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Still, Searching for Your “Ideal Job”?

Identifying your ideal job, a cartoon by Dave Granlund.

Finding the ideal Job

Last night my wife shared the story of a young 20-something guy struggling to find his “ideal job”. He had stints in construction, plumbing, security, and as a handyman – all offering decent pay for a young person not yet juggling “adult responsibilities” (i.e.: home ownership and long-term debt). His challenge, though, was finding something he wanted to do. Something that offered him a long-term career path. So, he asked what I thought he should do next.

This question is a tough one for so many reasons! Firstly, it is a catch-22 question because whatever advice we offer will never be exactly right because the advice we give is always from our own perspective. Secondly, the advice giver doesn’t have to live with the decision so it may result in key considerations being innocently overlooked. 

Advice from others is all but ruled out, so what additional steps can we take to find that ideal job?

Defining the ideal job

The quintessential first step in finding the ideal job is knowing what we are looking for! The journey starts by knowing ourselves – what we get excited doing, love, and tend to be naturally good at. A few key questions help provide clarity here:

  1. What gets us jumping out of bed in the morning and excited to start the day?
  2. If money were no object, what would we want to do?
  3. What do I think I can do best? What do others think I can do best?
  4. What do our peers, leaders, and teammates recognize us best for?
  5. How do we want to be remembered in life?

The answer to these questions shines a light on the themes and activities that we tend to favour in our lives. Understanding our true preferences, we can start to think about specific jobs or careers. If we skip this step, we tend to end up in roles that leave us partially satisfied, or in some cases unsatisfied altogether. However, we look at it, it’s not a great feeling to have!

Illustrating the ideal job search with an example

Joseph recently started with a multinational as a specialist engineer in the research and development department. The pay is great and the hours reasonable, but something is missing. Joseph can’t quite put his finger on what it is. He feels disconnected from the team and unable to get excited about the role, so he takes matters into his own hands to get to the bottom of it.

The analysis starts by reflecting on what he needs and values in life. Personal values directly correlate with outcomes and goals throughout our lives. In effect, our goals are a visible expression of our values and become the basis for decision-making.

Quick checking our decision-making against our value system

Final Thoughts

Identifying and getting the ideal job starts with an understanding of ourselves, our preferences, our passion, and our purpose. In each of our decisions and actions, we either move forward (towards) or backward (away) from something. At the end of the day, humans are wired to need to develop and progress forwards. So, by understanding our personal core values, we hold the keys and a roadmap for our ideal job and a fulfilling career. Are you clear on yours?

Your turn

Sign in to the Community Member Area or comment below to share your advice with others on how you address the challenge of uncovering your ideal job, and career.  

Give it a try!

Cartoon credit: Dave Granlund

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