10 years ago, when Bunny from ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’ said, “Mai kabhi rukna nahi chahta, Naina”, all of us felt it. It was our initial brush with one of those whose life revolved around their glamorous, quirky job – their ultimate dream. But do dream jobs really exist? Or are they a fantasy only meant for TV screens? Should getting a ‘dream job’ be the ultimate endgame of our life? Let’s find out.
Imagine waking up in a new country every day, meeting new people every time and all of that because of your job! What a dream! Anybody would want it. But sadly, none of it’s true.
When we talk about ‘dream jobs’ today, the conversation automatically takes itself to the ‘creative professions’ – a cinematographer, an independent musician or even a travel photographer, like Bunny. It’s bizarre how we think about the ‘dream job’ aka the job that would give the ultimate happiness and satisfaction. An ideal job for us then looks like something outside the ‘boring 9 to 5 routine’, something that gives your life ‘raftaar and pagalpan’ (in Bunny’s words), so that everyday seems like a mystery, an adventure, a rush of adrenaline and presents itself with unusual surprises. All of this sounds glamorous, anybody would fall for it. And this is exactly where the toxic narrative of fantasizing a dream job begins.
Much like the idea of a ‘dream school’ (“my life is worth it only if I get into Harvard”), the idea of a dream job grabs many. We are constantly on the rush to be different, to be unique, to do something outside the box. The ‘motivational’ posters of “only dead fishes go with the flow” or “The road less taken” by Robert Frost scream to us. Doing something ordinary seems like a criminal offence, you are officially branded as a sell-out in the society. Try telling your friends that you dream about nothing besides a 9 to 5 job with your briefcase and filling your boring accounts sheet and…ugh, it’s so dull that I can’t describe it any further. Exactly. That is what is deemed of mundane things.
But then the question arises, what’s wrong with wanting ordinary things? Does life always have to have an extraordinary purpose?
Think about it: A job that is secure, with a proper and adequate salary, with health insurance and that sustains you through the day or a job with no defined hours, meagre pay with no security of sustenance and you could be fired any day. Sadly, the narrative of a dream job has been woven in such a way today that we tend to overlook all the downsides that come with this ideal job. Even though Bunny might be having the time of his life exploring restaurants in Portugal and sipping wine in Paris, at the end of the day, he comes home to an empty hotel room, exhausted through his bones and overworked. But he has quite a sustainable income, you might say. Well, fiction and reality differ, after all. * Winks *
This is also quite a prominent thing that is wrong with the creative industries. They paint a picture of being an industry ‘run by passion’ and ‘doing what you love’ and tend to exploit this same ‘passion’ of people by overworking them. All the sayings like, ‘when you love your work, it never feels like you are working’. All bullsh*t. One fine Tuesday afternoon, after you have been overburdened with tons of job assignments for months, leaving you no time to even have lunch or call your loved ones and not enough income to clear your rent dues, you are going to snap. That dream job ain’t gonna look so dreamy anymore.
But is this all about money? Does capitalism matter over our passions? Not really, but it stealthily creeps into your ‘ideal job’ as well. Imagine working day and night for your ‘passion’ and investing all your sweat and tears into it. Initially, it gives you a sense of satisfaction, of fulfilment. You have something to defend your job at your friend’s party (provided you get the time to attend those because Bunny won’t), “My work fulfils me from within, so what if the pay is less?” But ultimately, you start to wear out. Sometimes, you do not want to wake up in a new city every day. Some days, you just want to cuddle up in your bed, listening to the familiar sounds of the dishwasher at your home, in your home town.
And this brings us to another aspect wrong with this ‘dream job’ and even Bunny mentions it. “Naina, mai kabhi rukna nahi chahta” but Bunny, dream jobs are such wo tumhe rukne bhi nahi dete. That is how the industry runs. Mental health breaks are considered invalid under these settings. What do you mean you need a break from the thing you ‘love’? The only thing that gives you happiness in your life is giving you problems as well? It might sound bizarre, but yes sir, it’s true. Your so-called passion or your ‘monetized hobby’ can give you trouble. Because, essentially, it ain’t a hobby anymore but another cog in the capitalistic wheel that has hypnotized you with its so-called glamour. And hence, ‘rukna’ becomes a non-existent concept in this industry- you work despite how you are feeling because your so-called passionate work will cure and heal you. That’s how they advertise themselves, at least.
And hence, you and me were so easily mesmerized by Bunny’s life back then. Who needs friends and family when your job is already so fun? Well, another major red flag of this dream job narrative. This job asks you to compromise everything, your friends who stood by you for years, your family that hasn’t seen you in ages or the girl you wanted to marry. All of it, for the ‘raftaar’ and the ‘pagalpaan’.
Yes, ordinary life, wanting simple things or ‘dal chawal’ might sound incessantly dull but life often balances itself out. Bunny might be living his ‘udna, daudna, girna’ life but at the end of the day, he comes back home to a cold hotel room, has no clue what his friends and family are doing back in India and hasn’t felt the walls of his childhood home in years. Contrastingly, Naina has a so-called dull and boring job but comes home to a warm family, home-cooked meals and people to lend her a shoulder when she needs it.
Even though it might sound like it, I’m not trying to invalidate having a passion or an ambition. Sure, passions and ambitions are important. They are what keep us going. But it’s also important to sometimes pause, stand back and question the system, wipe your lens and figure out the labels – what is dull and what is glamorous, what is real, what is unreal. And sometimes, to say to yourself that although mai udna, daudna, girna chahta hu; rukna is also important and a part of life, even in your ‘dream job’.
Featured Image Credits: Google Images (iDiva)
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