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I had your dream job


Picture credit: Christopher Edmonstone

I used to hear it a lot.

“Your job is so cool!”

“You must love going to work.”

“That is, like, my dream job.”

It’s hard to leave a position that everyone thinks is the coveted “dream job”, even when it’s crushing your soul a little bit each day.

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Pictured above: The day Future Islands came to play in the studio

That may sound a little dramatic, and yes, hosting the midday show on an indie music radio station in a big city is a supremely cool opportunity. But that doesn’t mean it was right for me. And knowing that people envied my job only made it worse: if I couldn’t find happiness in this highly coveted position then what could possibly satisfy me? And so the slow soul-crush was a reality.

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Pictured above: The day I interviewed Of Monsters and Men at Squamish Valley Music Festival, three days before I quit.

The fact is, once the novelty of free concerts, interviewing bands, listening to music all day and generally feeling popular wore off (which took about three years), I started feeling the ‘creep’—that growing sensation that you’re not quite fulfilling what you’re meant to be doing.

It wasn’t the first time I’d felt this. Shortly out of journalism school, I took on a role as a PR Coordinator with a healthy green drink company, which came with great perks like a smoothie bar, gym membership, tons of free product and profit sharing benefits. Those novelties took less time to wear off, as I quickly remembered my strong aversion to soliciting that dated back to elementary school, when I grudgingly went door-to-door trying to sell chocolate covered almonds. Public relations didn’t feel much different to me, even if the product and message I was representing were actually really cool.

In both cases, I ended up leaving the job and running as far away as possible to reset my identity—Europe first, Southeast Asia next.

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Pictured above: Perusing a small Balinese village market

Now, I’m not advocating the ‘take off traveling’ route for everyone who’s unhappy in their job—because there isn’t just one ‘right’ way to navigate life—however, I strongly believe that listening to that unsettled inner voice and doing something about it is a vital step in the journey towards your true calling.

When something doesn’t feel right in your life, whether it’s a relationship or a job or a lifestyle, there are a million things that can keep you from making a change. Security, status, comfort, the general unknown abyss that’s waiting out there for you. In my role as a radio host, it was the knowledge that people would kill to be in my position that made it difficult to leave. But once I stopped ‘should-ing’ on myself (“You should be happier to be here!”) I realized what I was really doing: I was occupying someone else’s dream job.

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Pictured above: Hosting a live studio session with the UK sensation Jake Bugg

Once it hit me that I didn’t have to love someone else’s passion, no matter how romantic it seemed, it allowed me to imagine what my own dream job looked like. Of course, I still didn’t know exactly what that would be, because heaven forbid life would be that easy. But I had a better idea of what I liked and disliked, and taking that leap was yet another positive step towards a more truer version of myself. One that didn’t involve my soul being crushed while holding up someone else’s dream position.

Since leaving the radio station and spending half a year on a different continent, I have stumbled across the most gratifying job that I’ve had yet as the Content Producer for True Calling. It challenges my most valued skills and gives me room to dream big. And while I don’t consider it the end of the road, sitting satisfied and grateful in this seat is a huge win in my journey towards fulfilling my true calling.

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So if you start to feel that ‘creep’, don’t let it go on for too long—not just for the sake of your own true calling, but for the sake of that someone who’s dream job you’re occupying.

Written by Carly Walde