Earn Work-Life Balance

Why You Don’t Need A “Dream Job” with Simone Stolzoff

Haley Paskalides  |  July 12, 2023

Still waiting on your "dream job"? Feel like your sense of self is tied up in your career? Here’s how to prioritize life outside of work.

Ah, the elusive “dream job.” Many people are obsessed with finding it, because we think our lives will be complete once we land it. But what if we put less weight into our careers, and more weight into other aspects of our lives? In many ways, the pandemic forced us to do just that—we re-thought where we wanted work, how we wanted to work, and how much we were willing to give up for them (in commuting hours, at least). Yet, many of us still rely on our jobs for our healthcare, our retirement matching dollars, and even a good dose of our self-worth. 

Simone Stolzoff, author of the book “The Good Enough Job: Reclaiming Life From Work,” says we all need to find a career that matches the type of life we most want to live… And how do we find that? It’s possible to separate our life and work – and the first step is surprisingly straightforward. Simone says one simple thing we can all do is carve out space in the workweek to be fully present with other aspects of our lives that are important to us, whether that’s a recreational sports team, a craft, or trying a new recipe. Whatever you’re most passionate about, it’s time to pursue it. 

READ MORE FROM OUR INTERVIEW: Why You Should Find YOURSELF Rather Than A “Dream Job”

“Much as an investor benefits from diversifying the sources of their investment,” he says, “we benefit from diversifying the different sources of meaning in our life.” Another liberating way we can look at our jobs is by treating them as “transactional,” he says. This can help us think about our jobs as part of our lives, but not the entirety of our lives.

Simone is a self-proclaimed ‘recovering workist.’ (Workism was defined by Derek Thompson, and the idea is that a workist treats work similar to how a religious person might treat their faith… fully devoted!) Simone says the greatest risk of being a workist is that “a work-centered life can crowd out other aspects of who we are. When we are giving all of our best time and our energy to our careers, it can crowd out and neglect the other identities and sources and meaning that we have.” In other words, a “dream job” is never worth the sacrifice of your life’s other big dreams.  

Lastly, in Mailbag, we offer advice on how to protect yourself when your employer has been hacked and whether you should pay off your home early. In our money tip of the week, is 2023 the right year to buy an electric car?


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All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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