Are you stuck in a job that leaves you feeling uninspired, numb, or trapped, thinking “surely there’s more to life than this?” If you feel like you’re wasting your skills, education, experience and potential, don’t let that feeling become the norm. Don’t listen to the voice (or people), who say “you should be grateful you even have a job”, or “you need to stay in this job to put food on the table”, or “but you’ll have to start all the way at the beginning again”.
While some of those statements may be true, they can also trap you in a situation that you do have the power to change. If you want to wake up with purpose, feel inspired again and make a positive difference in your life, then check out our top actionable strategies to find a job you love.
What do you really care about?
Sit down and reflect on what you would do if you had a billion dollars. How would you spend your time and money? Sure, you’d probably take a ridiculously lavish holiday, maybe buy a property (or 3), and help out some people close to you, but what about after that? What would you do once you got sick of all the leisure time (that would happen, right?). It’s very likely that there is some part of you that wants to make some kind of difference or impact in the world. There is some part of you that really cares about something. What do you think that something would end up being?
What are you curious about?
Another good way to land a job you love is to follow what you are curious about. What do you want to know more about? It could be anything, from why particular plants grow the way they do to why people use certain body language in different situations. Steve Jobs is a great example of this. He was curious about…typefaces. That’s right, fonts and calligraphy. So he took a class in it at uni. I’m sure some people thought he was crazy for investing his time into something that seemed a little…useless. BUT, that class is what developed his interest in design. Later, this interest in design and typefaces became a core feature of Apple’s work, and what made them unique in the marketplace. So don’t be afraid to look in strange places.
Look for growth potential
It makes sense when you think about it. Get in on a startup or business that’s on the way up. Be one of the first. Pioneer, innovate and contribute to the organisation’s growth. This is one of the biggest things that can impact how you grow your career. If you’re an integral part of a company that’s rapidly expanding, the only way is up. And it should give you the kind of flexibility to perform the tasks you are best at. So when you’re doing your research on potential roles, pay close attention to the company’s growth. Look for teams that are growing quickly. Look for a place where you know you can have a lot of impact. You don’t even need to worry about the title or the salary too much. If you’re driven and ambitious, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish in a startup on its way to success.
Put finances second (for now)
If you want to end up in a career you feel trapped in, then put financial concerns first. If how much money you earn is your primary criteria in building a career then you are probably limiting your options to the predictable…and you might find it really hard to end up doing something you love. If you allow your passion and curiosity to drive you at first, you’re more likely to end up doing something that you are naturally good at. As you get better at it over time, what do you think will happen? Well, if you get really good, it’s likely someone will want to pay you for that. You’ll find yourself in a position of authority in your chosen field and eventually, in a position where you can earn a desirable wage on your own terms.
If what you are doing is coming from a place of your unique motivations and interests, work is not going to seem like a hassle for you. When your work fits you well, you are going to stand out as being uniquely powerful and capable. Basically, you’ll be smashing it without even trying. The more you can tie in expressing your true self with your job, the higher your earning capacity will grow.
Now you have a real sense of what could work for you – get in contact with people who are already doing it. Ask them why they do it, what got them there, what it’s really like and what makes them great at their jobs. The more insight you can gain into what’s involved the better. Plus, you’ll be building up useful contacts and developing a list of what you need to do to get where they are. Take volunteer and work experience opportunities that come up. Attend relevant events. Offer to help people out with campaigns and projects. Not only will you be making new connections and skills, you’ll have cool things to add to the resume and you’ll likely be exposed to the hidden job market within the industry.
Try temping or Internships
Some people turn up their noses at the idea of temping or doing an unpaid internship. However, these roles can often lead to permanent positions in dream industries. Finding a temp role with a great organisation and then impressing them with your skills and work ethic is a great way to get a foot in the door. At the very least, you’ll probably make some useful business contacts you can call on in the future. Internships can be great. They can give you the opportunity to experience working with organisations you could have only dreamed of. Again, if you can demonstrate your value as an employee, who knows where it could take you. Even volunteering can be a great way to make valuable industry contacts and demonstrate your abilities.
Don’t let others hold you back
Always remember – your professional ceiling is only ever set by you. Don’t get tricked into thinking you have to follow a traditional career ladder or that you can’t get a promotion unless you have the usual degree. If you are following your true calling, you will find ways to hit home runs, make an impact and really impress people. Watch out for the part of you that might try to avoid more growth or responsibility. If you want to stay where you are – then great. But if you want to go higher, there are always ways to get there. Don’t fall into the trap that you need your boss or someone more senior to empower you to achieve more – go out and there and do it yourself.
Keep at it!
Don’t let your dreams stay dreams. You’ll need to put structures in place to make sure this doesn’t happen. Do you know how many people have dreams they never achieve? Don’t be one of those people. Spell out your passion and strategy to your family and friends. This way, you are making a public commitment. Then, put together a career plan. Break down your big goals into smaller achievements. Work backwards from where you want to be in 10 years to where you are now.
Lastly, bear in mind that you are doomed to fail. To become great at anything you will need to fail time and time again. Embrace mistakes. Embrace falling over. This is how you get really good at something. Don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go to plan. It’s so easy to become negative and give up. Cut yourself some slack. Redefine your goals whenever you need to. It will all be part of your personal advancement. Just never forget what inspired you and fired you up in the first place.
One popular field for a job you love is travel. Have you thought about a job traveling the world?
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