Having a dream job is subjective. For some people, a dream job might mean a big title, huge compensation and a fantastic work-life balance. For others, it could be a fulfilling job, regardless to status or money.

With that in mind, it is important for people to know what defines a “dream job” in their view. And make sure they don’t get carried away with ambitions of their peers or pressure from family.

Pursuing a high-paying job, for example, if you don’t care about money or what money can help you acquire is a recipe not only for professional disappointment, but also for channelling efforts in the wrong direction.

Needless to say, however, that career and life goals change as we grow and mature. So it is important to also distinguish between your priorities that are rooted in a solid understanding of your life goals, and your inclinations that are driven by your life stage.

Define your goals

Because careers should be built and pursued over time with persistence, it is important to keep an eye on what you want to accomplish and know why. Your goals can be climbing the professional ladder, making more money, getting more training and education, etc.

The constant push toward your goals is what you can do to ensure that you stay on track regardless to your changing life situations, family pressure, or other demands that typically rush people to change jobs or even careers.

Again your goals should be what makes your fulfilled. If it is a job that provides flexibility for your family life and personal interests, that should be your focus.

If it is a job that helps you become rich — assuming that is a feasible goal — pursue it. The bottom line: When you know what you’re looking for in a job, it becomes easier to accomplish it.

Be realistic

Not all careers provide opportunities that could fulfil all the goals. For example, if you’re in a low-paying career, becoming a millionaire may not be in the cards. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on pursuing the most comfortable lifestyle that your job can provide.

Similarly, if your find your fulfilment in interacting with people or influencing lives, and your career simply doesn’t allow for this type of interaction, you may be better off if you pursue your goals in a different setting — like through volunteer work.

Being realistic about what your job and your entire career provide can help you balance your professional ambition, and avoid making mistakes that are driven solely by your desire to capture a dream job that fulfils the needs of your lifestyle.

Think twice

Changing jobs especially when your next position seems to be better is harmless, right? What is there to lose if you’re getting more money, better title or the like? There is actually a loss and a risk.

The loss is in the disruption of the continuity, seniority and institutional knowledge you accumulate by working for a good employer for many years. Rushing to take new jobs for the sake of change or hope of landing a dream job can backfire if you appear to be hopper who lacks substantial experience with any one employer.

Make it happen

When you’re able to identify your goals, your efforts should be channelled toward achieving them. Know what experience, qualifications and skills you need to accumulate in order to eventually achieve your dream job. Your concerted efforts into pursuing the job whether it is through years of work, building connections or aggressively applying for the type of job you want will eventually pay off.

What works against many people is being distracted by opportunities that meet various goals. For example, taking a job because it pays a little more, changing into a new position because a better title seems in play, or jumping to a new employer to be with past coworkers.

Unplanned moves that are motivated by instant gratification hardly contribute to professional development. So keep your eye on your long-term goals to turn your dream job into reality.

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor.

Pursuing a dream job

Know what that means for you

Be realistic about what you can accomplish

Channel your efforts toward this goal

Don’t get distracted by instant-gratification moves