*Discloser: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links, at no cost to you.
Are you stuck in a job or career that doesn’t make you happy?
Maybe it feels purposeless or maybe it leaves you drained. Or maybe you even really dislike or hate it.
Either way, you’re probably wondering: How do I find a career I’ll truly love?
That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article.
I’m fortunate enough to have found a career I really love. However, that didn’t happen over night. In fact, it took me a few years from having a quarter life crisis to get where I’m at right now.
So, there are some tips that I learned along the way. Hopefully, they’ll help you move forward as well.
Why it’s important to find work you enjoy
Most of our parents (baby boomers) have told us: get good education and then get a stable job that pays the bills and let’s you move up the corporate ladder.
And most people nowadays still think that a job is just a job: you don’t have to like it, it just has to bring in money!
Well, unfortunately, we spend about 1/3 of our whole life at work! Just think about how much time that is. During the years we’re working it’s even about 2/3 of our waking hours.
Honestly, it’s just an enormous waste of your time if you spend it at a job you dislike!
I’m not saying everyone has a choice. Looking back at our parents’ or grandparents’ generation, most people just had to take whatever job they found.
And in many parts of the world there are many people who would kill just to get any kind of work!
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you belong to neither of those categories. I’m assuming you have a choice, like pretty much all millennials living in a first world country.
In that case, I’d like to encourage you to break free from this mindset that a job is just a job, no passion or joy required.
There is something out there that you’ll enjoy doing. Even if it’s just a little better than what you’re doing now.
Apart from that a job you don’t like is a waste of your time, here are a few other reasons:
Are you always tired and annoyed?
Sure, this can have many reasons. But if you struggle to get up in the morning because you have nothing to look forward to and you have to push yourself through your day, then your job probably takes more energy from you than it gives back.
Having a job you like might still make you tired, simply because it might be mentally taxing or physically exhausting. But unlike with a job you hate, you’ll still have enough energy to spend time with your family and friends. And you’ll also look forward to doing your hobbies.
With a job you hate, you’ll probably come home in the evening and can think of nothing else than veging out in front of your TV and watching Netflix. With a job you love, you’ll want to do something you enjoy. And that’s simply because your job gives you energy to enjoy your life!
Having a job you truly love will obviously lift your mood a lot.
Of course there are always parts that are difficult, exhausting or annoying. But you’ll soon forget them and talking about your work will suddenly be filled with joy, instead of animosity.
If you generally struggle with unhappiness or a negative mindset, here are a few articles that might help you:
Ultimately more happiness
Happiness generally has to come from within.
I have really learned and understood that during my Vipassana meditation retreat.
Being truly happy means to be able to accept things you can’t change as they are, not as you would like them to be.
However, I’m also a firm believer that you can support your happiness by creating your dream life.
Not only is it very fulfilling and rewarding to work towards a goal and achieve it, it’s also much easier to accept negative things for what they are if the majority of your life is filled with positivity.
Let me translate this to a career you love: Sure, you could practice being equanimous with every aspect of your job even though it’s not a good fit for your interests and values at all. But it will be much easier to accept the few negative things about your career if this is something that’s perfectly aligned with your values, strengths and interests.
So, since we have the luxury to choose our own career, make use of it! This will greatly facilitate your overall happiness!
How to find a career you’ll truly love
Okay, now that you know why it’s important and why it makes sense to look for your dream career, let’s look at how to find a career you’ll truly love next.
You can do these exercises on your own. But it will work even better with a coach or mentor.
This person can help you set up a detailed structure for your specific situation, will motivate you and hold you accountable in case you get off track.
1. Determine your values
In order to find a career you’ll truly love, you first need to determine your values.
What’s important to you? What do you want to have in your life? What do you want to be doing on a day to day basis?
While doing that, I highly recommend to also think about your future vision for your life: Where do you want to be in 5 years from now? Where do you want to be in 10 years from now?
Figuring out those things will help you get a rough grasp of the direction you should be heading in your professional life.
Here are my answers as an example: my most important value is freedom and autonomy: I want to be able to work whenever and from wherever I want. Additionally, I would also like to determine myself how I do my job. Another important value for me is to be able to scale my earnings, instead of being just capped out at a certain income, even though I do a better job than my coworkers.
In 5 years from now I want to have 2 children. Before I’ll have kids, I want to be able to travel a good amount and I’d still like to do it with them as well. I’d like to have a completely flexible schedule so that I can be there for my kids whenever they need me. Plus, I want to have enough income to provide for my whole family, own a nice house and potentially spend the winter months in a sunny country or skiing in the mountains.
In terms of what I’d like to be doing on a day to day basis, I’d like to help people be happy and find purpose in their life. In my opinion, this is the greatest gift and I’d like to make it as easy and accessible as possible.
So, to sum it up, my dream career is having my own service-based business where I help people with my content (blog articles, Youtube videos etc.) and directly with coaching.
Even though I’m still side-hustling my business, I absolutely love it and look forward to doing is full-time asap =)
2. Figure out your passions
Next, you need to figure out your passions.
Your dream career doesn’t necessarily have to be around your passions. But it’s still important to take them into account.
Either it will spark an idea for something that’s loosely related to your passion. Or you’ll at least incorporate them into your vision for your dream life.
For instance, my biggest passion is traveling: I absolutely love it! However, I didn’t really see a way to combine it with my other values to make it a career. So, I just made sure that my dream career would work well together with it.
With a service-based business you basically only need a laptop and an internet connection. So, that works very well with traveling!
3. Figure out your strengths and skills
Next, look at what you’re good at or what you already have some knowledge in.
There are a few ways to go about this. You can ask your friends and colleagues what they think you’re good at. You’ll probably be surprised that other people might see strengths in you where you never expected them.
Another way to figure this out is to observe how your body and mind react in different situations. You can start with a very general exercise: how do you feel when you’re around lots of people and you have to engage with them in some sort of way.
Does it make you feel energized and happy? Maybe you’re feeling a rush of adrenaline flowing through your body and you’re totally losing track of time.
Or do you become tense and stressed, maybe you get some back pain or sweaty palms?
You can then go over to more and more specific tasks and situations. For instance: how do you feel about organizing events, researching information, calculating a budget, decorating your house, cooking dinner etc.
Go over every part of your daily life, not just your job, and observe how it makes you feel.
Whenever you feel energized and “in flow” in a situation, you can be pretty sure that this is one of your strengths.
4. Talk to people who are doing what you’d like to do
Okay, by now you should have gotten a better grasp of what kind of work you’d like to be doing. This doesn’t need to be super specific, yet. But as soon as you’ve got a rough idea of what you’d actually enjoy doing on a day to day basis, it’s time to talk to people who do what you’d like to be doing.
Ask your friends and colleagues if they know someone like that. Search social media for them or find forums to post in.
Get as much contact with people who are working in the field or fields you could imagine working in yourself. This will help you figure out if it’s really the kind of work you were imagining.
5. Try it out
The next step is to actually try out this kind of work.
Ideally, you should only go about that once you have a pretty good idea of a few things that you’d enjoy doing.
For instance, let’s say you could imagine doing something with coding or something with working out or something with marketing. Even though all these 3 areas are still very broad, you at least know the fields you’re interested in.
Trying things out works best through volunteering, doing a bootcamp seminar or starting it as a hobby.
6. Gain relevant experience
The last step is to gain relevant experience to move forward towards a transition into your dream career.
You can obviously only do that once you know pretty well what kind of work you want to be doing.
Let’s say you figured out that you enjoy every aspect of helping other people working out. And after trying different things in that field, you found out that being a Yoga instructor aligns perfectly with all your values and passions and let’s you combine all your interests and strengths.
You don’t need to know if you want to build your own business with it or if you want to be employed as a teacher, yet. You’ll automatically figure that out down the line.
In order to gain experience, you could first start with the Yoga teacher training. Once you’ve done that you can basically start working straight away. Either you’re looking for a part-time job as a teacher at a studio or you could also offer it online as a freelancer.
There are probably tons of other options. This requires you to be a little resourceful and look at all your different options.
What if I have no idea what my values, passions or strengths are?
Now you might say: “okay, great. But what if I have absolutely no idea what my values, passions or strengths are? I don’t even know where to begin.”
If that’s you and you’re feeling a little lost on your career clarity journey, then I’d love to help you!
I know how difficult it can be to find out what you’re good at or to think about how you want your life to look like in a few years from now. That can be incredibly scary and overwhelming.
That’s why I’m offering free 30-min 1:1 calls where we talk exactly about that! In this call we’ll go over your specific situation and I’ll give you some actionable and personalized tips how you can get more clarity in terms of your values, passions and strengths.