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Your Dream Job → do you know how to define it?

This past weekend I had the opportunity to lead a webinar for hundreds of film & television editors who are members of the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild (MPEG) titled “How to Connect With Hollywood A-listers and Land Your Dream Job.” And in this webinar I shared what I believe are the five fundamental skills anyone can learn (with deliberate and consistent practice) to define a more fulfilling career path.

Those five skills are:

  1. Defining Your Dream Job
  2. Connecting With “Experts”
  3. Nurturing Relationships (and finding a mentor)
  4. Presenting Your Story (without selling, promoting, or pitching)
  5. Advocating For Yourself (negotiating & setting boundaries)
  • BONUS: Managing Your Finances (so you have the freedom to say “no”)

What many found interesting is that I didn’t just jump right to sending outreach messages and setting up meetings & interviews. I spent a significant amount of my time on skill #1 → DEFINING your “Dream Job.”

You’d be surprised how many people have trouble answering the following question:

If you could work on any project – past or present – what would your dream job be?

I just assumed everyone would know the answer to this question intrinsically, but somewhere between learning how to read & write and becoming functioning adults, the system failed us. Because very few actually have the skills to clearly define what their dream job even is. They’ve been too busy their entire lives simply making a living.

What was even more surprising to me, however, was that the vast majority of those who did have a ‘dream job’ in mind, most of them saw it as something they couldn’t possibly achieve. And if the goal was achievable, it was most likely going to happen in that magical, mystical land known as “someday.”

One of the key mindsets that I shared with my students in this weekend’s workshop is that:

“You need to stop thinking of it as A dream job and start thinking of it as YOUR dream job.”

Whether or not an opportunity is a dream job for you is all about perspective. The example I gave was the following gig: Post-Production Assistant (PA) for The Walking Dead.

When I polled everyone if being a PA for The Walking Dead would be considered a dream job, pretty much everyone universally agreed it was NOT a dream job. One even responded with “yuck,” because it’s entry level, you spend all day long chasing down people’s lunch orders, and it’s mostly grunt work.

But if you were a recent college graduate who needed to simply get your foot in the door of the entertainment industry and your ultimate goal was to be a successful television editor on dramas & horror shows…wouldn’t this be your dream job?

It might not be THE dream job of your entire career, but holy cow talk about an amazing opportunity right out of school, right? It would clearly be your NEXT dream job, no?

Given the Post PA for The Walking Dead is a student in my Optimizer coaching & mentorship program (and it was her first real gig right out of school), I was able to put this hypothesis to the test, and I asked her, “Is this entry-level position your dream job?”

And her answer really changed my perspective (I’m paraphrasing for brevity)

“Yes, right now, this is my dream job! It’s an amazing opportunity to learn the business and be around the people I need to learn from in a professional setting. In a few years it won’t be my dream job anymore, but right now it’s EXACTLY where I need to be.”

See…perspective.

What About You?

If you were to reframe your perspective and stop thinking of your dream job as off in the distance, unattainable, or at best something that could be the pinnacle of your career in 30 years, and you instead focused on your NEXT dream job, what would it be?

What is your “Dream Job?”

I read every message I receive and look forward to your response!

Next week I’ll share a few additional tricks to help you narrow down the answer to this question if you’re struggling. In the meantime…

Be well.
Zack Arnold
Creator, Optimize Yourself

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”