Dream Jobs Are Just Dreams | The Reverse Interview

Dream Jobs Are Just Dreams | The Reverse Interview

Monem Raza is Business Analyst for BNY Mellon in Toronto


This podcast was inspired by the following BBC article:



Many people end up hating their ‘dream’ job after they get it. 


Do you enjoy what you do and is it a dream job? 

There are a lot of ups and downs. It’s a wicked scenario to be in but it was never the plan. The plan was to continue to work, get the promotion and move up. But it didn't happen that way. The dream for me is getting up every day and having multiple cash flows coming in knowing that I’m pursuing things that excite and challenge me. Can't say the cash flow part is fully solved (it’s a long process) but I’m taking to time explore things I find interesting. That alone is a blessing.

It's challenging though. There are days where I don't like it because nothing is straight forward. There are days where it's difficult to just get up and find motivation or inspiration to be creative. The social aspect is the hardest part to adapt to. I like being around people and now I’m not consistently in that environment. 

I haven't reached my dream job yet and don’t think anyone should actually reach it. Your dream should be so big it should scare the shit out of you. In my view if you enjoy your job, then you have a dream job. Not a lot of people can say they genuinely do. 


Three months post leaving your job are you still hearing the same feedback from people asking if you've done enough of it and if you’re ready to go back to work? Have you opened up the job posting sites to see what's out there?

When you take a mid-career break or step back from things you quickly realize the world keeps turning. No one cares about what I’m doing. This is my second time doing this. I knew what I was getting myself into and how it would feel. There are low points, but it's no surprise. 

There have been temptations to look at indeed etc. but I haven't yet. It's only been three months. If I start looking now I'm selling myself too short from reaching a reward. The ‘dream’ takes time to achieve, just like going through this process of creating takes time. 


Three keys to success:

1) Passionate about what you do (interest)

2) Good at what you do (talent)

3) It needs to make money (market)

You need all three of these to do exceptionally well in anything. You can be really good at what you do and have a lot passion for it but if the market doesn't pay well for it then you're not going far. 


Going back to being conventional

I know I can go back to being conventional in a corporate role. I’ve done it before. Every year that I wait to do what I’m doing today is one year that I’m less likely to do it.  The average person amasses most of their wealth after the age of 40. In your 20's and 30's is when you are given time to learn, try and fail at as many things. When you stop learning in your role, that's when it becomes a problem in your career.


Are you saying don't take shortcuts to move up the ladder? That's counter intuitive to a millennial…

If there are ways to accelerate progress you should leverage them but the reality is that there are few sustainable shortcuts. You have to put into the work, go through the process and deliver.


Two keys to success in corporate workplaces:

1) Relationships

2) Delivering

You need both in order to really excel. That combined with experience is essential. Experience takes time, patience and commitment. 


Expanding on shortcuts:

I'm going to use Justin Bieber and his manager, Scott "Scooter" Braun for this example. When they were just getting started he could have put Bieber through the typical pop star growth channels to gain popularity (Disney show etc.). Scooter had good foresight on how the media landscape was shifting to social and mobile. He put Bieber on an accelerated path early on by leveraging key platforms such as YouTube to reach scale. We can assume the major label execs were hesitant when Scooter brought forward his strategy as it wasn’t the norm. Someone at the top must have had faith in Scooter’s gut instinct and trusted him enough to execute on it with full autonomy. In hindsight they couldn’t have made a better bet. Believing in Scooter’s vision was probably a better pay out than winning the lottery if you’re looking at what they’ve built with the Justin Bieber brand over the last 10 years.

All of these moves or ‘shortcuts’ accelerated Bieber to where he is today but it does not discount his work ethic and sheer talent. It had to be exceptional. People can easily assume he got lucky, there is always luck involved in major success, but you can’t take a shortcut on an incredible work ethic and raw talent. The path he was put into enabled him to scale quicker but he still had to put in the work. The experience he’s received over the last decade might arguably be in excess of several times what the average musician would be exposed to over their entire career.

Now that he's on top, it's really hard to catch up or replicate what he has done at the same level of success. The market only wants and needs one Justin Bieber.  Everyone shooting for his place will have to take their own path, work harder and get even luckier. Bieber's path only worked for him then and likely wouldn't have worked in a 2017 world if he was to be discovered today.

A simple YouTube video catching the right attention at the right time is not a shortcut. The kid put in the work to reach his full potential.  


How is loyalty defined within the corporate environment for millennials?

Loyalty is limited simply because millennials are exposed to so many options with technology and a mobile workplace. It comes down to how strong your relationships are with people within the company. Your loyalty is generally to companies’ leadership and not the entity itself. The people are the ones who give you enough motivation, mentor-ship and incentives to stay. 

A relationship broken down can be defined as a mutual benefit. As long as there is a mutual benefit there is a relationship (ex. employee time traded for salary from employer is considered a relationship even if the employee and manager do not get a long). Corporate loyalty for millennials comes down to how strong the internal relationships are. When there is always a new shiny object or next best thing at the top of your fingers it’s really hard to stay loyal unless you have some real authentic relationships.


Would you recommend people keep an eye on internal postings to score their next step or dream job? 

It's one way of doing it but you're relying on luck and timing, a factor you have no influence on. What you can control is hard work (hustle). The best position to be in is to know about a future role before it's even posted. The only way to be in that position is to have solid relationships with leadership who support advancing your career in the company. You have to take your career into your own hands and manufacture your own luck. You should never fully be 100% ready for a promotion. You should be about 70% ready and then learn the other 30% on the job. 

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