When My Dream Job Turned Out To Be Just A Dream


We all live for it and we all hope for it; the ‘perfect’ dream job. Each day we wake up hoping that we get one step closer to doing what we love for a living. Whether you’re a recent graduate, full-time employee or ‘in between jobs’, it’s important to understand that getting to that destination of having your dream job is a journey. And that journey might not always be smooth… However, there will always be lessons you learn that will lead you closer to one day having that career you dream of.

Well… with that being said. I wish this was something I knew a few years ago.

I would definitely have been a bit more realistic and prepared for my own little career challenges – the challenges I would like to share to encourage everyone, especially if you’re just about to start this journey.

The journey begins

My Uni days were amazing! No doubt I had the best time ever, having the opportunity to join Erasmus schemes and gain work experience abroad. However, after four years of hard work, I couldn’t wait to start my career journey. You can imagine how excited I was when I finally graduated in BA Commerce and received my well-deserved degree certificate. There’s no way I was thinking about pursuing a post-graduate degree, I needed a mini-break, so I decided to pursue a career in marketing.

With hardly any opportunities for me in the Netherlands (Though I’m Dutch) and after months of applying and receiving many rejections, I finally landed my ‘dream job’ abroad (UK). I always knew that marketing was ‘my thing’, so moving miles away from home to do something I knew I would love was no big deal!

Bumps on the road

A few months into the job, and I realised that I had never even considered, at any previous time, that the journey was not going to be easy. Clearly, I had been dreaming for a long time and when I finally woke up, ‘the struggle was real’. You see, I wasn’t really ‘living the dream’ that I thought I would be and that was a huge ‘slap in my face’. Well… let’s make that a double one, one on each cheek. It was clear that I was inexperienced and unprepared for the challenges that I had to face. The corporate world is the real deal and definitely not a playing ground for recent grads.

The real business world

To help you understand my journey a bit more, I was responsible for the marketing activities in a couple of EU markets, which led to me having to work with two different managers. I often got caught in the middle, because pleasing one manager would always lead to the dissatisfaction of the other.

Having a career seemed hard. First of all, for me as a recent graduate, there was a lack of training within the role. Secondly, there was a lack of preparation. I was doing more than I was actually capable of. And truth be told, the ‘real business’ world is just a fast-paced environment. Even though no one plainly tells you, one of the common principles is ‘time is money’. Unfortunately, because of this principle, some businesses do not see the importance of investing both time and money in the career development of (their) graduates.

What you learn along the way

Looking back at this journey, I’m actually a bit more grateful for my experience. It taught me perseverance, patience, and hard work. Clearly, I had to learn it the hard way due to of lack of preparation, especially from my side. However, after spending years in University, you would have thought that the corporate world is something students should actually be most prepared for…

So dear graduates, starting a career is exciting! However, before you step into the bad… I mean business side, the number one survival tip is ‘preparation’.

What can you learn from this?
  • Don’t have too many expectations when starting a new career
  • Never be too desperate; if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Know that sometimes businesses are desperate to fill skills gaps too
  • Always conduct a thorough company research (What are their values? Do they match up with yours? Do they offer training schemes?)
  • Make sure that you’re on the same page (and have the same expectations) as the manager/business when it comes to the job role

Sarah Johnson

Sarah is Founder and Editor of IAMICareer. She currently holds a BA of Commerce and has a strong background in Marketing. Sarah is passionate about seeing millennials thrive in career and the workplace and is dedicated to helping millennial women bridge the gap between university and the corporate world.