Choosing Dream Jobs and Workplace Perks

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You don't always get what you want, in life or in your career. In fact, most of your day is made up of compromises between what you want and what others are asking for. You rearrange your priorities to keep projects moving, to earn a bigger paycheck, to accommodate your family. But if somebody asked you what you really wanted, would you answer your job or the perks that come with it?

A CareerBuilder survey revealed the choices that workers will make when faced with hard decisions (like choosing between a bigger paycheck or a shorter workweek) and the dream jobs we secretly yearn for. How would you answer?

Would you rather...
Workplace perks are becoming a bigger selling point in finding a new job, but you can't expect to get it all. The survey attempted to find what workers really want, asking:

If you had to choose between the following at work, which would you choose?
  • A car (76 percent) vs. a smartphone (24 percent)
  • Air conditioning (54 percent) vs. Internet access (46 percent)
  • Free lunches at work (63 percent) vs. the ability to wear jeans every day (37 percent)
  • A bigger paycheck (77 percent) vs. a shorter workweek (23 percent)
  • An office (71 percent) vs. your own bathroom (29 percent)
  • A concierge (70 percent) vs. a valet (30 percent)
Dream careers and second careers
Most careers end up looking different from what we imagined while growing up, because we find more practical options or follow the labor market's in-demand jobs. Though we pursue careers that are different from what we originally hoped for, we never really forget what we'd like to be doing if we could. The survey got to the heart of this, asking:

If you could do any job in the world, what would it be? The top 10 answers include:
  1. Professional athlete
  2. Actor
  3. Teacher/instructor, K-12
  4. Artist/designer
  5. Photographer
  6. Veterinarian
  7. Chef/cook
  8. Computer programmer
  9. Police officer
  10. Engineer

Resources to guide a career change
If you'd rather make a career switch to something new or to your original dream job, check out these resources that can help you determine if a career switch is the right move for you:
  • "How I stumbled into my dream career:" Some people have known since they were young what they wanted to do for work. Others took a less-direct route to get to their dream career path.
  • "Why uncertainty is necessary for a career switch:" When you're entering the workforce for the first time, it's natural to be nervous about your career and uncertain of how things will turn out. But what about later in life, when you're ready for a change or career switch?
  • "Navigating a career crossroads:" When standing at a career crossroads, you need to give careful thought to the consequences of your actions. Take into account your unique situation and the potential benefits of making -- or not making -- a change.
  • "5 tough questions to ask before a career change:" Getting started in a new field often means taking a cut not just in pay but also in security and prestige -- at least for a while.
  • "Quiz: Are you really ready to switch careers?:" Have you thought carefully about the personal and professional implications of making a switch, or have you decided that anything is better than what you're doing?
  • "Why quitting my job was the best decision I ever made:" Everybody's had a project, co-worker or boss who has caused them to think, "I'm going to quit!" But rarely do we follow through with the threat, and usually the job gets better or the problem gets fixed. But for some people, choosing to quit has been the best decision they ever made.
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