Your ideal job
By LESLIE A. PANFIL
In these economic times, thinking of your ideal job may seem like frivolous idealism. But, it is an exercise that can bring you comfort and joy even when your outlook is bleak. At the very core of this article is the essence of what you truly desire and when you identify that quality and are open to its many forms you will find contentment in where you are and where you are going.
Archeological Dig. Look to your past jobs for clues to what is truly rewarding for you. Even the worst of jobs have some redeeming qualities. Those qualities hold the essence of what you value and appreciate in a job. If you are a student and have never held a job, think of the course work you have enjoyed, volunteer work or internship.
Present Position. Your present job could become your ideal job with just a few tweaks. I once had a job where I loved everything I did but hated my boss. I stayed the course and focused on the things I really loved about my work. Then the day came when the Vice President pulled me in his office and told me from now on I was reporting to him rather than the boss I so despised.
Fantasy vs. Reality. Look, my fantasy job is to work in Public Relations for the UFC. But, as a wife and mother in Cleveland, Ohio, that is not going to happen. But, my fantasy job does hold clues to my ideal job. I love to promote things I’m passionate about. While a percentage of lucky individuals will land their dream jobs, the truly valuable lesson in fantasizing is the ability to identify what is at the core of your desires.
Keep it Positive. Sometimes what you really need to do is to reframe your thoughts. Rather than saying to yourself, “I don’t want my work to be taken for granted” say, “I want a job where I am appreciated.” Even more empowering say, “I have a job where I am appreciated.” Surely at some time, someone appreciated your work even if they didn’t verbalize their feelings. Globalization – using words like never and always, is a sure way to send yourself into a downward spiral of negativity that will sabotage your career.
More Please. Once you eradicate globalized phrasing, you pave the way for realizing everything you want you already have. You want to be appreciated and you are. You simply want more. So, what do you want more of? While money is probably at the top of the list, there are many more factors that go into job satisfaction. Do you want more variety, flexibility, freedom or responsibility?
Who? What type of people do you want to work with? Whether it is co-workers, vendors, clients or your boss, spending time thinking through the type of people you want to be surrounded by is a valuable exercise. For example, I love to joke around. One of the things I loved the most about one of my first jobs at an advertising agency was that we all played practical jokes on each other. I probably would not be happy in an overly conservative office setting. Now, as a freelance writer, it is important for me to cultivate a group of fun loving friends because I’m no longer in an office environment.
Curiosity. There is a lot of emphasis on marketplace skills these days. And while it is more important than ever that you improve and expand your skill set, I’m suggesting that you consider further study in areas where your passions are. What have you always wanted to learn?
Feel. I know it seems decadent to talk about feeling when so many of working hard just to pay the mortgage. But, if you don’t foster your feelings, the everyday grind of life will do it for you. How do you want to feel at work? What can you do differently today to feel that way? Maybe no one will appreciate the job you do today. But, have you taken the time to appreciate yourself? Have you gone the extra mile to warrant the kind of praise you desire?
For the Unemployed. When you are unemployed your job is to get a job. Treat every day as if you are going off to a job. Identify what needs to be done and do it as if someone is paying you to get it done. Notice what you like and dislike about your job as a job hunter.
For Free. Consider working in and around your dream job for free. You may fall in love with a career path. Working alongside people in your ideal career will give you a valuable perspective and contacts and you can’t underestimate who you know. Or, you may find your dream job is not so dreamy saving you years of pining away for that job.
Keep it Simple. If you had to boil the essence of your ideal job down to one word what would it be? What is the single most important quality you want from your work? Tape that word to your cubical wall and allow it to manifest itself in your life every day.
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