The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan



Chase Your Dream Job

Practical ideas for making work fun

By Vicki L. Beyer

book-coverIt would be the rare working adult who hasn’t, at some point, found themselves dissatisfied with their career and, consequently, with their life. This first book by American transplant to Japan Dr. Bob Tobin offers a variety of ideas and insights to empower the reader to achieve and maintain work-life satisfaction.

What Do You Want to Create Today: Build the Life You Want at Work is effectively self-guided executive coaching, peppered with Tobin’s own stories and those of some of his past clients, as real-life examples of his points.

Tobin urges readers to begin by looking closely at themselves: “The first step for you to gain satisfaction in your career is to know yourself and what you want.” This includes understanding what you want work to look and feel like.

Tobin suggests this is where the question posed by the title of his book comes into play. He recommends tools such as keeping a journal, traveling to remove yourself from your comfort zone, and meditation.

Tobin recommends that readers then identify their life dreams: those “aspirational thoughts about how your life could be when your work aligns with your values.” These, he says, are quite distinctive from the objectives that most of us are accustomed to setting annually at work.

Useful as such goal setting might be in getting things done, Tobin maintains that over-fixating on objectives can actually be a distraction, pulling us away from doing what matters.

True to the coaching nature of the book, Tobin provides a number of practical steps to apply in the workplace, to improve both the environment and our ability to operate effectively in it.

Interestingly, the first is “read the air,” a rather typical practice among Japanese. The second, “tough is good,” does not mean being tough, but is more an exhortation to embrace that which is difficult if it proves necessary to achieve our dreams. That which does not kill us only makes us stronger.

Tobin also provides invaluable insights on how to “get rid of the jerks.” It is easy to recognize how essential this is to one’s peace and well-being, but according to Tobin, it is not always easy to achieve.

He even confronts us with the notion that we may be creating the jerks by our interactions with colleagues. Once again, there are plenty of practical ideas for overcoming these situations and for creating positive energy from the people around us.

“Courage matters,” Tobin tells us. It is important to be true to yourself and do what feels right to you, even if it is not what everyone else says you should be doing. This connects well with the dreams we identified earlier and also returns to the title question.

We also see how life-long learning, particularly learning something completely new, can also stimulate us, and benefit our working life, in unexpected ways. Equally unexpected is his exhortation to approach each working day determined to have fun and make it fun for others.

Tobin has spent a couple of decades on his own journey to find work–life satisfaction. In this book, he is sharing what he has discovered, empowering us to do the same.



Vicki L. Beyer is a vice president of the ACCJ.