Letting the Dream Job Go

Friday, March 22, 2013

Over the past week or so, we’ve been talking about the changing world of work in America; from older Americans who are working beyond traditional retirement age to childcare workers who are trying to strike a work-life balance to those struggling to get by.

We wrap up our series with a look at dreams and dream jobs with two people who were lucky enough to work their dream jobs for a few years. But both found, eventually, that their dream jobs became less dreamy and that it was best for them to push their dreams to the evenings and weekend.

Allyson Bird is a former full-time journalist who gave it up when the demands of the changing industry began to infringe on her happiness. She now writes newsletter stories and fundraising materials for a public hospital, and does the occasional freelance piece on the side.

"I wanted to be a reporter my entire life,” says Bird. However, after working in the field for a number of years, it just stopped working. “It was pretty cumulative. It was a lot of little things over time,” she says of her departure from the newspaper last year. “I plan to continue writing. Although the venue may change, I think I’m still following the dream.”

Greg Hoy used to tour and record full-time. He was signed to a label and his music was featured on television and in film. But when the industry began to change, it got harder to make a living off music. He now works at Facebook as the head of design hiring, and does music on the side.

Hoy’s dream was to become a rockstar. He went so far as to move to New York City and buy a van and sign to a label, but it didn’t work out as he had hoped. “People weren’t coming to our shows as much because they could sit at home and get on high speed internet or watch cable tv, suddenly the idea of going to play live shows and making money just didn’t work.”

"I wouldn’t say that I gave up on a dream, i think i just stopped letting my dream keep me from being happy," says Bird.


Allyson Bird and Greg Hoy

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [3]

Desdemona Finch from Boulder, Colo.

A job is a job. If it was your dream, it would be called "dream." If it was your purpose, it would be called "purpose." If it was your reason for living, it would be called "reason for living." But a job is a job is a job. Once you obtain your "dream job," it's not too long before you realize it's just a job. Americans invest way too much of their identity in what they do for a living.

Mar. 22 2013 06:50 PM
Aaron Read from Providence, RI

Meh. I wanted to work in radio from three days into my undergrad days at Boston University, lo those 19 years ago. And I have, and I love it. I like my job quite a lot (Chief Engineer at Rhode Island Public Radio) and it pays pretty decently.

But I think the concept of a "dream job" is highly overrated.

I've had few illusions about how hard it would be to get and keep a job in radio, and most of those died quickly as my career progressed. It's a lot of work, and you have been both damn good, damn smart, and damn determined (read: insane) to succeed in it...and, quite frankly, you need to start from a place ahead of the curve. I'm white, male, and come from an upper-middle-class family that put me through a good college. I could've worked twice as hard and not gotten as far as I have without that benefit.

Mar. 22 2013 04:20 PM
Mike from Oregon

Back in school we were taught that "you can be anything you want to be". So started dreams of what to be when you grow up.

Well, now that I'm retired, I can look back and say that it was a scam. One part of the many lies that is the American culture.

Mar. 22 2013 03:42 PM

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