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.