Reach

Benjamin Taylor
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We all have dreams that we all want to achieve.

When we were children, we all had something that we wanted to do when we were older.  Even as adults we all had that dream jobs that we’ve always wanted. You work hard to achieve that goal. You take on that extra job. You take on that extra hour even though it is after hours. You want to complete that special project that can push you towards the next step in you journey to find that dream job.

We all have dream jobs that we want to try out. But what if that dream job is out of reach?

It can be hard to lay down and give up, especially when it is something that you have worked on for most of your life. You put your heart and soul into it only to have someone shut the door, lock it and throw away the key. If you’re one of those people that believe that not reaching your dream job is a failure, here is how you can get through it.

Take Care of Yourself First

Losing a dream job is something that you can’t take lightly. It is like a punch in the gut. All the plans that you’ve made are now gone. It’s almost similar to losing someone close to you.  This can bring down your self-esteem and motivation in your career and other parts of your life.

Sometimes, if you don’t watch out, it can put you in a dangerous state of mind. It can even lead you down to a deep depression.  That’s why it is important to have some sort of support system around you.

Don’t isolate yourself.  Reach out to friends, family or a support group that can really be there for you. It always helps to talk to someone who has a similar experience as you do and can even give you advice on what to do next. 

Remember this: It’s Okay to Not Reach Your Dream Job…

Rethink Your Dreams and Goals

What if you made a mistake on your dream? What can you do now?

It is important to go back to the drawing board on yourself. Make a written blueprint of your personal traits and goals. To do that here’s what you can do:

Write down you working traits. Do you like to analyze data? Are you a creative person? Do you like to brainstorm? Are you good with your hands or do you like to problem solve? What are the things you are good at that nobody else does better? Look up new dream jobs that fit your personality and motivations.

Write down your top 3 dream jobs that you want to achieve. Pick the one that you like the most.  Underneath that, write down long-term goals that you can reach to make that happen for each job. A long-term goal can be to land one of those jobs within 3 years.

Underneath that, write down short-term or daily goals that you can work on. Daily goals can be a simple as searching for job openings. You take a look at your resume again and tailor it to that specific job. Start networking and connecting to people in those fields that you want to be a part of.  Find or talk to a mentor that can bring you closer to success

Talk to fellow or former coworkers that are willing to help you get on the right path to succeed. If there is another roadblock to your success, revise your blueprint again. Your blueprint is not set in stone but instead a guide to lead you to where you want to be. Don’t be afraid to change directions. There is always room for improving yourself and making new goals.

Treat This as a Learning Experience and Keep Going…

Again, don’t beat yourself up about a loss in your plans. Reflect on your recent experiences, because not everything was a waste. You will always pick up valuable moments in your career journey. Look back and see what you have learned along the way. 

Most people in their lives don’t reach a dream job. It’s normal. Maybe you will reach your dream job down the road or maybe you need to travel to change directions and dram up a new dream job. It’s probably a matter of when or where...who knows? The important thing is this: when you are knocked down, don’t stay down. Pick yourself up, because there is more for you to do. Your journey is not over yet…


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  • Rich M.
    Rich M.

    To the ladies who are having trouble find a job because of your age. I am 60 and a male dealing with the same problems you have. I am with on that, but still keep applying and am get a few results, not many, but a few. Nancy is right, I think things are slowly turning around for us seniors. You really can't beat experience. Thank you again, Nancy.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Ethel Wilkins thanks for your comment. It's tough to find jobs in a rural area! I know because I grew up in one! The sad truth is that companies just are not willing to offer relocation as they used to in the past. You might just have to search for a job in a different area and then bring up the option of relocation should it be a good fit. Even though they don't advertise it, a company could offer to pay a percentage of your moving costs as part of your hiring package. And you can always try to find a remote position where you can work from home and then maybe travel as needed if your job requires that. Hope this helps.

  • Ethel Wilkins
    Ethel Wilkins

    I have been looking for a job under my career but it seems so hard to find in the area I live. I live in a rural area and my commute is greater than I anticipate I don't have a problem moving to the area to work but it takes money to relocate what is the best advice.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Tracy H thanks for your comment. I don't know - I think the tides are starting to change on this age issue again. Companies are realizing the mistakes they made in letting their senior employees go in order to save a few bucks. Turns out that they aren't saving money in the long-run. Keep submitting your resume. Remember, all it takes is one employer to view your resume and call you in for an interview.:-)

  • Tracy H.
    Tracy H.

    Like some of the others mentioned, when you reach 50 many jobs will not hire you. They are looking for young fresh faces, experience doesn't matter much in your golden years.

  • Anita V.
    Anita V.

    Great information. Like her I'm in my early 50's due to medical issues and now I'm ready to get back to work. This information is very helpful.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Deborah M. thanks for your comment. So sorry for your circumstances. While you are job searching, take advantage of some of the assessment tools offered on the web. There are so many different sites that help you determine what your best career is. Take some of those and see what you come up with. If any of them are something that peaks your interest, maybe you should check them out. Sometimes what we think is our "dream job", is not what makes us happy at all. These career assessments can truly shed some light on our real desires. In the meantime, have you tried reaching out to some temp agencies or recruiters? Worth a shot to check them out. Keeping a positive attitude can make all of the difference, too. There are jobs out there for older workers. As a matter of fact, companies are finally beginning to realize that the wealth of their employees comes from the more senior ones and they are starting to hire.:-)

  • Deborah M.
    Deborah M.

    Thank you...I understand completely. Seeing a life time of slammed doors gets pretty tough on your soul. I'm 56. Had 2 separate careers and never reached my dream job either. in my golden years, I feel that I'm being over looked for just a job. I lost my last career which it really wasn't something I really liked but it paid the bills like no other. Now I'm unemployed. Collecting unemployment and time is running out because the Labor community won't give people over 40 a chance to start another career.


    Thank you! I just happened to see your post, this second. Literally. Thanks for this message. It's not a coincidence that I happen to see it. Thank you! Thank you!

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