Home » “Choose a job you love & you’ll never have to work a day in your life”–Confucius

“Choose a job you love & you’ll never have to work a day in your life”–Confucius

And therein lies the rub: how to choose a job you love….To figure this out, you may need to ramp up your awareness of yourself and your goals. You may want to find a quiet place and do some journaling or mind mapping on these 10 critical questions to ask when contemplating your career path:

1. What do you like to do? (What do you read about and think about…what subjects draw you in again and again?)

2. Look through job listings. What appeals to you? (Nevermind whether you have the qualifications—you can set yourself on a track to acquire them if you have sufficient inspiration…)

3. Where do you excel? (There’s probably something you do that you repeatedly get praised for…something that makes you a standout—what is it?)

4. What top 3 skills do you bring to the table? (Don’t forget to account for talents you express at home or in your community.  Are you a great cook? Are you a whiz at organizing people or raising money?  You wouldn’t be the first person who converted a hobby or civic passion into a high-earning career…)

5. What are the components of your dream job? (Account for work/life balance.  Does 9-5 fits your lifestyle or is something flexible more ideal?  Are you willing to—or set on—traveling?  Are you happiest working independently or in a highly collaborative environment?)

6. What is your bottom line? (Think not only of your wage or salary but about benefits and PTO.  Are you willing to trade a high paying salary for a job that offers rich and rewarding experiences?  If so, for how long would this be feasible?  Can you consider an internship or pay cut to gain experience in a new field–or would that mean you’d have to sleep at the Salvation Army?)

7. What salary is realistic for you to set your sights on considering where you live, your level of experience, and the sector within which you hope to apply your talents? (It’s fine and dandy if executive assistants are making $70k in New York City, but what are they making in your neck of the woods in the sector you want to be in?   Salary differences can be in the tens of thousands depending on geographic location, whether you’re in the public or private sector, etc.  Drill down on the salary data and do some informational interviewing to get closer to what could be true for you based on what you’re looking for.)

8. What is your disposition? (Maybe you’re a team player who can independently manage yourself, but can you be more specific? Every other job description and resume uses catch phrases like this but there’s a lot more that goes into your chemistry in a particular job. Will you thrive in a quiet office where you’re juggling a lot of duties and have little interaction with others—or do you need a lively workplace where you can specialize yet have a lot of interaction with people?   Fine tune your awareness of your work style without judgement.)

9. What’s most important to you: a meaningful job, a high-paying job, a job with flexibility, etc.? (Rank the aspects of a job that weigh most heavily for you. If your family, civic, or religious life is bursting at the seams with personal meaning, you may not feel the need to save the world when you’re on the clock. If you’re single, you may most value a workplace that contributes to your social needs. Everyone has a different situation—the key is to stay focused on your unique situation, wants, and needs.)

10. What are your niceties and what are your non-negotiables where a job is concerned? (What has the power to turn you off completely—or else make a particular opportunity shine that you might not have given a second look at otherwise? If you never get sick, the cadillac health insurance might not mean as much to you as your pay rate. If leisure time is the ultimate payback for you–making everything else worth it—a stingy time off policy might be the kiss of death for you in a particular job.)

EXERCISE: Now that you know more about what you’re after, write your own job description (detailing the benefits attached to the position) & imagine it becoming true!