80% Do Not Have “Dream Job”

April 9, 2013 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The vast majority of full time working Americans (79%) admit they are in jobs that do not reflect their true career passions.

If given a chance to land their dream gig, 83% would jump at the opportunity, according to a USA Network poll. Eighty percent of Americans admit they have thought about abandoning their careers for something else at some point; 86% work to pay bills and survive; while a mere 13% were lucky enough to be living to work.    

Out of those fortunate to have landed their dream gig, only two in 10 started off in that job. Also, 63% of working Americans would choose a different job if money did not matter.    

The poll found more than half are afraid to switch careers, and 42% cite family obligations as a barrier to pursuing their dream job.  Older women (61%) are most likely to say they are scared to switch careers and younger men are least likely (48%). Young men (89%) are also most likely to take their dream job if it was offered.

Underscoring the financial barriers to the pursuit of happiness, the majority of Americans would leave their current job and do something else if they won the lottery: 42% would go to a different job, 32% would quit working altogether and 25% would stay. Young people (47%) were more likely to say they would pursue a new career, while older people (38%) would quit working altogether.  

The erosion of the traditional nine to five workday has led to a monumental shift in the commitment to work for the American workforce with, most surveyed feeling they are knocking themselves out 24/7. Two-thirds of respondents say they think about their job even when not at work; and 28% of full time working Americans must bring work home just to get everything done.  

So what are the professions today that Americans really crave? Topping the list were professional athlete (11%), actor/actress (10%), CEO (10%) and chef (9%).  Teacher, pilot, artist and doctor each were selected by 8% of respondents.  

Gfk Custom Research LLC, Public Affairs and Corporate Communications Group conducted interviews from 3/12 to 3/18 with a total of 1,016 adults ages 25 to 54 who are employed full time.