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5 Reasons Why a Good Enough Job is Better Than a Dream Job

In a world obsessed with the pursuit of dreams, the concept of the dream job remains mainstream. From childhood, we're encouraged to dream big, set ambitious goals, and reach for the stars in our professional lives. 

But what if that relentless pursuit of the dream job is, in fact, a destruction of the tangible satisfaction of a good enough job?

This week's podcast features Lauren McGoodwin, speaker, author, podcast host, and CEO of Career Contessa–an online career resource with content, career coaching, jobs, a salary database, and online training. 

Today, Lauren and I unpack the myth of the dream job and why you should strive for a good enough job instead.

The Myth of the Dream Job

While "dream jobs" vary for everyone, they often include working in a fancy office building or for a brand name company, having an important title or corner office. Lauren describes these as the “glitter” parts of a job. 

However, we get so stuck in the dream job black hole that we might miss or pass up other amazing opportunities. Many of us have our identities and self-worth tied to our job titles, making it hard to let go of the dream or step away from what “should have been” the dream job. We fail to see that jobs are only one aspect of a fulfilling life. 

So, if the dream job doesn't exist and we should stop pursuing it, then what should we strive for?

Lauren's answer is to pursue a good enough job.

What is a Good Enough Job?

According to Lauren, the problem with imagining our dream jobs is that we never imagine long commutes, bad bosses, credit-grabber colleagues, and toxic workplaces that often come with them.

Then, when we experience those in the workplace, we get disappointed and turn to "fixing us", hoping it'll fix everything else. And this cycle is extremely unhealthy.

Lauren encourages people to ditch the dream job concept and instead strive for a good enough job.

A good enough job is a job that doesn't ask you to give your whole life for the job. It fits with your values and allows you to have a life outside of work. For me, that means being done with work at 5 p.m. in time to make dinner for my family.

And Lauren is crystal clear. What people must also understand is that landing a good enough job doesn't mean taking a step down or doing something lesser. It just means that you're being protective of the life you have outside of work and acknowledging that your self-worth isn’t tied to your job.

5 Reasons Why a Good Enough Job is Better

Learning from my conversation with Lauren, a good enough job is practical, not perfect. And here are Lauren's five solid reasons why a good enough job is better than your elusive dream job.

1. Gives You Time and Mental Space to Focus on Your Passions

Our hobbies and interests rejuvenate us. Having a good enough job takes the pressure off of making your job your passion. Instead, it allows you to pursue your passions on the side and truly enjoy them without the pressure of monetizing them. 

2. Takes Your Career Out of a Tunnel Vision

As Lauren mentioned during the interview, a good enough job allows you to broaden what you’re looking for in a job and, therefore, explore more options and work opportunities. It enables us to prioritize our values instead of superficial factors. 

3. Takes the Pressure Off

People who obsess about landing their dream job find themselves being too perfectionist and holding themselves to impossible standards. That is unhealthy and unsustainable. And even if you do land your “dream job”, you might discover that you’re still on the hamster wheel, continually proving that you deserve it. The good enough job keeps you challenged, but not at the expense of your well-being.

4. Gives You Clarity

Working in a good enough job allows you to see your workplace as a place that provides you with a living; hence, it's easier to call out inequities and leave the job behind if it becomes toxic.

When your worth is not attached to your title and job, you can ease up and never put up with bad behaviors or a toxic workplace just because it took you forever to get to that rank.

5. Gives You the Space to be Human

Do you reply to emails at 2 a.m.? What about spending weekends catching up with work? Do you experience sexism, racism, or microaggressions at work? A good enough job is the way out of those.

It allows you to be human–a human who can go to sleep at 10 p.m., go to a doctor's appointment on a weekday, or take a day off to take care of your sick child. 

It’s Time to Ditch the Dream Job

Ditching your dream job takes a lot of courage. It’s a serious mental shift, but one that’s worth it. It's time to reframe our thinking on the dream job and instead start seeking a good enough job. Only then do we open ourselves to a world of possibilities, where success isn’t measured by the grandiosity of our dreams but by the fulfillment we derive from our daily pursuits. So, let go of the myth and discover the joy of having a career worth waking up to every single day.

Listen to my entire conversation with Lauren McGoodwin HERE  to learn more about the good enough job.

Keep up with Lauren McGoodwin

- Follow Lauren on LinkedIn here

- Check her out on Instagram here

- Listen to the Career Contessa podcast here

Giveaway: 3 Copies of Power Moves

Power Moves teaches women how to pivot, reboot, and build a career of purpose. Learn how to use the Power Moves approach to ditch the dream career myth, become your own career coach, and reclaim your life from work. 

Get all of these guest bonuses and many other member benefits when you join The Modern Manager Podcast+ Community.


The Modern Manager is a leadership podcast for rockstar managers who want to create a working environment where people thrive, and great work gets done.

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