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Frances Cushway

Career Coaching



Are you harbouring a secret fantasy....job?

Posted by [email protected] on March 17, 2014 at 4:00 PM

As often seems to happen with me, the minute I start cleaning the floor I think of something I’d like to write about. Today this also managed to coincide with my youngest being asleep and my oldest being preoccupied with her new magic colouring book. Without getting too excited about my perfect storm I sat down to see if I could actually finish writing something.

So today I’m thinking about ‘fantasy jobs’. I think the sunny weekend spent playing with my girls in the garden probably inspired this as fantasy jobs are often rooted in your childhood. They may be what you most wanted to be as a child. I say ‘be’ rather than ‘do’ as fantasy jobs often involve a whole persona; they can define you. Other fantasy jobs may be sparked by someone you have met or something you have seen, for example in a film. I always remember around the time Daniel Craig’s first Bond film came out there was a piece on BBC News about MI5/6 seeing a surge in applications to join them. Of course it was most likely Bond’s persona that was attractive rather than the reality of being a spy.

These fantasy jobs are normally left behind with our childhood or adolescence, but sometimes they can persist into adulthood. Where’s the harm in that you may ask? Well the problem is that these fantasy jobs may hold you back from moving forward with a productive and fulfilling career. These ideas may be held openly and consciously, in that someone pursues a job that they aren’t qualified or suited for. However if the fantasy job is held subconsciously, this can cause you to feel generally dissatisfied in your role or chosen career. This discomfort arises as a result of ‘cognitive dissonance’ - there is a mismatch between the job you wish you could do and the contradictory job you actually have.

This is one of the areas that is vital for career coaches to explore with clients, particularly if a client feels ‘stuck’ in their career. Exploring these fantasy jobs to see whether they have any ‘legs’, any basis in reality or are achievable is really key to helping a client find a role or career they will find fulfilling. For example, going back to the spy fantasy job, it might be the idea of a job that involves a lot of travel that really appeals to someone and this is something we can work with.

So are you harbouring a secret fantasy job? Do you day dream about being a writer? An artist? A vintner? A trapeze artist? A fighter pilot? (These have all been secret fantasy jobs of mine over the years!) If you feel stuck in your current job or career, while I’m not saying jack it all in and follow your fantasy job, it may actually help you find what you really want to do.