Life is better when you love your job. It’s true. Imagine spending 8 hours a day, five days a week, for the next three decades doing something you hate. Sounds like a lengthy prison term, doesn’t it?
There is good news. Unlike the inmate, you do have a choice. You can choose a career that suits your personality, your interests, and your aptitudes. You can pick a job that fits like a glove and leads to a lifetime of happiness. And, it all begins with getting to know thy self.
Ask Your Inner Child
Kids know what they like. They don’t let big salaries and fancy benefits cloud their judgement. Yes, very few kids will stick to a task they despise–no matter what extrinsic rewards are offered. Why? Kids prefer to do what makes them happy.
And the things that made you happy in your youth can provide you with valuable clues about what would bring you joy as a adult. If you loved to spend hours dissecting the family toaster, you may enjoy working in electronics or as a mechanic. Perhaps, you were a beautician-in-the-making–plying your younger siblings with makeup and curlers. Or, maybe, your beloved role as mom’s “assistant baker” foreshadows a successful culinary career.
Examine Your Free Time
Free time. Ah. Those are two beautiful words, aren’t they? Free time is your opportunity to do what makes you happy. How do you spend your free time?
Are you an avid golfer? While becoming a pro golfer may not be in the cards for you, it may reveal career preferences. Perhaps, you would be happiest working outdoors. Maybe a job in recreation is suitable. Or, you may be happy working in a sporting goods store.
As “Finding the Right Careers” asserts, it is important to consider all types of activities including volunteering, hobbies, and life experiences. These will provide valuable insight into your preferences, your aptitudes, and your skill sets.
Watch for Flying Time
Time really does fly when you’re having fun. And it marches slowly when you’re doing something you hate. Nobody ever leaped out of a dental chair and said, “gee, that felt like it took no time at all.”
The Pursuit of Happiness defines “flow” as occurring when someone is completely absorbed in an activity which makes them feel strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities. Have you ever experienced flow, and if so, what were you doing? This activity will reveal a great deal about what you enjoy and what comes naturally to you.
Uncover Your Unique Design
Your design is as unique as your fingerprint. And, like a fingerprint, breaking down the intricate design into individual traits can be tricky. This is where inventories come in handy. An “inventory” is a psychometric test that can be used to indentify personality traits, interests, values, and aptitudes.
While you should never base a career decision on inventory results, alone, they can help you tremendously when it comes to your journey of self-discovery. Here are a few that you may be interested in trying.
The last thing you want to do is feel like an inmate–sentenced to decades of drudgery. According to “Changing Careers at 50 or After: 3 Tips for Doing it Right,” 75 percent of Americans expect to work for as long as they can, while a mere 39 percent says it’s because they like to work.” By finding a career that you are passionate about, you can love every hour of your life. Even the period between 9 and five.
Have you had a “flow” experience? What were you doing?
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, avid blogger, and Career Counselor. You can follow her at The Embiggens Project.