What Should I Do with My Life?

Four Things to Consider

by Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC

www.careercounselortips.com

Some people have a job. Some people have a career. Some people have a calling. Which one resonates with you? If you simply want a job, you may not be too concerned about the satisfaction you feel at work. As long as you have a paycheck, you may be happy. Perhaps you find satisfaction through your personal life, hobbies, etc. and a paycheck is all you need from your job.

Some people want a career. That is, they want to progress up the career ladder. If you fall into this category, you may want a clear career path. For ABC number of years, I will be at this level. From there I will move on to such and such title. Progression, titles and additional responsibilities may bring you satisfaction.

Some people have a calling. That is, they have a deep, inner knowing and maybe even a philosophy regarding the impact they are hoping to make as a result of their calling. They would do this work for free-I wouldn’t recommend advertising that you would do it for free unless you are financially able to do so because people might take you up on your offer.

 So, whether you want a job, a career or to find your calling, here are some things to keep in mind so that, regardless of the category you fall under, you can be happier. First, in order to be happy at the workplace, you will want to find a job that combines your values, interests, skills and abilities. Here are some questions to consider as you explore each in more detail.

Values

  • Do you believe in the company’s mission? 
  • Do you believe in the products they sell?
  • Have you heard about them on the news?
  • Would you feel proud working for them based on how they handled this hypothetical situation that landed them in the news?
  • Do you know how they treat their employees?
  •  What are your thoughts about the company culture?

Interests

  • What do you read for fun?
  • What topics do you always find interesting?
  • Imagine being an accountant. If you work for a gas and oil company you may be doing accounts payable/receivable for valves. If you work for Coach, you may be reconciling accounts for handbags and shoes. If you work for a non-profit, you may be helping them determine their annual budget for and calculating the number of families they can serve. The tasks may be similar but being interested in the work can make a big difference in how invested you feel at work.

Skills

  • Do you have the educational background required for the job?
  • Are you willing to get more education in order to meet the qualifications?
  • Are these skills that you enjoy using?
  • If you are a people person and this job requires 90% of the time online rather than face to face, will this be a good fit? You may have the skills but will this environment make you happy?

Abilities

  • What are you good at?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What do you find energizing?
  • What are your talents? HINT: They are probably tasks that are so easy for you and they probably feel like fun instead of work. You may not even want to mention them because you think everyone must be good at…fill in the blank. You may think, “Come on. That’s so easy…anyone could do it.” I have news for you-that is not true. Your talent is something that comes easily to you but not to others.

Taking time to self-reflect and understand what is important to you, what you are good at, your priorities and what brings you happiness will give you a better chance of enjoying your job. So, as you consider how your values, interests, skills and abilities translate into your job, career, calling or all three, I would like to invite you to consider this quote by Khalil Gibran: When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music. Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful way to spend your day?

Having a hard time answering the suggested questions above?

You may want to consider working with a career counselor. Here is some information about how I run my sessions:

Career Counseling: A 4 Step Strategy

 


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