How to Figure out what you really want from your career!
“I want to be an astronaut and create colonies on Mars!”
"I want to change the world. I want to do something that matters!”
“I want to be an entrepreneur, start my own business and get rich!”
Are you a day dreamer? Someone who is constantly imaging what life would be like, if you were doing something else? Or are you too afraid to dream, too afraid to indulge yourself in imagining what life could be like if you were in a job that would actually make you happy?
Or perhaps you’re a cynical person? Someone who has given up on happiness a long time ago, believing that you have to surrender to the daily grind and just get on with it? (There are mouths to feed and a roof to keep over your head. Who has the luxury of dreaming?)
Whether you’re a dreamer or a realist, we all have days when we just wish that we could be someone else; days when we wonder what life could have been like, if we had chosen a different path.
At The Happy Mondays Co, we believe you deserve to be happy. You deserve happiness AND success. They don’t need to be mutually exclusive. You can have both!
So today, we will give you the license to dream and to explore that question, ‘if I could do anything, what would I be’ to the fullest extent and because we are realists ourselves, we will give you some tools to validate those dreams, so that you can take the first step towards making them a reality.
After all, a dream is only a dream, unless it is lived.
If you could be anything what would you be? Leave no stone unturned! Indulge yourself and really go there. Find the answer to what you really want to do.
Feeling a bit stuck? No problem. Ask yourself these questions to get the creative juices going: When was the last time you felt like time is flying by at work? What were you doing at that time? What does your manager praise you for? What incentives are important to you? What does success really mean to you? Write down all the answers and try to see if there are any correlations or patterns.
Now, think about what tasks you like doing and hate doing. Write them down as well and try to categorise them by overarching activity, for example project management, admin work, creative tasks etc., and consider how much of your time you would like to allocate to each activity.
Finally, explore what job roles might correspond to your ideal activity matrix. For example, let’s say you have the following activity groups and desired focus allocations:
- Networking – 20%
- Creative work – 50%
- Admin work – 10%
- Project management – 20%
Looking at this, it seems that you may wish to focus more of your time on doing something creative. However, your Happy Job should go beyond this and include all aspects, because you almost equally seem to want to interact and coordinate with people.
The next question now then is what jobs would offer you this mix? The answer to this will very much depend on what you mean by ‘creative’. Depending on whether you mean to design, to brainstorm, to come up with solutions etc., possible career paths could be a creative director, a designer, a consulting role and so forth. Explore this question in depth to truly understand what roles, companies and industries correspond to your Happy Job definition.
At the end, you should end up with a list of roles that you would be excited to pursue. Once you have your list, it’s time to put them to the test.
If you’re currently an accountant and you have discovered that you would like to switch into a more creative career, you will need to take some active steps to realize this goal. In this stage, we will validate to see if this is really what you want, bringing reality back into the picture.
So, get a pen and paper or grab your laptop and open an excel sheet. Create a document with 4 columns. Give each column a heading:
- Column 1: Must haves
- Column 2: Must not haves
- Column 3: Ideal situation
- Column 4: Don’t mind doing
In column 1 and 2, we will explore your deal breakers. Write down your needs in terms of what you must absolutely have and what you ideally don’t want to have in your next job.
Now, for column 3, here we will explore everything that would constitute the perfect job for you, your Happy Job.
Lastly, let’s complete column 4. Here you will list things that you don’t mind, although they’re not your favourite things in the world.
For all 4 columns, you could include anything from your level of seniority, your salary, other incentives and benefits, the style of company you would like to join, the management style you appreciate, company values that are important to you, tasks that you want to do and avoid, responsibilities you want to have and so on.
Again, don’t hold back. Make that list to get clarity!
Now, take a step back. How does your list compare to your dream job? Does your dream job align with your must haves and must not haves? Is it truly your ideal scenario? For example, are you really prepared to go back to school to learn a new trade? Are you happy to sacrifice all those comforts to save animals in the wild? Are you truly prepared to give up the security a monthly paycheck provides to start your own business?
Yes? Perfect! You’ve taken your first step towards a new life.
No? That’s ok. Go back to the drawing board and brainstorm some more. Now that you have your validation list, you may think of completely different avenues than before.
Not sure? Whether you’re 100% sure or not, we always encourage our clients to go one step further by speaking to people in the job roles, industries and/or companies they want to pursue as part of their Happy Job search to validate their expectations match reality.
So, if you know someone working in these areas, arrange a coffee date and learn from their first-hand experience. This may also get you some interesting leads and insights. After this validation step, you’re ready to turn your dream into reality. So, make a plan, a real action plan, and make it happen!
You don’t need to be stuck in a job that you hate just to pay the bills. It is possible to be successful and happy. You just need to take some time to figure out what is your Happy Job and take active steps to realizing your dream. Because the difference between dreams and reality is called ACTION.
With this, it’s important to determine whether your dream truly reflects what you want and whether it really is worth pursuing. Sometimes dreams are just that, dreams. They don’t always stack-up in reality. By using our approach, you can put your dream to the test and make sure it really covers all aspects of what you need and desire.
Enjoy your journey towards happiness and success!
Curious about what we do? Learn more about The Happy Mondays Co.