The Way to Get the Job You’ve Always Dreamed Of

Posted by in Career Success, Job Search, Personal Development | 9 comments

Gary was always good at fixing things. He could take a car engine apart and put it back together. If your washing machine had broken he could fix it.

In high school Gary was always in the auto shop classroom and never in the library. He was that guy.

I hate this jobCreative Commons License Yasser Alghofily via Compfight

However, when the time came he thought he needed to go to college in order to get a good job.

He went through college hating every minute of it, wishing he could spend more time refurbishing the 1969 Chevy pickup waiting in the garage at home.

After graduating from college with a low GPA and a headache, Gary went looking for a job.

With no real direction, Gary took the first job he could get because he knew somebody who worked there and they got him the job.

Gary was pretty miserable most days. Working in a cubicle, sitting in front of a computer screen, and doing work that he was not designed to do well.

The trouble was Gary couldn’t see a way out. He thought he was on a career path for life and there were no exit doors.

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, this is an all too common way to choose the type of work we do.

For those who don’t like what they do I’ve noticed three typical factors in how they chose their work.

  • They chose work that just pays the bills and didn’t think about whether or not they liked it.  
  • They chose work they thought they might be good at or other people told them they were good at doing. 
  • They chose work based on the kinds of work models and industries they were exposed to and were easily available to them (i.e. corporate employee, government, manufacturing, agricultural, self-employment, etc.) 

The problem is we often choose a career based on short term needs and overlook our ability to be intentional about our careers. Trust me, I know supporting ourselves and/or a family are absolutely important needs – short term or not.

However, when it’s time to make decisions about the type of work we want, we have the pressure of short term needs combined with the lack of personal insight needed to be intentional about our career.

Like Gary, we can feel stuck in a job or career path with no hope of something better. So what do we do?

If you’re in this situation I encourage you to look at your current work as a stepping stone to something greater.

The work you hate now could be planting a seed that will blossom into enjoyable work in the future.

Take this time to look inward at who you are and pay attention to what you’ve learned about yourself with your current work situation.

You may have only discovered what you don’t like, but that is part of the process of finding your passion and ultimately finding work you love.

Gary’s now working toward moving into a career he will love. He’s grown a lot and he is more sure of what he wants to do every day. And yes you guessed it, he’ll be working with cars.

Question: How do you think most people choose their careers?

 If You Feel Like Gary Try This Exercise: 

Write down ten things you’ve learned about yourself as a result of doing the work you’re doing now? Then go through your career history and do this for each job you’ve held.

  • What types of activities energized you?
  • Which activities drained you?
  • What is something you’re really proud of accomplishing in your work thus far?
  • Was there a time when you failed in your work? What lessons did you learn from that? 

 

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  • I believe most people are very likely to continue in the career path their parents are on. Not the exact job, but the same mental attitude about work. The stick to it model.
    Or they just kind of fall into a job and it is comfortable so they stay there. All the while hearing the call of what they truly love.
    Becoming soothed by comfort and a steady paycheck. One day they wake up and realize ten years have passed. Feeling as if they have betrayed their dreams they get discouraged and feel like they cant move away from the steady paycheck. So the cycle continues.

    Write On
    Frank

    theweatheredlife.com
    twitter: @FrankAndrix

    • Yes, Frank I think the attitude our parents had about work can shape our views of work. It’s when we take the time to look inward and reflect on what we really want that we begin to break the cycle you mention. Thanks for your comment.

  • This is a great post, Adam. I am very sensitive to the fact that a parent’s attitude about work can strongly influence a child. It happened to me – so I am careful not to lay that on my children. My oldest son shared with us he is very unhappy in the position he is in right now. He is extremely successful by the world’s standards – but unhappy. We encouraged him to make decisions that put his life and health as the priority and to not worry about what anyone else thinks about his decisions (even us) because no one else has to live his life but him! Thanks for some powerful confirmation.

    • Hi Ann,
      Your son is fortunate to have such wise and loving parents to allow him the freedom to pursue his life and health above his career. Parents continue to have influence over the decisions their children make even into adulthood. Thanks for your insightful comment.

    • Hi Ann,
      Your son is fortunate to have such wise and loving parents to allow him the freedom to pursue his life and health above his career. Parents continue to have influence over the decisions their children make even into adulthood. Thanks for your insightful comment.

    • Great advice Ann.

  • I work with college students and rarely see anything other than the three on this list. Some are scared and take the first thing offered, just so they can have a job. Some do not leave their current positions (usually retail) for short term opportunities like internships, fearing the immediate loss of income but not fully understanding that the short term loss could lead to long term gains. It is a process to examine yourself and understand yourself fully in order to enter into work your enjoy.

    • That’s right Nick, it’s quite difficult to see the long term vision for our careers when we haven’t taken the time to think about what we really want. That sort of self examination allows us to make decisions about opportunities that come our way. Thanks for your comment.

    • That’s right Nick, it’s quite difficult to see the long term vision for our careers when we haven’t taken the time to think about what we really want. That sort of self examination allows us to make decisions about opportunities that come our way. Thanks for your comment.