The New Year is almost here! This is a great time to step back and reflect on your career goals. For many people, little thought was put into their career choice. Some may think that work isn’t supposed to be enjoyable, and yet others may have outgrown their career. With so much of your time devoted to work, why not find a career that brings you passion? The first step in finding work that works for you is a thorough self-assessment. This assessment includes looking at your personality, interests, skills, values, financial needs, and lifestyle.
What Type are You?
Various theorists believe there are sixteen different personality types. For each of these personality types, an individual has natural preferences (i.e., certain things just feel more natural or comfortable than others). For example, while one person may be more suited toward working alone, another may prefer working in a team environment. What one person may like doing, another might find boring. If you like expressing your creativity, sitting behind a desk answering phones all day may not match your personality style. It’s important to take stock of what type of work and work setting you prefer, and the type of people with which you prefer to interact.
Where Do Your Interests Lie?
What are your career interests? If you already have some ideas, great! Your next step is to determine which ones are in alignment with your personality, skills, and values and then research those options. If, however, you are unclear where your interests lie, you need to do your homework. One effective exercise involves thinking back over your life and choosing five activities you did well, enjoyed doing, and the time flew by while doing them. These are your success stories. This exercise can include work and non-work related activities, including childhood experiences. These memories may uncover activities you may want to include in your next career. Perhaps you volunteered on an election campaign and thoroughly loved it. You might want to consider politics as one career avenue to explore.
Utilizing the skills that you are good at and enjoy are important considerations for career satisfaction. Don’t limit yourself to work-related skills. Throughout your life you have also gained new skills from hobbies, volunteer experiences, and internships. These skills are called transferable skills. In other words, these skills can be transferred from one job to another and one career to another. Examples of such skills include implementing, supervising, planning and organizing, physical activity, and selling. If you like being active and are good at working with your hands, a construction job may be one option to explore.
Another important factor in career satisfaction is compatible work values. Work values are those principles that are important to you in a job. They are valued so highly that they influence your life’s decisions or behaviors. Work values include advancement, status, security, and helping society. If you want your evenings and weekends free, a career as a corporate executive requiring extensive travel may not be a good fit. Individuals early in their career may have valued advancement and status, successfully climbing the corporate ladder. Now at mid-life, some of these same individuals are reassessing those values with either a desire to spend more time with their family and friends, or with an interest in leading a less hectic lifestyle.
Generating Career Options
Once you have completed a comprehensive self-assessment, you are ready to generate possible career opportunities. Possibilities may include changing your career, a new commitment to your current position, or a lifestyle change. After you have compiled a list, you will research your options. Research can be accomplished by reading and conducting informational interviews. The next step is evaluating your options and deciding which one(s) to pursue. Finally, you can begin self-marketing through networking, resumes, cover letters, and interviewing. The career of your dreams can happen. Don’t give up!