Ideally, we would all spring out of bed, drive to work with a big grin on their faces, and feel just as fulfilled in the workplace as we may do in the evenings and weekends. Sadly, many people are in jobs they don’t exactly well, hate, but they don’t wax lyrical about it either, because they haven’t found that one big thing they want to do with their lives.
If only they had asked the right questions before they chose their current career, and may have chosen the path of happiness rather than headed down the road of regret. And it’s no wonder that so many of us are in this position when you consider how young we’re expected to make career decisions. Think about it: how many of us can truly say we know ourselves, or have enough life experiences, to make a suitable career decision in our teens or our twenties?
How many of us were honestly aware of all the choices available to us when we chose our first job or degree? How many of us jumped on the first career track that someone recommended just to avoid being directionless or chose what our parents did or suggested?
If your career choices don’t feel so good right now, then it’s so important to spend some time and energy planning your next move. Here are some great things to consider to ask that hopefully will help you figure out your passions and re-route yourself to a career path you love. There is after all no such thing as a job for life so there’s time to explore and expand into new exciting fields.
So What Makes for that Kick Ass Career?
We all show up at work to make money so we can pay the bills, war and occasionally go out and have fun. That’s a good reason to play it safe in your current job. But if you’re looking for a job that excites you, then you must start by understanding what makes you excited to wake up every day. This is important, because a job from heaven for one person might be a job from hell for another. We’re not all the same!
You really need to consider all aspects of a job when thinking about your dream career. For instance, do you want a career ….
- Where you can excel at your work and be a master at what you do?
- Where you can solve complex problems?
- Where you can continually look for improvements?
- Where people and relationships matter?
- Where you can turn up, put the hours in, and go home at a reasonable time each day?
- Where you contribute and serve some sort of social purpose?
- That provides regular changes and travel to new environments; not a routine?
- Where you can work from home?
- Where you dabble in lots of topics, instead of specialising in one skill (or vice versa)?
Just be aware there are very few careers that will offer everything you could possibly wish for. Think more about the “right job.” Which tasks are right for you? Which environment? Which people do you enjoy working with? For what money? What’s non-negotiable about your list? with this list you can form a sort of job description and you can create your own ranking system. You can use this to measure your current career as well as the alternative career choices you may be weighing up.
What do I have to offer?
The second question refers to your own contribution: What skills do you bring to the table? What can you do to ensure you feel good and happy to go to work?
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel I have so many strings to my bow that I struggle to break them all down into actual skill sets that an employer could use. And other days, I feel like I have no useful skills at all! It’s incredibly hard to be objective about your own talents and motivations. And it’s so, so tempting to pretend you’re something you’re not in a vain attempt to fit yourself to a job that sounds cool but would be truly awful for you. this maybe where a coach may help out.
Also you should consider taking a personality test such as the MBTI test. The Myers Briggs MBTI test cover such areas as work style, communication style, learning preferences,conflict management, decision-making and what you need in your work environment to thrive.
It is not a skills based test but will help guide you into areas that may ‘float your boat’. It drills down into those personality traits which have the most influence on your working style and points you toward your ideal career path. The test feeds back a list of real-world jobs that match your strength areas.
Can I be myself or do I have to conform to a type to fit in?
We all adapt our behaviour to some degree at work, and that’s fine. There’s an etiquette associated with the professional world that requires us to behave in ways that would not necessarily be our preferred way of responding in other situations. But if you catch yourself constantly acting out of character, or suppressing your personality, then this is usually a dead giveaway that your current job is not a good fit.
However, before you leap into a new career, it’s important to ask yourself whether the stress you’re experiencing is job-specific, business-specific or career-specific. Does the culture of your current role environment limit your freedom to express who you are—in which case, you may just need to find a similar role in a new environment?
Or do the basic functions of the role leave you cold and tired? Are you blowing off tasks that you really do not enjoy doing? Are you forever forcing yourself to be something you’re not? Are going home drained and feeling demotivated?
We all have tasks we don’t enjoy doing, but these tell-tale signs of exhaustion indicate that the role itself is leaving you more stressed than you realise, that you’re playing to your weaknesses and not to your strengths, and the career just isn’t a sustainable fit.
How far are you prepared to take it?
Everyone wants an amazing, fulfilling career that makes a good living—but not everyone wants late nights in the office, stifling bureaucracy, long commutes and the pressure that comes with a high-performance position . People want to be fulfilled without the sacrifice and that’s okay. Sadly, it’s also a pipe dream. Every career has its drawbacks. You have to be sure that you’re willing to put up with them in exchange for the benefits. So how much pain are you prepared to take for your perfect career? A huge part of finding the right career path is balancing the negative experiences with the positive ones.
Only make a career switch when you have done your homework – maybe met up with people in the field to get the insider info, and fully researched what you’ll need to succeed.
It’s key to look at your career path in the context of the rest of your life—family, relationships, hobbies, fitness, community and whatever else you have going on that makes you a happy, healthy person.
You know you’re on the right career path when you strike the right balance. With your work life balance each feeding and supporting the other, so you’re doing what makes you the happiest and most content across all areas of your life.