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If You Don’t Build Your Dream, Someone Will Hire You To Help Build Theirs (2)

Build Your Dream Your Way

Last week, I received news that one of my former bosses was retiring. The news was  quite surprising.

Back when I used to work for Jay, myself and his other employees would talk amongst ourselves, wondering if Jay would ever retire. Granted, Jay was only in his mid-50s at the time, but he seemed like the type that would stay at his job with the US Government forever.

The thing is…Jay loved his job, absolutely loved it. I remember him once holding up a 300 page report, filled with lots of numbers and statistics, and declaring: “I can’t wait to read this report this weekend!”.

And there were plenty of stories from Jay’s younger days when he would regularly stay in the office till 8 or 9 pm out of sheer love for what he was doing.

Jay’s retirement got me thinking about a quote that I’ve seen repeatedly on the internet.

If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.

It’s the type of quote that seems true at first glance. And from a factual standpoint, it is true: you either work for yourself or you work for someone else.

Why The Quote Is Wrong

But there’s also an underlying implication to the quote. That working for yourself is better and somehow more authentic than working for someone else.

That, in my opinion is absolutely wrong. And quite frankly it’s insulting to all the people out there who work for someone else, enjoy their jobs, and are contributing to making the world a better place. People like my former boss Jay.

And there are millions of people like Jay out there.  Teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, firefighters, etc. etc. etc. They work for other people AND they’re making a valuable contribution to society.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of people who work for themselves and are building their own dream. Except their dream doesn’t actually make the world a better place. Why should that be venerated and held above work that positively contributes to society?

And sadly, I see a lot of coaches pushing this idea on their clients. The idea that working for yourself is somehow better, more valuable, more authentic than working for someone else.

Build Your Dream Your Way

What I want for my clients is for them to find a career path and a related job that allows them to use their talents and passions while making a positive contribution to the world. Isn’t that more important than who your boss is?

And the truth is that we’re all different and all have different dreams. Some people’s dream involves working for themselves. And that’s just fine.

But not everyone wants that. And it’s actually possible to pursue your dreams while working for someone else. It doesn’t have to be an either/or thing.

My former boss Jay wanted to make a worthwhile contribution to the lives of women and children. That was his dream. And he did it while working for other people.

So yes, build your  dream, whatever it may be. But do it in a way that works for you! Not in a way that an internet quote tells you that you should.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. The truth is that everyone must become an entrepreneur, some people will definitely prefer to be employees and that is totally fine.

    Many people are dreaming of becoming good teachers, good doctors, good lawyers, etc etc.

    Whether you want to work for someone or work for yourself, the point is to know your own dream and then work on actualising it.

    1. “Whether you want to work for someone or work for yourself, the point is to know your own dream and then work on actualising it.”

      Agree 100%! That’s the point I was trying to make but it took me a lot more words to say it. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I have fond memories of my FNS internship. You took me under your wing, and we’re still friends. Jay, I remember vaguely, but I remember his warmth, generosity, and respect for humanity. The truth is, the Jay’s of the world are few and far in between. I once worked for a “Jay” he was the best boss I ever had. I wonder how many people are on this “build your dream journey.” I get the feeling most of us settle for making someone else’s dream a reality.

    1. Thanks for commenting Bea! And I’m glad that we’re still friends 10 or 15 years later!!!

      Personally, I think it’s okay that people work for other people’s dreams. Not everyone can or wants to work for themselves. You’ve touched hundreds and hundreds of lives as a teacher…that to me is far more important than who someone works for!!!

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