Everyone has a dream job — even if it’s not the one from your childhood (you know, astronaut, posting ‘grams of desserts you just ate, kitten softness tester, etc.). So, we asked for millennials to describe the dream jobs that they already have or want, and what it is about those jobs that qualifies them as “dream jobs”.
For some, it’s a specific job title. For others, it’s simply the ability to work in a certain industry. But contrary to the popular belief, millennials are pretty level-headed when it comes to what they want from a job.
Our survey showed that the most important thing to this largest segment of the work force is a merit-based environment that provides opportunities for professional development — and opportunities for advancement that don’t rely on time-in-service.
We’ve selected twenty-six responses that represent a diverse mix of people and highlighted them below. Click on the pictures to jump to their full descriptions, and click back to navigate back to the top.
Finishers Club — Jerusalem, Israel
1. Passion: I get to work in a field that I love. I’m an avid runner, and so overseeing a startup that is directly tied into my passion is fantastic. And since I love the nature of my work, I don’t really feel the need to clock out early, as my goals and the company’s goals are basically aligned.
2. Learning Opportunity: Working at a startup, where, intrinsically, time and resources are constrained, is a fantastic – and fast – learning experience. You learn to do things unrelated to your core competency because you have to.
3. Flexibility. I have a two year-old son, and it’s important for me to play an active role in his life. Working at a company that exists purely online means that I can do a lot of my work remotely – or from my phone – and can structure my schedule around dropping my son off at daycare, or picking up groceries.
Follow Kat — Charleston, SC
For most healthcare professionals, their entire lives are centered on the hospital and the patient, forcing them to drop other interests to focus on their medical profession. Running is an intrinsic part of me, and I’m afraid that pursuing medicine will force me to hang up my running shoes — and it should not have to be this way. Although I am patient about medicine and healthcare, it is not my only passion. In order for me to feel like a complete and happy person, I want to be a doctor and a professional runner, but if asked to chose between the two I couldn’t.
No career should make you chose between your passions. Instead, ideally, each job or career path would provide the flexibility and maybe even the opportunities needed to become that whole individual, and opportunities for merit-based promotions. I’d also value a reasonable policy for maternity and paternity leave and equal gender employment standards, such as pay and work environments.
I’d love to share with you what I, as a millennial, value in a job. I have managed to create my own job and I believe it embodies all of the things that I value.
Flexibility – I need to be able to move, travel, work when it suits me best
Efficiency – I worked in an office once, I survived 6 months — the inefficiencies everywhere drove me crazy (remote work/perforce-based pay is that way to go)
Passion – I need to be working on something I am 100 percent passionate about, and so is everyone else around me
Impact – My work needs to not only benefit me, but it also needs to have a positive impact on the world
Positive People – I refuse to work with negative people or jerks, life is too short to deal with them on a daily basis
My current job as a Digital Content Creator allows me to hit all these points. I sacrifice a lot in order to live this way. Here are things I give up in order to have my dream job:
– Security (I have no idea how much money I will make this year)
– Health Insurance (I pay the full amount myself)
– Home ownership (I won’t be able to buy a house, with a mortgage, if I keep living this way)
– 401k (I am in full control of my future and need to retirement plan on my own)
– Balance (I work 24/7/365)
– Relationships (many people don’t support me or understand what I do)
– Privacy (I share my whole life online)
PR Manager & Copywriter
Hype Group — St. Petersburg, FL
After graduating college in 2015, I started working for another agency (which will remain nameless) that specialized in travel public relations. It is located in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. This first job had me questioning my entire career path. Within a few weeks of starting, I was depressed, couldn’t keep food down, and suffered from major anxiety attacks. After bringing my concerns to my then-boss, she told me that “every agency is like this,” and that I needed to get used to it. After four months in this role, I quit. I decided my health wasn’t worth the paycheck.
I moved back to Tampa where I had attended the University of South Florida and reached out to Brooke Boyd, the founder of Hype Group, who I had interned for during school. Despite all of the bad, I will admit that I learned a lot in my first job. I told Brooke this, and how all I learned could be applied to Hype Group. She hired me as an independent contractor in January 2016, and I was made a full-time employee in April 2016.
I’ve been in my role for a little over a year now, and I feel fulfilled in ways I didn’t think was possible. I know that I have a voice in this agency and that I am valued. I have room to grow and am afforded opportunities that I wouldn’t have had working at a larger agency. I love the level of autonomy that I have here, and that my team is working with me, not against me. I enjoy waking up and going to work every single day, and I didn’t think that was possible.
Firstly, let me discuss why this is a dream job for me. My work is all done with computers and internet, which means as I improve my skills and gain a positive reputation I will have more opportunities to work remotely or as a consultant. Long-term projections are important to me, and a dead-end job is a horrible thing. Thankfully, this industry has room for growth as digital search via smartphones and the Internet of Things (IoT) become more and more ubiquitous. Also, personal injury law is an extremely competitive online space for SEO, which means constant challenges and constant room to improve.
A quality career to me means I can learn new, useful skills that are valued highly in the labor market (I won’t lie — I’m all about money). It also means challenges and difficulties — nothing is worse than a job that can be done easily and without much thought.
Is my current job my dream job? No, but that has the potential to change. Our company is growing quickly and the larger we are and the more areas we cover the more challenging and expansive my job will become. Currently, we have operations in three states and if we continue our expansion this number could double. As I said above, I need new challenges and struggles to be happy in my work. Also, more markets means higher scale which means more money in my pocket.
What would I sacrifice to get my dream job? I have already delayed having a family and likely will need to wait many more years before it becomes feasible thanks to a heavy work schedule and high living costs in metropolitan areas. I have not lived within 500 miles of my family since I was 19 and I have no intention of going back because the career prospects are bleak where they live. Those are two giant sacrifices I have made in my quest for a fulfilling career.
Senior Research Computer Scientist
Ohio University / Affine Technologies — Middleport, OH
I am currently employed as a Senior Researcher for Ohio University. I think my job has many of the components of your typical dream job for many people:
– I get to live near my family.
– I get to choose my own hours, mostly.
– I get to work from home.
– I get to travel to foreign countries (I am presently in Latvia teaching a class as I write this e-mail).
– I get to do the work I decided to specialize in (Computer Graphics).
– I get to do meaningful work (I mainly work in Aviation Safety).
– I work an average of 22 hours a week, which leaves plenty of time to cultivate my side interests (I am also co-founder of a drone startup).
– Finally, the pay is good.
I was raised my grandparents, so I always wanted to be close to home to help out. I am also Appalachian at heart, so while most people in my field dream of heading to the West Coast, I never really wanted to leave Southeastern Ohio.
I always knew I wanted to work from home. I never liked driving, so I’ve always figured I’d be willing to take a substantial (20% or so) cut in pay to ditch the commute. Maybe once we have self-driving cars, that won’t be as big of a deal.
Travelling isn’t as important to me as it is to some people my age, but I figured it would be a good opportunity while I was young, in short spurts, before I had too many obligations. As part of my position I teach 3-day classes on how to use some Aviation Safety software I developed for the University. Over the past five years I have had the opportunity to travel to Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Spain, Qatar, and Latvia, with future trips already on the schedule to Italy and the United Kingdom.
Finally, Ohio University has a big push for graduate students and faculty to commercialize their research. I have a flexible enough schedule that I can devote many hours a week to my startup Affine Technologies, which specializes in 3D+Time Data Visualizations for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
I think the most important thing people can do to get their dream job is to stand out from the crowd. A Ph.D. helps, but it certainly isn’t the only way, it’s just the way that enabled me to keep doing “cool stuff” along the way.
SEO Agency Owner
Splendid Beast — Madison, WI
I worked for five years as a corporate project manager and will never go back to that world. With my background in running an online marketing agency (from my apartment living room), I’m now applying what I’ve learned by working for my marketing clients to my own e-commerce lifestyle business.
I eagerly accepted the offer from Broadleaf after being exposed to their incredible culture. On the wall, in large mirrored, letters are their core values, inspired by those of Netflix. When I interviewed with the Broadleaf leadership team, they stressed to me the importance of their values and maintaining their culture. As a millennial, a great culture is one of the most important things a company can have. The attitude of a company sets a tone for the kind of job you will have. I wanted to find a job where I would be more than a cog, where I would be a special piece that helped keep the machine going.
In college, I interned at various public relations firms and had grown slightly disenchanted with what I thought my future would look like, so I was nervous to learn what my actual job would look like. I wanted to help grow the potential of a company, not sit around and repeat the same content with slight variations.
I have been at Broadleaf Commerce since November of 2016 and I can say I wear many hats. I am filled with so many new ideas on how to grow the company’s brand and generate content that is both relevant and exciting. If I had taken another path and chosen an entry level job at one of the companies I interned at in college, I would have been placed in a corner cranking out the same old things to “get the job done”. At Broadleaf, I get to innovate. My ideas are not only encouraged, but have true value. I feel like I can not only help grow this company, but that I can also grow with it.
My job as a Marketing Coordinator is my dream job because it checks all of the boxes I had on my list when I graduated college and then some. As a millennial in a job that is constantly evolving, I am exposed to a variety of practices and mentors that are not only shaping me as an employee, but also my future in the marketing field. I am constantly learning and being presented with new challenges to tackle. My only limitations are the ones I create for myself. I truly feel like the sky’s the limit where I work, and I know from experience how lucky that makes me.
Shore View — Chicago, IL
Barback, Student, and Blogger
Landing Attempts — Toronto
My dream is to innovate and inspire in the growing private space industry to push humanity towards a better future. My actual job would be founder/CEO of a small hopefully growing project working likely with satellites/launch tech or communications.
It’s a big dream and I may not succeed which both worried and motivates me to work harder. Currently I’m running a blog landingattemps.com that discusses space and entrepreneurship to try and get my name out there and learn about the industry. I’ve gotten some work published on some solid publications amongst the community which is encouraging. In my spare time I read about astrophysics, try and learn math from years of not doing it and play ice hockey.
Firefighter / Paramedic — Dallas, TX
My current job would become my dream job if more professional development opportunities were available. I would love to take a Critical Care class, take more advanced cardiology training, and take similar advances courses.
Personally, I would sacrifice income if I could have more professional development opportunities.
Marketing Specialist — Madison, WI
If you’ve built a team of people you trust, giving an employee the flexibility they desire should be easy. Millennials are connected — we are always on our phone. If something happens and you need us, you will be able to find us. I’m much more likely to work 24/7 if I’m not tied to the office. If I’m expected to work 8-5 with no flexibility, then that is all the work you’re getting out of me. I won’t be checking emails and phone messages at night or on the weekends. Flexibility = happiness.
Head of Creative Department
TruckDrivingJobs.com — Los Angeles, CA
I feel as though I have been incredibly lucky to have my position at my company because I have been put in at atmosphere that has allowed me to hone my skills in a real-world capacity, where the decisions I make and professional progress I see can can make a positive and successful impact for my company.
Cybernautix Ltd. — Newcastle, Staffordshire, UK
Having asked for specific training in order to further myself in many of my previous roles, I was frustrated that often my personal development was considered unnecessary because of how well I was already performing in those roles. I was actually told by one employer that if they gave me the training I was asking for, I’d probably leave!
I joined Cybernautix at the beginning of 2016, with minimal professional experience of programming, however, the business owner was aware of the personal experience I’d gained having self taught for projects I’d completed for charity and friends, along with the professional experience I had in office / project management and was therefore willing to invest in my personal development. I’ve since spent on average 1 day per week developing my knowledge of a variety of programming languages and the rest of my time designing & building websites, taking care of our marketing function and generally keeping our clients happy.
I also get to work from home and manage my own time and workload, the autonomy, flexibility and variety I enjoy is part of what makes this job great but the faith my boss has in me and the importance he’s willing to place on my development is massive.
I’ve got constant opportunities to continue learning, it keeps me motivated and I’ve absolutely no plans to look for another job. It amazes me how few employers I’ve come across who understand the huge benefits that can be achieved through investing in their staff.
Casablanca Exchange — Minneapolis, MN
Second, I get to be in the exciting new frontier of eCommerce and learn new things every day about digital marketing, web design, operations management, style trends and more.
Third, I get to partner with my sister-in-law Fouzia who is based in Morocco and who is our buyer. Having people who you love to work with and who you can trust and rely on makes it so much easier. More than anything though being a Founder and an Owner allows me to take agency of my own destiny and business. If I put the work in, I see the rewards.
Earlier in my career I was in corporate banking and then in IT Management and while I enjoyed the people I worked with, having my own business has allowed me get a sense of fulfillment I have never experienced before.
CEO and Founder
Fernberry — Hong Kong
After a while I felt like I wanted more meaning in doing what I do. And so I started Fernberry which is a brand that focuses on producing with “patience” products that are good and safe.
I’m Fern Koh, a Chemist, CEO and founder of Fernberry Skincare. I have developed products for brands such as Calvin Klein, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret as well as luxury brands like La Mer, Marc Jacobs, etc. Later on, I joined Li & Fung, a global sourcing firm at LF Beauty and managed their Innovations division for beauty packaging. Today, me and my team continue to research and develop new products.
Workers should devote their time and focus on family and relationships rather than spending more effort at work. Work-life balance is extremely important to still have passion and not be burned out at work. When a worker has this balance, he puts in more effort, love, and care at work.
Fernberry believes in the Slow Movement because we believe in the quality of life. While we are not techno-phobic, nor do we claim to eschew technology, we believe in making life’s choices in a very intentional and slow way. We believe in eschewing consumerism and connecting with the products we use, at a deeper level; by intentionally choosing what we want and how we want it. This is why Fernberry has a very strong work-ethic. Whatever we are going to do, we are going to do extremely well, while enjoying every single step of the journey, and putting in our soul at it.
Lane Community College
Academic Advisor — Eugene, OR
-making a real, honest difference
-working remotely, not in an office
-writing and publishing
-the ability to move around during the day (not chained to a desk)
-learning new information all the time and sharing with others
You know, it’s even a bit enlightening just writing that list.
Perhaps the biggest sacrifice would be moving to either Los Angeles or New York if, best case scenario, I were to become employed there. I’d be leaving my family, friends and everything I know, but it’s most definitely a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
One Tribe Apparel — Philadelphia, PA
I always wanted to start a business and after learning the ropes working at a marketing agency I’ve been able to create my dream job.
With One Tribe Apparel we have a fully remote team that I can manage from anywhere in the world and I’ve been living abroad for the past three years in Thailand, Vietnam, Ireland and now Mexico City.
I love my job because we get to create really interesting content and grow a global community through our social media channels. To date we’ve collaborated with women in over 40 countries and earlier this year we released an international lookbook that featured women from 6 continents and 16 countries.
Head of Marketing
SlickPie — Vancouver, BC
I’ve had what it seemed like a dream job to me in the past, but then something unexpected happened. I spent so much time idealizing how that job was going to be awesome that when I actually started working I became disappointed. It was only years later that I understood that no dream job will feel ‘dreamy-like’ on a regular basis.
Your day-to-day can certainly be improved if you are working with what you love in a healthy working environment, but there will be many less-than-great days on your journey. Today I have a job that I really like for the most part of it and that I even love in some special moments, but some days I just have to face a huge drought of passion and that’s okay. I feel much better living an imperfect job that I really like than dreaming about a perfect one that simply doesn’t exist.”
Accelerator Program Manager
NewBoCo — Cedar Rapids, IA
– Our organization is highly mission focused. I know what our goal is (accelerating world-changing ideas from Iowa), and I get to be a part of making big things happen. I love that my work matters.
– Community – we all genuinely care for each other. I was on a work trip in Denver when my grandpa’s health took a severe turn to the worse. My boss picked me up from the airport in the middle of the night and had coffee and food ready for me and my family so that I could be with them as he passed away. This isn’t the only time people have stepped up to care for each other in harsh situations – it’s just part of who we are here.
– Constant mentorship. I manage our mentor network for entrepreneurs, and many of those mentors have taken me under their wing. Having people who founded multi million dollar businesses looking out for your success is an incredible asset as a young professional.
– Unlimited vacation time. This is great!
– And, I’m never bored. We do everything from summer camps to an investor network to policy advocacy. I have a lot of flexibility with what I work on. I’m challenged and supported constantly.
– No performance reviews. We work as an “agile/scrum” organization. We give and receive feedback constantly, so there’s no big rush or worry about performance reviews. I can vocally disagree with our executive director and that’s highly encouraged. I know the feedback I give matters, and that makes receiving feedback even easier.
I feel really lucky to be here!
Industrial Athlete — Bolton Valley, VT
Being an industrial athlete I’m skillfully using my mind and body to do the task at hand. I get to play outdoors, meet new people and experience new adventures pretty much everyday. For about five months out of the year I’m a ski lift operator, seven months I’m an exterior house painter and for the remaining I do as I please or feel is fitting. It’s not about having money, it’s about having fun. It’s fair to say, I’ve sacrificed consistent pay, just so I don’t find myself watching the clock, waiting for my work day to end.
Inverse Culture — Sydney
In my other role, I am working the corporate dream where I am working hard in a huge organisation, trying to climb the career ladder. In both of these roles, my dreams of being safe and secure, as well as being able to express myself come into play. To be able to do what I want, but to also have job security and satisfaction is absolutely wonderful and I could not imagine it being better!
Editor in Chief
Bookmakers — Athens, Greece
I always liked watching sports. I also loved writing. My dream was to one day become a sports journalist. Unfortunately, as years went by I decided I should learn something more practical, something that would put food on the table. I followed my gut and studied marketing & management, as at the time, I thought it would land me a job with a steady income, in the next 2-3 years. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
You see, in 2008, when I had finished my military service, the financial crisis hit Greece. Youth unemployment went up as high as 50%, zero hour contracts made their “glorious appearance” while most of my former mates from the university were already considering going abroad. My girlfriend at the time told me to follow her to Munich as she had contacts who would find me a decent job at a local tavern. I don’t know if it was fate or my unwillingness to leave home, but I refused.
For the next 7 years I worked on practically any job on services. Waiter, front desk receptionist, barista, sales manager, photographer, cashier, bellboy, you name it. I longed for more, but it was not about money. I was making more than most guys my age. I could not get fulfillment out of any job. At 29 I decided to quit from yet another job, this time at a recycling factory.
That’s when a close friend of mine got hired by a sports news agency. He told me he worked long hours, however, he also said the magic words”it’s the first time I’ve felt alive on a job”. That’s all I needed to hear. In the next 24 hours I had talked with his editor, agreed to write a sports news column and was feeling more excited than a freshman on his first college party.
I took on everything they threw at me. South East Asian soccer? Why not. NCAA basketball? Try me. World Darts Championship? Oh I love a challenge. I learned every rule and regulation. Every major and minor tournament. Any sport, either well known or obscure. I did not adapt to the job, I was born for it.
After two years and hours upon hours of reporting sports events, I was offered a promotion. Today I am the Director in Chief of my brainchild www.bookmakers.bet, and more in love with my job than ever. A day doesn’t go by without thanking my lucky stars for being able to follow my dreams.
I also enjoy that my current job cares about my progression as an employee and are willing to invest time and money into improving my professional skills.
It took me almost 10 years to find my way of doing it. I started my academic career immediately after the graduation, just to understand that working on campus is absolutely not a fit for me. Then my kid was born and I needed to stay at home with him, while I was absolutely sure I do not want to quit trying to find my professional way.
So I took a postgraduate course in web development and started my own web project – a non-profit resource for young parents just like us to help them with dealing the same problems I dealt with: healthy upbringing while studying and working.
In several years I found myself in a situation when I needed to move further. Due to many financial and business reasons I decided that all of my skills and experience with web project management can be a great fit for business digital marketing positions.
But still I wanted to have my freedom and flexibility of working on my own schedule at my own pace. The remote work was not so usual here those days, but I not only proved I can handle it, I grew to the strategic / executive level positions with the companies I worked for.
My dream work is always at the frontier of all things digital marketing. I work substantially for the US based companies, but during recent years I lived and traveled Europe, Japan, Hong Kong. The schedule I created for me allowed not only to deal with my responsibilities and manage international teams, but also do the research work in marketing, publish and speak at the industry events.
I’d recommend anyone who cannot be absolutely happy with 9-5 office work to try remote / travel. It really can widen the horizons and set new perspectives if you accept the challenge