Working. Even the word itself is enough to send shivers down some people’s spines, and most of us would prefer to roll over and go back to sleep when our alarms go off for our job. In fact, the people who jump out of bed with excitement when it’s time to go to work are few and far between, and most of us don’t feel too positively about our boring 9 ‘til 5 jobs. We’ve all asked ourselves: is this really all that there is out there for me?
The answer is a resounding ‘no’, but to find a job that makes you happy you need to be prepared to take risks and look deeply inside yourself to see what you really want, and you then have to put yourself out there and go and find it. Whilst we’ll admit that this all sounds quite daunting, it will be the best decision you ever make, and you’ll be so glad that you did it when you wake up every day looking forward to what’s on the horizon. Here’s what you can (and should) do.
Go back to the start
In order to find a job that you really want to do, you need to go back to the absolute beginning in terms of your career. We know what you’re thinking, you’ve got a lot of experience in your field now, right? And that’s great, because you can use all of your experience in a different way in your dream role. There is no such thing as wasted experience, as every single job and qualification that you have has taught you something that you didn’t know before.
Now, ask yourself: If I didn’t have all of this history behind me, and this fancy title for my job role, what would I actually want to do? If you’re still not sure, then ask yourself: Before people told me what I should be doing and what would earn me a lot of cash, what did I want to do, and would I still do that now? These are pretty heavy questions, and you’re not going to be able to answer them straight away. However, this will help you to establish what you really love.
Forget about money when it comes to a job
OK, so very few of us can just forget about money. We need it to eat, to pay our bills, and to ensure that we actually have a roof over our heads. However, even if this is only a thought experiment, think about what you would do if money were no object. If you didn’t have to pay your bills, and you just did what you loved, what would it be? Would you be writing books, or making art, or even just working from home?
Whatever it is that you would do if money didn’t exist, clarify this idea in your mind, and think of ways to actualize it. It’s worth remembering that these jobs that you really want to do are the actual jobs of actual people, who really wanted to do them too. There are few things standing between you and them, and one of them may be yourself. Firstly, however, you need to decide what you love, and what you’d do if you could do anything.
Leave imposter syndrome at home
Imposter syndrome is one of those things that comes between so many people and the careers that they have a burning desire to attain. Instead of asking yourself why me, why do I deserve this? ask yourself why don’t I? Try to think of one valid reason that makes you not deserving of happiness and success, and one valid reason why somebody else deserves it, but you don’t. This will be, and trust us on this one, impossible.
Take control of your mindset here, and look at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself: I am smart enough, I deserve this, and there is nothing standing in the way of me and my dreams apart from myself. When you walk into an interview for your ideal job, don’t think that you’re not fancy enough, or that you’ve got a weird accent, or that you’re not wearing the right shoes. Remember that you deserve to be there as much as everybody else, just as you are.
Reflect on what you want to gain
To find a job that you really love, you also have to think about what you want to gain from it. This sounds like an easy question to answer (uh, hello, money?) but it can be more difficult than you originally think. Do you want to empower people in your community like the inspirational Cynthia Telles, do you want to give something back to your mother, or do you just want to be happy? Whatever it is – and these things can all be connected – it’s important to think about what you want to gain.
One of the main things that people seek out in careers is the feeling that they’re making a difference, and helping those who may be in difficult situations, or may simply need some support. If this is the case for you, then think about how you want to change your community, or even the world. Whilst that may sound a tad ridiculous, you’re not going to get to where you want to be if you’re not aiming high!
Get used to rejection
When you’re on the hunt for a job that fills your heart with joy, you’re going to get knockbacks. People are going to reject you, they’re going to say that you’re not experienced enough, they’re going to give you no feedback whatsoever, and they may even come at you with some digs as to why you’ll never be the right person for their company (these people are totally not worth working for, by the way). There is a high chance that you will experience this.
However, this doesn’t actually mean that you’re not good enough for what you want to do, it just means that you’re going to get it next time. And if you don’t get it next time, you’re going to get it the time after that. Or maybe, it just means that this wasn’t the right opportunity for you, and that your real dream job is hiding around the corner, waiting to jump out and pleasantly surprise you. Don’t give up on your dreams just because you were rejected!
Take the risk
OK, so the final and most important tip here is to take the risk. It’s scary right? Kind of like jumping off a cliff without knowing whether there is a 100ft drop below, or a world full of happy unicorns and rainbows. And we totally get this; it can feel terrifying. What if you’ve made an awful decision, and you don’t really love this, and you were OK in your office job that can only be likened to the most boring deja vu ever?
And what if your family all starve to death because you’re going to be poor now and nothing good is ever going to come out of this and everybody is going to hate you and… and…
Relax! Risk is certainly stressful, but you can’t go through your life without taking any chances at all. On top of this, you’ve deeply reflected on what you want to do, you’ve planned it all out, and you know that when this all works out, you’ll be at the happiest that you’ve ever been. In short, on the other side of that cliff there are unicorns and rainbows, but it may take a while for them to arrive, you know?
Good luck chasing your dreams!