Your Dream Job May Not Necessarily Make You Rich

There’s a common belief that people who have their dream job are rich. My definition of a dream job is something you love to do, and it may not necessarily make you rich.

I ate at Pink’s Hot Dogs restaurant recently. Pink’s touts itself as a ‘Hollywood legend since 1939’, and they have a broad clientele including many past and present Hollywood celebrities. In 1939, Paul and Betty Pink bought a small pushcart to sell hot dogs for 10 cents and Cokes for 5 cents on a street corner in Hollywood. They started out selling 50 hot dogs a day, and now sell 1500 hot dogs a day. But the success didn’t come right away. Founder Paul Pink used to like to say, “After 40 years you start to make a few bucks.”

I read a story about Carl Barks, a famous Disney comics artist. Carl Barks wrote and drew Donald Duck comics in the 1940s and 1950s and created the character of Donald’s rich uncle, Scrooge McDuck. His Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comic adventures are considered among the best, and were even the inspiration for the Indiana Jones movies. Remember the rolling boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark? And the flooded mine shafts in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? From Uncle Scrooge comics. Carl Barks was pretty much anonymous as a Disney artist, until the neighborhood kids found out, and they used to line up outside to see the house where Donald Duck was drawn. He once remarked, “I wouldn’t mind the fame if the pay was better.”

As a freelance Disney artist working for 25 years, I’m not rich. I live comfortably, but not rich. The work comes and goes, and sometimes when I didn’t get work, I sold my old toys from the 1960s that my Mom kept, on Ebay. So my success as a Disney artist came slowly and after persistently surviving slow times. So your dream job may not necessarily make you rich. But regardless of the monetary riches, your dream job may have other benefits, including loving what you do.