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Have you ever had that feeling that something is off, but you are not sure what? For those of you who may not know, the picture above is of a round bale feeder. The cattle are SUPPOSED to stand on the outside and reach in with their necks to feed. This heifer decided to just stand inside the feeder! Not sure how she managed that! It did remind me of a job I had years ago where everything felt off, and how I was faced with finding the right job.
In the 90’s I began working as a flight attendant. In general, I loved this job. It was flexible, I had unbelievable flight benefits and the sun was almost always shining above the clouds.
But, alas, there came a time when I needed a job with more stable hours, where I was home every night. So I took another job.
One in a cubicle.
I couldn’t see the sun.
My only view was that of my computer screen.
But, no worries. I was home every night. It offered more stability for my family, and it had great benefits. And my income would soon surpass what I had previously been making. It would all work out, right??
I tried my hardest to like that job. But all I became was more and more drained. Though I interacted with the public, most of my time was spent staring at a computer screen trying to understand policy that was always changing. The joke in the office was that by time you finished verifying everything on a case the government policy had changed and you really should start over!!
Truly, I was thankful for the position, however, I came to realize it was NOT a good fit for me. Increasingly, I dreaded work and I began to struggle to even cope with life, feeling depressed and anxious. “You can retire in only 30 years,” my co-workers said trying to be encouraging. That’s not going to help me, I thought, since I’ll be dead in 3!!
Out of this experience, I realized there is more to finding a good job than the right schedule and pay. You need to enjoy what you do and receive energy from your vocation.
So what are the steps to finding the right job for you??
1.List tasks that give you energy. The right job for you will cause you to feel excited about the day ahead. You will receive satisfaction and energy when you are in the position or career field that fits you best.
No matter how young you are right now chances are you have had numerous jobs. Some have been at home, at church, in the community and hopefully a few that actually paid.
Think about all the tasks involved in each job. What parts did you like or love? Which duties did you find actually fun? Did you discover that you love to work around people or more specifically older adults? Did you actually find satisfaction is organizing your room or office? Were you energized working in a high pressure environment?
These are all clues about yourself. Make a list of all the jobs or parts of the job that you have enjoyed. Include any specifics. For example if you realized that you enjoyed working at the local clothing boutique what part did you love the most? Interacting and chatting with the public, creating displays, bookkeeping or boosting your sales by helping customers find accessories to complete their outfits?
2.List tasks which drain you. Just as important as knowing what brings you joy is understanding what depletes you. Again, looking back at all the “jobs” you have ever had. What are the ones that you dreaded the most?
Create a list of duties that you just struggle with or sap you making you feel exhausted. Again, the more detailed you can be about your list the more helpful it will be to you. For example, I enjoy jobs where I am around people, but if you put me in a room of little people all day long (or even a couple of hours!) I’m going to really struggle!
3.Take inventory of your current position. Based on the above criteria are you in the completely wrong job and you need to start looking for a new position immediately or are there possibilities within your current job?
Be honest about your response to this question. It is ok to look at a job that is a nice solid job and accept that it crazy making for YOU! And don’t tell yourself, “Well I’ll just stick it out for another 10 years.” That 10 years may be the only years you have left on this earth.
Take an evaluation and create a plan from there.
4.Create a job you love within your current field. How could you tweak your current job to make it work for you? Could you ask for more responsibility in an area you love? Say, you enjoy social media and the company you are working for is lacking in that area. Could you ask to create a more positive public image?
When I was trapped in my cubicle job, and no other job prospects were immediately in sight, I began to let my boss know that if she ever needed anyone to go interview clients off site I was more than eager to go. So on a few occasions when we had to go to a client, guess who my boss sent? Me! Freedom!! I took advantage of training opportunities and even asked them to send me to a victim advocacy conference I was interested in that could aid me in my current position.
Is it possible to switch or move up in positions at your present company? When I was in the airline industry, several flight attendants I knew transitioned from flying a line to working in the office. They enjoyed working in aviation, loved the benefits but found it a struggle to be away from their families on 3 and 4 day trips.
5.Find a new job. After you evaluate your current status you may discover that you are definitely due for a total career move. Great! Get started today!
Maybe you have an idea in mind, but it will not pay in the beginning. Begin to work on it a few hours every week while you are at your current job. Create a list of workable goals and take action. If you are not sure the best way to break into the field, research it or talk to others that are currently doing what you would love to do to generate some actionable steps!
Perhaps you are not sure where you should be. What Color is Your Parachute: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Bolles is the book for career development. They also have one for teens which sometimes I recommend even to adults as it is easy (and even fun) to work through. As you read through the book, you will begin to see all the amazing gifts and talents you have and you will slowly start to see a picture unfold of your dream job!! So Exciting!!
If you read through the information today, and confirmed that you already found the best job for you then YAY!! That is truly wonderful.
However, if you realized that you are not in the right place then it is time to take action. Sit down and work through what you love to do and what are draining tasks. From there decide if it would serve you best to work within the job you are currently in or if you are ready to begin a new career. And then take the next step