Having a career you love is extremely important. After all, most full-time employees spend more of their waking hours with co-workers than they do with their families.
Your career choice determines many aspects of your life, and the direction it will take.
What you do for a living can dictate:
- How successful you are
- How happy you are on a day-to-day basis
- Whether you live a good, bad, or indifferent life
An ideal career should be something you would choose to do even if you weren’t getting paid for it!
The Perfect Career
We spend a great deal of time talking about the negative aspects of our careers, such as when it’s time to leave, workplace conflict, or if you might be getting fired. What we fail to do, however, is identify the positive aspects of our careers.
Many people simply don’t know how to identify what a “Dream Job” would be. So, we at The Resilient Recruiter have compiled a list of characteristics you should look for to identify your ideal career!
You know you have chosen the right career if the following is true:
1. You look forward to Mondays.
Many of us know what the “Sunday Night Blues” are. You have a sense of dread that comes over you, knowing that you are one step closer to Monday. Not true if you have your dream job! Sure – we all need a little downtime to spend with friends and family, but you look forward to getting back at it on Monday, and making your week as productive as possible.
2. Your work is rewarding.
You are just as excited about your work as you are about the money. The work you are doing – regardless of your industry or occupation – is challenging and satisfying. You overcome any obstacles with ease, because you enjoy it, not because it is part of your job. You care about the company and those around you.
3. You feel you are an important element to the company’s goals.
Whether you are at a large or small company, you feel that your job, your department, your input matters. You are aligned with the company’s goals, and make decisions as if it is your company. Even if the company is small, you see your opportunities for growth – even if they don’t involve a specific title. You see the opportunity to evolve as a professional, and that itself excites you.
When you are doing something you love, you aren’t constantly watching the clock. Meetings are important and engaging, not boring and time consuming. You delve into projects with intent, and before you know it, it’s time to go home. You work well with your colleagues and your customers. Even if there are issues or disagreements, you work through them because you genuinely care about one another.
5. You spend your free time thinking about (or doing) work-related activities.
Whether it is reading the latest business strategy book, researching new analysis methods, or learning new software languages, you find yourself spending your free time improving yourself as a professional, rather than binge-watching Netflix or playing video games. And you are doing it because you want to, not because your boss told you to. You want to be the best at what you do, and take it upon yourself to do so.
6. That nagging sense of worry has disappeared.
When you are dialed into to a genuine “career”, you feel a sense of control over your life. The underlying feelings of fear and insecurity that many adults are plagued with disappears, because you have found meaning – and with it, a sense of stability. Your underlying thoughts have now been replaced with goals – both personal and professional, and you strive to achieve them.
7. You feel balanced.
You have negated the toxic habits of life, and have achieved a sense of balance – between work, family, and community/spiritual involvement. It has taken a great deal of perfecting, but you have found time for each in your life. Granted, the needs of each of these elements will ebb and flow over time, and will consistently need to be revisited, but you define time to satisfy and nurture each of them.
Where Do You Start if You Want to Find Your Ideal Career?
You are either nodding in agreement with the above items, or are asking “where do I start to find my ideal career?” The first step is to truly understand what you enjoy doing. We have found a couple of resources that we will share with you.
The first is a free Career Test from Live Career. They offer a variety of services for job seekers, including the career test.
The other is called SDS or Self-Directed Search, but costs about $9.95 per user. The SDS is a career assessment and exploration tool that matches your aspirations, activities, and talents to the career choices and educational opportunities that fit you best.
Natalie Lemons is the Founder and President of Resilience Group, LLC, and The Resilient Recruiter and Co-Founder of Need a New Gig. She specializes in the area of Executive Search and services a diverse group of national and international companies, focusing on mid to upper-level management searches in a variety of industries. For more articles like this, follow her blog. Resilient Recruiter is an Amazon Associate.