When Did Having a Dream Become Entitlement?

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Upon recent review of a MamaMia article about how people who can’t find their dream should just “suck it up” I’ve had some philosophical time (ooh goody, I hear you say). 

It’s become clear lately that having a dream, a profession that you want so badly that you’re willing to study hard for it or work hard to get hired in it, is no longer an option under some people. Apparently wanting that makes you entitled, and the age of entitlement is over guys, if you haven’t heard. While I think refusing to work at all until your dream job comes along and living off the dole when you’re perfectly capable of working is wrong, and a little bitchy, that’s not the reality for many people. I’m talking about the people who work their freaking arses off to get the qualification and hunt down any opportunity they can to be in the area they love. And are then rewarded with a hostile job market where there are thousands of applicants for one job, and everyone is pretty damn good. People who no matter how hard they try cannot get into the place they want despite being highly qualified, simply told “it’s really about who you know these days” or “everyone gets that”. Meanwhile they struggle to vie for jobs they don’t really want. They’re rejected for jobs as admin assistants, retail workers, or manual labour jobs due to lack to relevant experience. If they actually get one it’s not fulfilling, often boring, and dead end. But they do it anyway, because you do what you have to do to survive. 

According to many commentators this situation should be how it is, not an alternative. The problem with the belief that those who aspire to better for themselves (a definition which varies depending on what you love. If you love what you do, it’s a dream job. Admin assistant, lawyer or freaking abattoir worker) are superior or pompous. To deny that the human soul does not dream and desire in a conscious way that spurs action is folly. We are told as young children that we should never stop dreaming, that if we work hard we can be or do anything. Upon reaching adulthood, being told that your dream should change to a more economically sound dream can be crushing. Not being able to do what you love can be depressing, soul crushing. Just ask people who have lost their jobs; or to people who changed careers and found a new dream because theirs was going nowhere only to face the same roadblocks they did before. 

It’s okay to want things and to be disappointed when it doesn’t happen. I’m sure there are many people who would be superb at their dream job given the chance, but they’re still waiting for that chance to come along. To be told that you’re expected to work and then berated for wanting a job that you enjoy makes little sense. Being on unemployment benefits is not desirable to most people, they will put up with a lot of jobs they hate just to survive. Psychologically, fulfilment is an important aspect of the human existence and we see the tragic consequences of it not happening. Suicide, depression, substance abuse, and violence can all have their roots in lack of fulfilment or job dissatisfaction. It was Bruce Springsteen who wrote songs that seemed to understand the brutality of unfulfilled dreams and the jobs you work just to get by. 

“Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?” – The River 

“When the promise is broken, you go on living but it steals something from down in your soul.” – The Promise 

“End of the day, factory whistle cries; men walk through these gates with death in their eyes.” – Factory 

The emotions associated with dreams and planning are vast and have real world consequences. How often has dreaming of graduation and what’s out there gotten you through a tough study session? How often has planning something exciting made you immensely happy even though it hasn’t happened yet? Dismissing someone’s ambition and telling them to suck it up is just rude, even if you disagree with their point of view. Too often in our society are people cut down for simply daring to bet on themselves or someone else. Respect for other people and what makes them happy just makes you a decent human being. Would you prefer to be among those who encourage you and give you the hard truth when you need it (and not just to lash out because of their own misfortune), or those who project constant negativity? 

You may have to endure some crappy stuff to get there, but never let anyone tell you that your dream is not important. It’s only human. 

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