Previously, on this site, I’ve shared that I didn’t come to this place in my career easily. Nor did I come into it intentionally, not exactly.
If you were to ask me ten years ago where I’d be today I would say something about working for the State Department, doing peacebuilding work. Or I would have said a PhD-edified field researcher, helping people to recover from war. My plans were to run away from the trappings of financial stability and throw myself into the arms of danger to save the world.
I love that part of myself. That younger me had little responsibility and little understanding of what makes life complete (for me it’s having a home, a family, financial stability). So, with that said, it’s pretty obvious what I have to say next: I don’t work for the State Department. Also, I’m pretty sure I don’t and have never saved lives, much less all of humanity. No, I don’t do either of those things. Today, I sell houses.
Finding a Path
Here’s the deal, I get so much joy out of my work, I’m happy and fulfilled. Now, I’m a dreamer and a builder, I’ll never truly be satisfied with where I am in my life or career, but I can find happiness and enjoy the moment.
Loving my work is a credit to two things – good planning and good looking out.
In 2012, when I moved home at almost 30-years-old, I was jobless and without direction.
After about 100+ applications and zero interviews, it was time to stop banging my head against the wall. Defeated, I had a come-to-Jesus conversation with myself. After quite a bit of soul-searching and research, a plan of action emerged. I still have the spiral notebook filled with the daily exercises I did during this time (worked out every day, researched the jobs I thought I wanted, wrote down what I wanted my life to look like, who I wanted to be, my skills, and what made me happy, to name a few – I was obsessed) to help me figure out what to do.
Obsessive Introspection Isn’t So Bad
Using this plan, I decided that I would only take jobs that supported my goals (good planning). In addition to this, I would look for the things in my jobs that helped me reach those goals (good looking out). By maintaining a solid focus on where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be – I’d get there.
I remember driving around, working 5 jobs (thank you gig economy for keeping me afloat), wondering if I could buy gas for my next appointment and then looking up to see the sun setting, blazing across the sky. It was incredibly beautiful and I was alive to see it. Now, if you’re not prone to hippy-dippy sappiness like I am, that’s fine. Just look for the good and you’ll find the good.
Here are the two tenants to take to LOVE what you do:
Make a list of what you like. Add on there what makes you happy, keeps you feeling motivated, inspires you, etc. Here’s a sample of the things I wrote down:
- Brainstorming, creative thinking
- Developing things
- Building careers (coaching, training, seeing that spark of the a-ha moment)
- Connecting people (Tom Smith needs help speaking publicly, he’s an anxious person. Geoff Adams is an excellent speaker, a calm temperament, and likes to listen. Geoff is interested in management, Tom needs a mentor. Bingo, bango.)
- Speaking publicly
- Writing/Reading/ Learning
- Time with my family
Good planning helps you to look for what you love in your job. If it’s not there, then it helps you to find a way to make something you love a part of your job.
Good Looking Out
Liking your job is (in large part) on you.
Career enjoyment is connected to your own personal engagement to what you do. Therefore, job satisfaction is on the employee as well as on the employer. Finding what makes you tick is unique to your brain and your experiences. So check out that list from above. Look at your job – do you see those things? Do you see a path to those things?
Now, if you look around and none of your items show up in your job – you have two options:
Either Quit or Stay and Adapt
If you’re in a place or job category where quitting and moving on is possible: good for you! Line up your next job first and then out you go.
However, if you’re like the majority of working individuals, that luxury is not available. So, stay put. Dig into your values and what makes you tick. In other words, you now know you need more inspiration, so find ways in your job to make those things happen.
For example, volunteer to take on a trainee to give you leadership and coaching opportunities. Or another idea is to develop a website that will help your company, to practice your coding skills. Download DuoLingo and practice Spanish on your breaks to help the company go global. Talk to your superiors or coworkers about what they think about the things you like to do – maybe there is an opportunity you don’t know about.
Part of being a lifelong learner is knowing how to create your own teachable moments. Nobody is going to do it for you, it’s up to you to create that space for yourself, even if it’s small. So I’m telling you now, you can do it.
About the Author:
Brianna is a business person with a passion for social science. The two seem to always intersect and come together in Indie. If you’d like to know more, check this out! If you like this article, please subscribe & check out Indie for more. Thanks, as always, for reading! If you have a story to share, please share it below!