Do you ever feel a tad envious when you hear about people who absolutely love going to work every day because they’re so passionate about their jobs? Maybe you think only really lucky people land jobs like that. But finding a job you love involves more than luck – it’s about knowing yourself and what type of work you find most rewarding.
By answering the following three questions, you can discover what it will take for you to wake up every day excited about going to work.
What are you best at?
Research shows that you’re more likely to feel professionally satisfied when you work at a job you’re good at. In fact, the book Now, Discover Your Strengths, cites 2 million interviews and 30 years of research to confirm that fact.
While it’s possible to become proficient at almost any task if you’re given enough time or training, that doesn’t make the behavior a strength. Your true talents are in the areas where you naturally excel.
To determine your natural abilities, think about roles you’ve thrived in. Don’t limit yourself to thinking only in terms of work either. Brainstorm talents you use at home, in volunteer work, or for hobbies.
Knowing what you’re good at is essential to finding the career path that’s right for you. For example, recognizing that you excel at meeting new people or public speaking could point you in the direction of jobs that would use your natural talents such as a sales or hospitality position.
What gets you excited?
While determining your strengths helps you figure out which jobs you’ll have the natural abilities for, this next question aids you in narrowing down the fields or industries you’re most likely to thrive in. For instance, after examining your talents, you might decide that a role as a salesperson would best suit you. However, salespeople work in many different fields, so how do you determine which one is right for you? This is where understanding what energizes you becomes important.
To zero in on the field that’s right for you, think about the kinds of activities and types of environments that make you feel most alive. Do you feel your best doing hands-on projects in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt? Or, does the prestige of wearing a slick business suit and working on a high profile project appeal to you more? Are you passionate about working with children, the stock market or environmental issues?
Spend some time thinking about what gets you going. Understanding the physical, mental and emotional atmosphere that you enjoy most can lead you to the industry that best matches your disposition and drive.
What matters most to you?
Answering this final question will assist you in discovering the types of employers you’d enjoy working for the most. Because companies’ cultures, values and structure vary widely, it’s important to evaluate what’s most important to you in a job.
Different employers appeal to people with different personal and professional goals. Some organizations require 70-hour work weeks but the pay-offs in financial rewards and status are high. Other employers offer flexible schedules and reduced stress but have less monetary perks. And many businesses offer a range of positions between the two extremes.
When thinking about what you want from an employer, consider the type of hours you’d like to work, a job’s distance from your home, the opportunities for growth within the company, and the organization’s values and culture. Knowing what matters most to you in a job will allow you to target employers that provide the things that are essential to your happiness.
Knowing your strengths, passions, and priorities will help you select a job that’s right for you. Then you too can be one of the “lucky” ones who wake up excited to go to work every day.