“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,”
Attributed to Confucius
Many of us have a dream job we’d love to do. Some of us are doing it right now. But is doing a dream job actually the panacea of happiness the above quote suggests?
An article for the BBC Worklife website section suggests not. In the article “The workers leaving their dream jobs” both a pastry chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant and a theatre lighting and sound designer discovered that their dream job was poorly paid, demanded long hours and gave them virtually no time for family and social life. Both gave up those dream jobs to retrain for better paid, more secure employment.
Eager – but unpaid
The lack of financial reward is a common dilemma amongst creative people, who often work for nothing to kick-start their careers. As one survey of creative workers in 2020 discovered, 47% of under-30s had done an unpaid internship to secure their dream job.
“Not all interns are classed as workers, and … there are some circumstances in which interns don’t need to be paid.“
So, why are we talking about internships on a website for those looking to retire? Simple – many creatives can feel trapped in their professional even though the interest and enjoyment has long since faded.
The ‘passion trap’
One of our team was recently talking to a member of the chorus at one of the UK’s top opera companies, who had just retired early. On paper he had a dream job, singing on stage with famous opera stars in productions of some of the world’s greatest operas. He had a permanent contract (a real rarity for singers), he had a pension, and he had a great group of colleagues and friends to work with.
He also worked his socks off, sometimes rehearsing one opera all day and singing in another that night. He had worked weekends and evenings all his life, and he and his full-time working partner often passed like ships in the night. He admitted he had missed out on a large part of his daughter growing up due to work and touring, and risked the same with his grandchildren.
And he really was not enjoying that dream job anymore. Not one bit.
Three months into retirement later, he was a different man – relaxed, happy, loving spending time with his grandchildren. He only wished he had done it earlier.
Dream jobs are hard work
It’s not just those in their original dream job or sector who may be disillusioned. During the pandemic, many people switched career to do something they had always wanted, be it run a bakery or breed sheep on a smallholding.
It didn’t work for everyone. According to Eleanor Tweddell, career coach and author of ‘Why Losing Your Job Could be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You’
“A lot of people say, ‘I wanted freedom, freedom away from the nine-to-five.’ So, they got the cool job and they realised, ‘Oh my God, there’s no freedom here. I’ve got to work even harder to earn as much as I did before.’”
A return to the 9 to 5
A recent TikTok video by Zaid Khan put forward the idea of “quiet quitting”, This is when workers are not actually leaving their jobs but “Quitting the idea of going above and beyond,”.
Rather like an old-fashioned ‘work to rule’, but without the animosity, workers do what they are paid to do, without taking on any additional work. Unlike the rather derogatory term “retired in place” (RIP) where employees sit out their remaining years doing the bare minimum to get the maximum pension benefits, “quiet quitters” view their job as transactional. It’s just about the job, the pay – and enjoying life outside work. The job is done and done well, but they are out of the door at 5pm and their phone is off.
Working up to retirement
If your pension pot is sufficient, there is absolutely no reason why you should stay working at your current level right up to the wire. Instead, you could look at taking a ‘regular’ job with less responsibility, less stress and (yes) less income, but which would enable you to shut the door and enjoy life more. You could cruise up to retirement on a cushion of income, while exploring what you might do once retired.
Retirement will then be a simple transition from a job you just do, to other things you enjoy doing, not a cliff-edge plunge from head honcho to house-person…
Retirement planning the easy way
One of the great advantages of switching to a less demanding job is that it gives you more time and headspace to plan all the non-financial elements of your retirement in advance. A retirement coach like me can help you examine all the key pillars of a successful, enjoyable and sustainable retirement, of which your finances are only one.
Then take a day off from work (you’ve probably got plenty of leave due!), and make an appointment to talk through your retirement. There’s no obligation, no sales talk, just straight talking, good advice and plenty of coffee! If you want to then take advantage of my 1 to 1 retirement coaching, that’s great.
Take that first step now: