It’s happened to most of us, save for the ultra conscientious ones among us, but finding your calling in life can be quite a daunting task. People spend many years trying to figure out where they would fit and what kind of a vocation would fill them with the sort of satisfaction that is advertised as the impetus behind any kind of venture, really. While some pointers might appear throughout your educational performance, finding out what’s going to not only change your life, but also bring you immense joy on a daily basis, might take a really long time.
A Gallup Poll from 2017 published by Forbes magazine revealed that 85% of workers worldwide admitted to hating their jobs, when surveyed anonymously. For nearly 90% of workers, work is a constant source of frustration, according to the same poll. So having a job isn’t as satisfying as it’s touted to be. Having a ”fulfilling” job now, is something else. Here are five important key points to consider when on the hunt for your dream job.
1. Think well about your personality type and the kind of job description that aligns with your personality traits
While it’s almost an HR staple in most workplaces, personality tests can also help you choose the perfect career. The Myers-Briggs type indicator might help you find your personality type, which in turn, can steer you toward the suitable career trajectory. For example, would an introvert be comfortable in a noisy, gregarious environment? Well, of course not. Similarly, extroverts would likely find it highly frustrating doing a humdrum sedentary job that requires them to be isolated from people.
Finding out your personality type can also help you figure out what you want to study. If you’re a pragmatic person and you’re more inclined to be a logical thinker than an emotional thinker, you would probably excel in the Scientific field. Of course, you must do well in science to begin with! Say you’re an ENFJ personality type ( Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging), would you rather be a child psychologist or a hedge fund manager?
It’s obvious that you’d prefer the former to the latter as it’s difficult to balance being a ruthless hedge fund manager when you’re very caring and you value your relationships with people.
In order to find the perfect job with the perfect fit, you need to figure out early on where you stand personality-wise. But if it’s taken you some time to get there, don’t worry, it’s never too late ! A really cool thing about knowing your personality type is that once you get it right, you’ll never get it wrong again.
2. Instead of thinking in a strict Strengths vs Weaknesses framework, make a list of all your accomplishments and mistakes
While it’s been advised time and time again that having a firm grasp of where your strengths and weaknesses lie might help you decide your career path, some people find it difficult to mull over their strengths and weaknesses as those can be quite ambiguous. Where some people find stern leadership to be a desirable trait, others find democratic and informal leadership to be more alluring. So making a list of your strengths and weaknesses can be redundant when they don’t even evince your top qualities.
Now, making a list of your past accomplishments and mistakes can actually help you figure out where you’d fit the best. Statistics is a thing people and following previous established trends is unavoidable. If you once handled a rather embarrassing situation quite confidently, it means you’re a confident leader. If you’ve shown initiative in the past, then it’s very likely that a leadership role would be more suitable for a person like yourself.
3. After you’ve identified your personality type and made a list of your successes and failures, now it’s time to evaluate how happy you are at present and how happy you want to be in the future
Many philosophers say that happiness is fleeting and one should aspire to be content, but I find this to be kind of depressing as happiness should be the apotheosis that everyone of us should one day attain.
For this particular exercise, you need to evaluate where you stand in terms of happiness, contentment, emotional stability and motivation at present. No one is 100% happy or 100% satisfied or an emotionally stable champion, so we should think about our life realistically and pragmatically and about the changes we’re ready to bring into our life.
Let’s say you’re far from being content, let alone happy, and you’re struggling with mental health issues. This is not your permanent condition. As long as we’re alive, there’s a brighter day to look forward to, especially if we’re in good health. Your career choice is imperative with regards to the level of satisfaction and happiness you might get out of life. As mentioned previously, a whopping 90% of the global workforce are undeniably miserable because of their career choice. And more importantly, unemployment has driven many people to depression and suicide. What we need to do is think strategically about the kind of life we want to live and look forward to achieve it.
Say you’re in a really bad position, you’re working jobs that do not really pay well and you have zero leisure time. This means that in terms of career mobility, you won’t be able to do much as you don’t even have the time to study or learn a new skill.
What you need to do is think strategically about how much you’re willing to sacrifice in the present to achieve your desired level of happiness in the future. In other words, you need to quantify your level of satisfaction at present and your desired level of satisfaction. In economics, we call it utility. How much utility would you rather have in 10 years versus today? And, if you don’t have enough leisure time, you need to think about how much time you’re willing to sacrifice now in order to have a better life in the future.
This kind of exercise requires that you set aside enough time and save enough money to invest in finding work in your desired field. It may be by taking courses or investing in a certificate or diploma. In any case, all of this is only possible if you’ve figured out your personality type, what experience has taught you about your real strengths and how much time and money you’re willing to sacrifice in the present for a better future.
4. Be on the look out for trainee programs and internship programs to get an idea of where you might fit in best
If you’re just starting your career, don’t rush into an established job without having done the prior legwork to figure out what’s your perfect fit. While an initial job opportunity might lure you into full-time employment and a good salary, it’s unwise to get on board if you value long time happiness in your career. If you’ve gone through a self-evaluation and pinned down your personality type and past successes, and you found out that the job that you’ve been selected for doesn’t really match your personality type, be prepared to be disillusioned at some point in your career as you might find yourself not fitting in at all.
This is why it’s advisable to go through some troubleshooting before embarking on a full-fledged long-term career. Choose internship programs and trainee programs to get an idea on the perfect work environment for you.
5. Discuss your options with people who know you
The people whom you’re close to are in the best position to judge your character and personality and having a conversation about your career options with them might help you get a better idea of where you stand. Your best friend might be able to tell if you would adapt in an office setting or if you need move around constantly.
Having this conversation with close ones not only broadens your own view of yourself, but it also helps you see how people view you. How people view you will affect you in your career, be it around the time of a 360 degrees performance evaluation or when you’re pitching yourself in for a promotion.
The most important thing about deciding what you want to do in your life is how you intend to spend the best years of your life-would you rather be in an office setting everyday or would you rather be in a creative position that entails meeting lots of people? Would you be more satisfied with a promotion at 30 or would you rather start a family at 30?
Jotting down all these options in a realistic manner, with a list of your past successes and failures and what you’ve learned about yourself will definitely help you choose the best career path!