A lot of people mistakenly believe that having their dream career is outside their control but the truth is that you are 100% responsible for your career. Sure, other people can help you but if you aren’t willing to deal with the barriers you’re putting in your own way then that help won’t work. We see this play out all the time on reality TV.
If you’ve ever watched “Masterchef” you’ll have met lots of contestants who are looking for the show to help them achieve their food dream.
I get it. For a range of reasons you didn’t pursue the career you wanted and now you have the chance to live that dream. But the truth is that often the real reason you didn’t do it is not some external factor, it’s you.
When I watch the show I see many of the contestants and think “you could become a chef without this program”. Of course, getting their 15 minutes of fame is part of the attraction but I think that’s only a minor component. “Why don’t they just go out and open their own cafe?”, I shout at the TV every season.
Well, the answer is contained in these 3 factors:
- Risk aversion
You start to see this early on in the show. They tend to produce dishes that are good but not innovative. The hosts push them to take more risks and show their full potential. Some do but others crumble the minute they’re put under pressure. What they don’t realise is that every career choice comes with risks including playing it safe: you risk getting stuck in a career you like but don’t love.
- Sunk costs
They’re thinking about the time, money and energy they’ve put into getting to where they are now. They think about what a waste it would be to set that aside and try something else. They forget that every career decision comes with an opportunity cost of not pursuing something else. The good news is that the work they’ve already done can help them in an alternative career, as any restaurateur needs a range of skills besides cooking.
Family and friends will have a set of expectations they believe they must meet. They’re often the good girl or boy who always does what’s expected of them. Their parents often want them to have a better life than them, which generally includes a degree backed, white collar job not getting dirty in a kitchen. Most of the time the people around them want to see them happy and will get over the initial shock of going against their wishes if it’s clear they are serious.
So which one of these factors is stopping you from pursuing your dream career? My advice is you need to weigh up the pros and cons of letting these factors influence your career decisions so you don’t end up living with career regret.
If you’d rather not go on a reality TV show to get your dream career maybe all you need is a way to work through your concerns and come up with a plan. That’s what I can do via my 6 week Dream Career Program. It’s a low risk way of doing a career pivot that will reduce your sunk cost issue and show you how to still meet the expectations of the people you care about.