Work is a vital component in each of our lives.
We need to work to make money to pay our bills, buy food, get medical coverage and other benefits, and to contribute to our societies.
At some point, the base purpose of our jobs is simply to provide for our needs.
However, considering the percentage of our daily hours that are spent at work, and consequently the percentage of our lives we spend working, just meeting that base purpose isn’t enough.
The average person spends 1/3 of their life at work.
That’s 1/3 of all the time you have.
If possible, that time should be spent doing work that you love.
It is important to take care of those base needs, and sometimes the situation doesn’t allow for mobility to make the positive change toward a career you’d love, but you also don’t know if you don’t try.
You’d be surprised at the opportunities that are available if you know where to look and what to look for.
Before you go and quit your job, strategize first and process through what it is you want to spend that time doing for work.
You can’t find that perfect fit if you don’t know what to try on.
There are so many job categories, job positions, and options to do meaningful work that it can be overwhelming.
To narrow it down and start your search for a career path that will make you happy, identify your answers to these questions:
What are the important aspects that you require from a job?
Just like house hunting or apartment searching, there are certain amenities that you don’t want to live without.
You might only want a place that has a dishwasher, or an in-unit washer and dryer, or reserved parking.
They are small things, things you absolutely could live without but you would prefer not to sacrifice these because of the contribution they have to your life as a whole.
Looking for a job is no different than looking for a place to live.
There are amenities at our places of work that we don’t want to live without.
What are these “deal-breakers” for your search?
- You have to make a certain hourly wage or salary: what do you need to earn to cover those basic needs and all your bills?
- How far are you willing to commute? Just like with real estate: location, location, location.
- What is your ideal shift? What hours are you willing to work, or prefer to work? The night shift? Mornings? Afternoons? What window will contribute most your life?
What is your ideal environment?
Identifying your ideal work environment will narrow your search down drastically.
The environment we work in plays a huge factor toward our happiness.
If we aren’t in a suitable environment to spend 1/3 of our lives in, then of course we’re going to be unhappy.
- Do you like working with people?
- Do you excel by working alone?
- Are you the most productive in high-pressure situations with strict deadlines?
- Do you need something relaxed and easy going?
- Do you like working with the public?
- Do you hate working with anyone at all?
- Do you hate working with anyone at all?
What skills do you have?
Based on your education, work experience, hobbies, and natural aptitude we all have profitable skills that we can contribute toward a career.
What are you good at?
What can you leverage for your career?
You might be surprised at the skills you have.
Some of them might never have occurred to you as being a skill.
Yes, all those hours spent on Reddit and Tumbler can count toward your career if it has helped you build swift typing skills!
Just about every career requires typing skills. Social media management, administrative assistants, copy writers, coders, courtroom recorders, etc. all need typing skills.
Yes, all those methods you use to keep the house clean and the kids dropped off at their right sport is a marketable and desired skill!
This is great for office management, project management, administrative work, record keeping, and helping businesses and other workplaces get more organized and streamline their efficiency.
This one is huge! If you can notice small errors and track tiny details then you’re already ahead of the game when it comes to careers like data entry, finance, quality assurance, copy editing, proofreading, lab technician, pharmacy, computer programming, etc.
Outgoing and friendly personality?
Yes, even your personality is a skill. If you can talk to people easily and build positive connections with strangers then you are well-suited for sales, public relations, customer service, client management, and marketing or advertising positions.
Critical thinking skills?
This one is also hugely important! If you can think critically and logically your skill is in demand.
Positions like: project management, data analysis, research, information analysis, etc. all need critical thinkers.
Any position that requires managing timelines, deadlines, and multiple projects are looking for critical thinkers—especially if you’re also organized!
How do you want to contribute your time?
A big part of a career is the impact that we have to our society and to other people in the world around us.
Every job and career contributes whether it is as simple and important as keeping our public spaces clean or as complex and important as budgeting city funding for repairs and development.
Every job contributes in some way to a larger picture, how do you want to contribute to that picture?
What will make you feel like your time is being used in a valuable way?
Fields to consider:
- Education: even if you don’t want to be a teacher, there are hundreds of jobs in education that require a variety of experience and education levels. Some are: para educator, librarian, administrative assistants, office managers, HR, finance, curriculum writers, bus drivers, cafeteria servers, security guards, counselors, social workers, etc.
- Criminal Justice:
this is a large field that extends beyond police work. Some positions in criminal justice include: courtroom recorder, records keeper, processing, finance, emergency phone operators, social work, and more.
- City work:
this covers so many positions that keep the city running. Jobs can include: parks and rec, road and land maintenance and construction, budgeting, cultural facilities, public libraries, etc.
a doctor is obvious, but there are still more that don’t require 12 years of schooling: nurse, medical billing, orderly, receptionist, finance, lab technician, pharmacy, etc.
Identifying the answers to the four questions will help you narrow down your search that will lead you to a career you will be happy in.
Even if that career isn’t your dream job, finding one that meets these four qualifiers will help you find a job that you will be happy to go to on a daily basis and spend your time doing.