Career truths (meaning a theme or career advice that is true for many people) aren’t always what we want to hear. It’s advice that makes us stop in our tracks. We aren’t able to play pretend anymore. A career truth is also something people don’t share with anyone. 

There is career advice that is hard to hear but isn’t for everyone. Like these, 

  • When a client values freedom and transparency but applies to work for a company that will never offer that to them.
  • When a client wants to run a business but does not have to publicly talk about their work or pay for someone to help with marketing.
  • When a client holds onto work stress so much that they can’t concentrate on thinking about another job 

For all of the above, the career advice would be, “If you keep doing that, you won’t get what you want.” But, not everyone experiences these blunders. 

A career truth

A career truth this is true for many of my clients, myself, my children, my best friend, and people in my family is that career dreams don’t go away. The thing you have dreamed about doing, likely from a younger age, doesn’t go away.



When I first noticed this

I first noticed this when at my first job as a school registrar at a professional theatre school. Many adults (about 1 a day) would call and say something like, 

“I’ want to sign up for an acting class. I’ve always wanted to be an actor, even in high school. I’m turning 40 this year and I’m finally going after my dream.” 

These calls made me promise myself that I would always follow my interests and dreams. I didn’t want to be someone who lived nearly half their life ignoring their career dream. 

Of course, it is one thing to make a promise like that to yourself. It’s another to actually follow your advice. I let myself get led astray into arts administration jobs when really I wanted to write plays. Part of it is that I needed to pay the bills. The other part is that I didn’t take the dream seriously. I thought it would just kinda drop away. 

Many of my clients have done the same thing. They choose different roles, Safer roles. Roles with more money and prestige. They thought their career dream would fade away. But in almost every call when we talk about the places they could possibly work, they’ll share (often in a lowered shy tone) something they’ve always wanted to do. 

What to do about it

 Once you know this, you have a choice.

  • You can keep pretending. You can try to squish the dream down. It’ll likely stay down for a while, it can get small. 
  • You can do something about it. That doesn’t mean you need to quit your job for your dream, but you could look at your current job and see if there is an opportunity to weave the dream into your work. 
  • Or you could look at your life and identify habits or activities that aren’t that fulfilling. You could drop those activities to try and nurture the dream. 

The cool thing about the last two options is how it can transform your life. I’ve seen busy lawyers take up a writing practice and feel more energized. I’ve seen AI tech-futurists take up drawing and become even better at work. I’ve seen marketing professionals teach yoga on the weekends and it fills them up. In some cases, the dream starts to take over and they’re able to quit their jobs. Not all of them. 

It’s worth exploring. If you know the dream will always be there, why not try seeing what you can do with it?