Over the course of this blog, we’ve highlighted a number of different programs and fields that are either becoming more prominent or expanding. We’ve discussed what these programs and opportunities have to offer and how to tell if they might be for you. But there is so much more to a job or career than just the field (although, that is important). Job satisfaction seems to be in short supply these days, at least partly because of increased layoffs and survivor syndrome. So, this week, I thought we could examine careers and job prospects from a bottom-up approach, starting with you and your needs and desires.
- Write down a list of what aspects of any position are important to you. (Note: there are no right or ideal answers since these are all personal preferences). For some people, salary is a crucial factor. For others, working with people you enjoy (or maybe working independently) is more important. Maybe organizational structure or environment (a cubicle versus and office) is a big factor. Still others rank work schedule high up on the list of importance (8 hours a day/5 days a week vs. 10 hours a day/4 days a week).
- Consider any limitations that you may have. For example, do you have children and need a later start to your day so you can drop them off at school? What about medical problems that may interfere throughout the workday (ex: frequent migraines or chronic pain)? Do you need to stay within a certain town/state, or are you willing to move? Certainly financial obligations need to be considered. Do you have student loans or credit card bills that make having a minimum salary base a necessity?
- Consider your talent and skills. These are areas in which you have an aptitude or in which you believe yourself skilled. Really, anything that you think you CAN learn to do should be considered. But (and you knew one was coming), these things should be considered only if you enjoy them. You may be a world-class proofreader and editor, but if you hate inserting commas or restructuring reports, that may be something you would put under “limitations” rather than a talent or skill you want to apply. Not surprisingly, I’ve always found that most people tend to enjoy doing those things at which they excel, but that’s not a hard and fast rule.
- String all of these ideas together and see what type of job you are describing. Are you destined for a high pressure, high salary job with an 80+ hour work week or are you looking at working from home so you can make your own hours and be flexible with your family’s schedule? Once you have an understanding of what type of job you’ll be satisfied and happy doing, then you can start looking within the different fields you have an interest or a background in (public relations, law, social media…the possibilities are endless). You can also look into consulting a career coach, or any number of books to help you further your exploration, such as ‘What Color is Your Parachute?’, ‘A Life at Work’, ‘Making a Living Without a Job.’
What is important to you in a job?