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5 Benefits of NOT Picking Your Dream Job

If you ask an 8-year-old what their dream job is, they'd probably say fireman, actress, or princess-cowboy-astronaut. Not many of them would say Previsualization Artist.

There is a lot of pressure to find the "right" job: a stable, well-paying job with benefits that you're absolutely passionate about. But it's nearly impossible to know what that "right" job is without exploring first.

While setting goals is important, finding a dream job takes time, patience, and a little sense of adventure. Read these five benefits of putting that tiara-cowboy hat-helmet on the shelf just a bit longer and NOT picking a dream job.

  1. Learn Different Skills
  2. Find More Fulfillment
  3. Avoid Getting Stuck
  4. Follow Market Demands
  5. Embrace Opportunities

Student Art by Niksa Babic from Key Frame Illustration for Production

1. Learn Different Skills

When you rush into a career path, it's easy to develop tunnel vision. Your education is laid out, you know what internships or mentorships will look best on your resume, and you know what kind of skills you'll need.

By exploring different jobs, you'll build an eclectic skill set, giving you a fresh and unique perspective. Before Igor Staritsin became a Concept Artist and Matte Painter, he didn't know what he wanted to do. He loved visual arts, but he wasn't sure how to approach his interest in a professional way. "My goal was to get a job as a web designer," Igor laughed. "Yeah, I mean, I didn't know better back then."

Student Art by Alex Esplen from The Art of Color and Light

For this position, Igor learned Photoshop and more graphic design techniques. These skills came in handy when he discovered professional digital and matte painting opportunities.

The knowledge and experience you pick up when you aren't focused on one restricting path are essential to building the person and professional you want to be.

2. Find More Fulfillment

The pressure to pick the perfect dream job actually has a negative effect on your mental health. A study from the University of Maryland found that trying to find a "calling" can lead to feeling lost and confused. Another study found that job hunting leaves college students feeling more anxious, stressed, and depressed when they are looking for the "ideal" job.

Igor has a mentality to overcome this pressure to find the perfect job. Instead of asking kids, students, or anyone in particular "what do you want to do?" you should ask "what problems do you want to solve?" After hearing it in a podcast, Igor immediately clicked with the message. It empowers you to follow your genuine interests in an actionable and legitimate way.

Check out Matte Painting and Concept Art for Production taught by Igor Staritsin.

Once you let go of the pressure to find the perfect job, you can find fulfillment in what you stumble upon, whether it's a low-paying job you're passionate about or a temporary job that will teach you skills.

3. Avoid Getting Stuck

Deciding on a career path early on can put you mentally and physically in one place. It's professional tunnel vision, and it can keep you from seeing your options clearly. It's like being in a bad relationship, but you had so much hope for it that you can't let go.

Student Art by Emily Brehm from Composition for Concept Art and Illustration

Here are some reasons people have quit their dream job (and never looked back), according to FairyGodBoss:

  • Felt burnt out
  • Dream changed
  • Wanted more time with family
  • Got a better paying opportunity
  • Needed to prioritize health
  • Wanted to start their passion project

It's so much harder to talk yourself out of a job you thought was going to be your passion forever. But you can't get stuck. There's more out there for you!

4. Follow Market Demands

There's nothing wrong with taking a job you like even if it doesn't pay well. But money is a reality that nobody can ignore. In one of his stand-ups, Comedian Chris Rock made a point about telling young people to chase their dreams: “Hey kids, check this out. Check this out. You can be anything you’re good at. As long as they’re hiring.”

When you don't have a perfect job firmly planted in mind, you are free to take positions that provide helpful skills and experience, a good work environment, and a stable paycheck.

Student Art by Nora O'Connor from Art Direction For Character Designers

Maybe you're not getting the exact position with the exact studio you wanted. But you can still move forward, learn from your experience, and wait for the right opportunity to step into something else.

Read "6 Practical Business Lessons For Freelance Artists" to hone your professional skills!

5. Embrace Opportunities

Comic Artist Jason Brubaker published his first comic when he was 11 years old, so it would have been easy for him to pick his dream job right off the bat. Instead, Jason got a job as a storyboard artist. Then he moved into vis dev. And then animation. Finally, Jason returned to Graphic Novels but armed with the amazing skills and perspectives that his unconventional career path afforded him.

Even for those who know their true passion, you don't need to sacrifice or reject opportunities that come along. By embracing these exciting offers, you might find a new skill that helps your workflow, a new mentor who changes your life, or even an entirely new dream job you never knew existed! At the very least, you'll find something fulfilling until you can finally become a princess-cowboy-astronaut.



CGMA provides comprehensive instruction for Art, Games, and VFX industries in a variety of courses for a range of students, from 2D and 3D artists looking to supplement their college studies to industry professionals looking to stay up to date on emerging trends and techniques in the field.


Check out Matte Painting and Concept Art for Production taught by Igor Staritsin.

Read "6 Practical Business Lessons For Freelance Artists" to hone your professional skills!




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