How To Find a Career You Love?
Last Updated on September 29, 2022
If you spend eight hours a day, five days a week at your job, that means you will be spending 35% of your waking hours at work. Add to that any overtime or extra work that you may complete outside of your normal working day and you can see that a large chunk of your time is spent working.
There is a saying that says, ‘find a job that you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.’ It basically means that if you can follow a career path that brings you enjoyment and fulfillment, going to work will be more of a pleasure and less of a chore.
And let’s face it, life is all about the journey right?
Now, this is all very well and good. But unless you have a long-held passion or know exactly what you’d like to do in your working role, then finding the perfect career is not always easy. It can take quite a bit of trial and error before you find what makes you happy.
The problem with taking too long to find your ideal career is that it can be very easy to become trapped in a job due to salary, length of service, and general ease. Getting stuck in a comfort zone can feel like the safer bet whether you love it or not.
Job hunting can be stressful and hugely time-consuming. But being a ‘job hopper’ can give the wrong impression on your resume, giving employers the idea that you may be unreliable or unable to stick at things for any real length of time.
Finding the right job early on, will reduce the risk of you quitting, or worse, getting fired because you and your chosen company were not a good fit for each other.
Obviously, perfect careers will vary greatly from individual to individual and will be governed by their passions, skills, and interests. But there are a few simple steps that you can take to help you with this important decision.
9 Tips For Finding a Career You Love
1. Generate Ideas
Take a career assessment to generate some ideas if you are really stuck to know what might be a good option for you. There are lots of job sites out there that can help you to find some possible options – it’s a bit like internet dating!
These sites will help you to match your skills, experience, qualifications, and interests to a range of possible career opportunities and may well offer some suggestions that you had not considered or weren’t aware existed.
2. Do Your Research And Connect
Do you have any connections at any of the organizations that you may be considering? Social media is a great facilitator these days. Using Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for example, could help you to connect with existing company employees or indeed, employers.
Ask these contacts for any insights they can give about what the job entails or what it is like to work at their company. These contacts may also be able to provide you with a referral if you decide to pursue your application.
Company profiles on these social media networking sites will also offer more information about ethos and work culture, chances for career progression, and other valuable information.
3. Ask And Answer Questions
However, it is also the time for you to ask some questions of your own. Are you able to meet any of the prospective teams before going for an interview?
Much of what constitutes a ‘perfect’ career is down to the people you work with and the teams in which you operate. Knowing that you will fit well into the company culture and that you have things in common and similar values to your prospective colleagues can go a long way to making sure that you love your job.
Working with a boss that you respect and identify with is a crucial factor in job satisfaction.
4. Are You a Good Fit For Each Other?
Company culture, as mentioned above, is a vital part of job satisfaction. It sounds simplistic but ask yourself, ‘
- do you want to work for this company?’
- Is there a formal structure or more of a casual one and which will best suit you as an individual?
- Are you going to be able to progress in the way that you would like?
- It is also worth considering whether the work schedule will fit with your family responsibilities and personal life; is the work schedule flexible enough for you to be able to be committed and productive?
- Looking at employee reviews on sites such as Glassdoor can help give you an insight about what working for your chosen company will be like from people with experience.
You might consider joining an alumni network to help you make your decision.
5. What Are Your Passions?
Think about all of the things in life that bring you pleasure. For example, do you love music? Now, you may not have the necessary musical talent to make it as the next big pop star or guitar hero, but there will be lots of jobs where you could embrace your passion for music without needing to be a musical impresario.
Jobs such as selling instruments in a music shop or working for an events company that promotes and hosts local band performances could mean that you can be immersed in your favorite world and also work with others who share your passions.
What about if you are passionate about animals? Again it may not be possible for you to become a vet or a jockey, but there are many careers in which you could work with animals – working at a shelter for abandoned animals, managing a pet store, working at an equestrian center, or in the farming sector.
When looking for your perfect career, you may need to think outside of the box a little in order to find something that allows you to follow your dreams whilst being attainable at the same time.
6. Salary May Not Be The Most Important Factor
Of course, we all need to earn money in order to live and meet our financial responsibilities, but try to search without focusing on salary as the top priority. Make a list of your ideal jobs if money was no object and you didn’t have to consider it at all.
This will help you to identify the things you would love to do instead of perhaps something that you do out of necessity. Finding a career that you love may not always be first and foremost about money.
Once you have identified the kind of activities and environments that you think you would really love then you can start to make decisions that will suit you in every way.
Consider entrepreneurs and small business owners. for example. They will quite often work much longer hours than they might if they were employed by someone else. This is often borne out of the drive that is created from passion.
7. Talk To Others Who Know You Well
It is sometimes difficult to think objectively when we are too deeply involved. Our friends and family, the people who know us sometimes better than we know ourselves, can be very good at providing an objective opinion on what they think might suit us best.
Things that you might have overlooked, or priorities such as flexible working hours can sometimes be identified through discussion and debate.
Your friends and family also know you when you are not working, and so they may even have suggestions that perhaps you hadn’t thought of.
We are sometimes our own harshest critics and can find it hard to recognize our unique strengths and talents, whereas a friend will be happy to remind us of these.
7. What Is The Ideal Environment For You?
As mentioned earlier, each ‘perfect’ career will be unique for each unique individual.
- What are your priorities?
- Are you a night owl or an early bird?
- Are your weekends precious for family or leisure time?
- Do you prefer to be indoors or do you love the great outdoors?
- Are you sociable and outgoing or are you someone who prefers their own company?
- Do you like flexible working hours or do you work best on a tightly set schedule?
All of these questions will help you to build a picture of your ideal working environment. If you take a job where you have to work very early in the mornings but you really struggle to wake up early then you are likely to dread each new day.
Conversely, if you do your best work in the mornings but like to finish early, then late evening shifts are unlikely to be right for you. If you are an active person, then a sedentary job is likely to send you a little bit crazy!
You may be thinking that these questions are all quite obvious but you might be surprised at how many people have fallen into a career that they really don’t enjoy because they didn’t take the time to find out what made them ‘tick’ before applying.
9. Grow Your Skill Set
Once you have identified the areas that interest you, it may be a good idea to gain qualifications or undertake training in these areas if you don’t already have any.
The more you develop your skills and capabilities, then the more qualified you will be for a wider set of roles. Undertaking training may also highlight additional roles or industries to which you may be suited and that you may not previously have considered.
Taking the time to identify your passions and talents and then matching them to jobs and career paths means that you are much more likely to find a career that you love rather than one which you merely tolerate, or worse, suffer. Feeling fulfilled at work can enrich your life and ensure that you get the very best from your working life.
Written by Karen Stanley
Karen is a former teacher of 20 years and ten times published author. She writes content for educational organizations and businesses, nationally and internationally. She coaches new and budding writers through to publication and is passionate about creativity; she runs creative writing workshops in schools and fostering agencies.