Finding Your Purpose

The Question to Ask Yourself Before Your Next Job

Photo credit: One Way Stock on Visual hunt / CC BY-ND

When I first entered the workforce years ago, I had a consistent and pretty successful strategy for picking jobs. I dug into the meager findings and applied to positions with descriptions that fit my qualifications. Sounds pretty normal right?

What I learned after a few decades of job hopping was that I was good at getting jobs, but I was terrible at finding jobs that fit me.

I was so focused on placating the interviewee that I rarely stopped to judge whether it was something I was into too.

This may seem like a subtle difference. But here’s why it matters.

Even if you are in dire need of a job right now, you still need to be aware of why you’re choosing it. There may be aspects of an entry level job that interest you or maybe it’s a stepping stone to what you want to end up doing. But if you go in there unconscious, desperately wanting someone to choose you, you give up your power. You lose sight of your end goal. And your chance of quitting within a year will be high.

It’s kind of like being in a relationship. When you’re too focused on making someone like you, you get involved with someone for the wrong reasons. Being in the wrong relationship keeps you from the one you really desire.

So what can you do about it?

Here’s a quick question that will change the way you perceive that new opportunity.

Instead of can I do this job, ask yourself, “Do I want to do this?”

Instead of do I have the qualifications to manage social media, ask yourself, “Do I want to spend 8 hours a day devoted to increasing and engaging followers?”

Instead of am I qualified to write reports based on research and statistics, ask yourself, “Is working with data and writing something that fuels me?”

I discovered that I got a high from getting jobs. It was validating. Someone thought I was qualified! Someone wanted me. But after years of being unhappy with the jobs I was getting, I realized that I had to get honest with what I really wanted.

Knowing your end goal, and intention frees up your time. It’s like a pass to go straight to the finish line. Instead of fishing for anything you can catch, visualize the one you want to catch, and go for that. It’s like time traveling. You’ll minimize all that wasted time pleasing someone in a job that was never meant for you anyway.

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