After 20 years' nursing experience, and 10 years in the USAF, I have had many notions of a "dream job" Right before graduating nursing school, my "dream job" came to me quite by accident, in the form of an interested OB unit manager who on the advice of one of my nursing instructors, called me and asked ME for an interview. I came into nursing JUST to be an OB nurse. It was a dream come true, in every way.
But like all dreams, some things and sometimes, they go sour. I was getting burnt out on the long shifts (sometimes in excess of 13-15 hours), without time to pee or eat, (you don't know pain til you realize 13 hours in, you have not been to the toilet and what comes out is orange-brown eww)------and I tired of some of the horrible family situations I saw babies being born into. I came to strongly dislike my job. It made me tremendously sad, since this was what I thought I would do til I retired. But my body aches and exhaustion and age, I guess, caught up with me and I knew I was done in OB. I had no business there the last couple years I was. Life is funny and things change sometimes, beyond our control.
I spent a year or so floundering, figuring out what I would do, worked a nursing home (I love the elderly) and also surgical nursing and in a doctor's office. I finally landed in dialysis, quite by mistake, ( a friend was a PCT and told me about it)----and found I loved it. I liked the hours better and the fact I got to know my patients; some became like family to me.
Now, I am in a managerial position, regular hours (actually I decide when to go in and when to leave) and have the option to work from home on occasion, and again, the dream is alive. I am challenged beyond belief, sometimes to the point of exhaustion and wanting to quit. But I know I am making a difference not just in patients' lives but those of my team. I also get to travel on occasion for conventions and education, which I have found I really love. Interacting with nurses around the country is amazing and such a wonderful learning experience. Now that my kids are grown and working on their own, I really can do whatever I want without the worry of childcare (I homeschooled my kids on a schedule of 2 nightshifts a week). I made it work somehow for a lot of years. Once the kids grew up, the possibilities of new experiences opened up like flowers in springtime.
Life is not a dream; the reality is, we have to figure out what we want and stop at nothing to get it, working hard and being true to ourselves and others; honesty and hard-work win each time.
My current position allows me some flexibility in hours and I am salary, which can be a blessing and a curse. When there are callouts nursing wise, I usually wind up covering them. But then I can elect to work from home the following day to catch up, uninterrupted, and get it done. I love working with my staff, talking to them, getting to know them and round daily on both them and the patients to make sure everyone is doing ok. I am in a position to effect some change culturally and practice-wise and that is wonderful.
How long will I do this? I have no idea. I am already thinking of what may be next. Maybe case management or working from home for insurance companies or something. Telecommuting has its attraction for me as I live "out in the sticks" near the west coast. Not having to drive into work every day, and doing the job in my jammies, has a definite appeal especially as I get older. I am not afraid to take a leap of faith and try something new which in just the past few years, I would never have had the guts to do. Staying in one position was "security" for me but miserable in the end.
So, you see, in my example, the "dream" has changed, many times over. Never set your sights on just one thing. Be open to all possibilities; try new things, and be brave and make the changes needed to keep you stimulated and current----and ready to learn. That way, your career CAN be the "dream" all of us hope for but can be so elusive.
Really, hard work, good reputation, being reliable and respected are critical to having and keeping any "dream job". That will win you the "dream" more than settling on one specialty without opening your mind to all possibilities. That's what has worked for me for almost 21 years now.