How Long Should You Wait for Your Dream Job?

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How Long Should You Wait for Your Dream Job?

In a recent interview, entrepreneur Gary Cardone tells about an experience he had in his twenties. He’d been selling–of all things–bananas … which, to say the least, was not a good fit for him. So he quit. Most of us would be hesitant to take that kind of blind leap, but Cardone considered quitting a positive step.

“I was unemployed, and then I got a job. ANY job. I see so many people making this mistake: they get unemployed, then they wait for the perfect job,” he says. “I just needed to get back to work¬†… I needed to produce something.”

When it comes to re-employment, there are two polar schools of thought. Some, like Mr. Cardone, feel that any job beats not working. Others believe accepting anything less than your ideal is a mistake.

The argument for getting back to work as quickly as possible is simple: you need a job, and some money is better than no money, right? Plus, there is evidence to suggest that even trained HR experts have a psychological problem hiring someone who’s been out of work awhile. Obviously, that could just be an excuse to eliminate someone’s application from consideration; on the other hand, it’s human nature to wonder “If you’re as good as your resume says, why are you out of work?”

With that in mind, holding out for a job that pays as well as your previous one might do more harm than good, making it harder to get any job in the future. It makes sense¬†… sometimes.

But while there will be times when you may need to take any job, just because you need a job, there may also be times when doing so is like shooting yourself in the foot. Face it: for all you know, the most perfect opportunity in the world might pop up tomorrow morning. If you settle now, you could miss out.

So what should you do? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but here’s a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is there a market for you? Do your research: are there a lot of openings for the job title you want? Or are too many applicants trying for the same few jobs? If competition is extreme, you might be better applying for a lower position at a company you like, with the thought of working your way into your dream job.
  2. Do you have a deadline? Research has shown that the longer you remain unemployed, the less likely you are to find a job, regardless of experience. Taking a position with lower pay, less responsibility, or even outside your field could be the smartest decision. Persons unemployed for three months or less were more than eight times more likely to land an interview than those out of work for six months or more, so set a deadline for you dream job, then reassess.
  3. Are you barking up the wrong tree? Just because most of your knowledge and experience is in one field doesn’t mean you’re stuck there. As Mr. Cardone discovered, just because you can sell bananas doesn’t mean you really want Before you lock yourself into a “dream job,” make sure it’s really your dream job … if there’s any doubt, give yourself permission to try something in another area.

In the end, holding out for a specific job or title isn’t bad, but it also isn’t necessarily the best move. A constantly evolving environment requires the flexibility to consider new directions and the imagination to envision success in more than one area. If your dream job has yet to materialize, it might be time to take a good hard luck at your goals and aspirations.