According to the Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center, approximately 50 to 60 percent of people are unhappy with their jobs. The culprits for job dissatisfaction are rapid technology changes, rising productivity demands, and changing employee expectations.
What better time than now to make a change. It is almost a new year, you want to turn over a new leaf, and now it is time to find a career that makes you happy. Finding a great job doesn’t have to be stressful and shouldn’t be put off any longer. Why waste another twelve months doing something you don’t enjoy? By asking yourself a few thought-provoking questions, you can embark on a job search that will lead you to a satisfying career.
"The key to greater job satisfaction, productivity and performance is aligning your work with your passions and with employers who offer a good organizational-culture match," declares Susan Britton Whitcomb, author of Job Search Magic (JIST, 2006).
"When it comes to a job search, most people are concerned with the how-to," she says. "How do I tap the hidden job market; how do I use keywords to make my online resume stand out; and how do I answer tough interview questions are all important questions, but the whats should be answered first."
So, before buying the newspaper to search classifieds or posting your resume online, take a few moments to consider what it is that you want out of your profession. Figure out what would make you happy in a job and determine the whats for your career. Reflect upon several questions that reveal your needs for happiness in a workplace.
"Ask yourself what you really want to do with your life," Whitcomb suggests. "What is the one significant career goal you want to accomplish, and if you had to do it all over again, what work would you choose. You should also think about what career dream you keep postponing, what thoughts keep surfacing, what are the top three things about your career that you want to be different, and what do you need to feel satisfied at work."
Energized by Work
You may already know the answers to these questions. You may find yourself reevaluating what is most important to you. You may even be completely surprised by your honest responses. Any outcome that takes place should reveal your passion. The key to being happy in your job is loving what you do. Answering the whats helps lead you to a passion-driven career…an Occupassion™, rather than an occupation.
Occupassion™, a term coined by career counselor Steve Gallison from Baltimore, MD, combines occupation with passion so that your work is supercharged with motivation. Being passionate about what you do helps motivate you to get out of bed in the morning and enjoy your day.
If you think career and life are two separate issues, consider these sobering numbers. Over the span of a 50-year career, clocking 40- to 50-hour workweeks, you will devote 100,000 to 125,000 hours to your job. That’s more time than most people spend sleeping, and it’s likely more than can be spent on home-life and recreational activities.
"Forget the hope of work-life balance, which many experts believe is the wrong focus," Whitcomb continues. "Instead, pursue work-life synergy, which means choosing work that will energize you."
Once you have really reflected on your whats, the how-to’s will take you no time. You’ll conduct your job search with the right focus and the outcome will be worth it. By revealing your passion, you will avoid finding just another job and, instead, be more likely to discover a rewarding new career.
Your Passport to New Possibilities
You’ve gone through all the self-exploration you can endure, and you keep coming up with the same answer – you don’t just need a new job, you need a new career.
But how can you take the experience you’ve had in one field and transfer it to another? By identifying basic skills that can be applied to the new career that interests you. This can seem like a daunting task at first, but there are many resources available to help you.
One of the best can be found at the Quintessential Careers website (Quintcareers.com/transferable_skills.html). Here you will find an extensive list of typical skills that are transferable and how to apply the concept in your job search.
Another good resource is What Color Is Your Parachute (Ten-Speed Press), Richard N. Bowles’ job-search bible, which provides detailed lists along with rigorous exercises to help you better define your interests.
For a more light-hearted approach, go to the interactive worksheet at d.umn.edu/kmc/student/loon/car/self/career_transfer_survey.html. Answer the multiple-choice questions and you will get a summary of how you scored in the general transferable-skills category.
Once you have defined your transferable skills – and determined which ones you want to use – go to BLS.gov and click on Occupational Outlook Quarterly, a comprehensive database of job descriptions and skills required. If it’s something you want to do, it’s probably described in detail at this site, maintained by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Or peruse the many online job sites and look at the skills employers are seeking for jobs that interest you. Better yet, contact hiring managers in the industries that appeal to you and find out if your skills are adequate – or if you might benefit from further training.
For more career exploration resources, visit these websites:
Careers.org – This site includes thousands of links to career resources on the Internet. Find sections on jobs, career information for other countries, career education, college and university education, employer directories and rankings, best places to work, fastest growing companies, etc.
Edd.ca.gov/one-stop – California’s statewide system of one-stop career centers is perhaps the single most valuable resource for jobseekers. Here you will find classes on how to look for work, information on potential retraining programs, plus general job-search counseling and career tips.
Jobstar.org – General and regional career information, plus help with resumes, cover letters, and links to various career events.
QuintCareers.com – One of the best free resources for solid job-search and career advice.