“So… uhh… how do I find a job that I love?”
Talk about money long enough, and the question inevitably comes up. And it should.
Most of us spend 60-80% of our waking hours doing something work-related. If you don’t enjoy that work, then it means you’re unhappy 60-80% of the time. Logical, right?
It would also make sense that the quickest way to improve your happiness would be to improve your enjoyment of the thing you spend the most time doing. Since that’s work, you wonder if you couldn’t find something better.
But the question is, “How?”
Here’s what I think: the answer is in the title of this post.
Let’s break it down, starting at the end of the title and working our way back to the beginning.
Step One: Define Love
The word “love” describes a huge variety of emotions. What does it mean to you?
Most people just think they’ll “know it when they find it,” but I think that’s wrong. You’ll find it when you know it, not the other way around.
Take some time and figure out exactly what you mean when you say “love.” Envision it. That way, you’ll at least know what you’re looking for.
Step Two: Define You
It’s funny what happens when you try to define a word like love. You start thinking about yourself.
- Who are you right now?
- Who do you want to be?
- What do you really want?
- Can you really have it?
- Do you really deserve it?
Finding happiness is more about self-discovery than career advice, and self-discovery usually starts with hard questions. If you want a meaningful career, find the courage to ask them.
Step Three: Define Work
Once you know who you are and what you want, you can start tackling concepts like work. For most people, “work” and “happiness” don’t really go together. Work means:
- Being ticked off at your boss
- Doing stuff you don’t enjoy
- A never-ending competition
- Dealing with bureaucracy
- Fighting to be noticed
If you want work that you love, then you’ll have to change your conception of work. You might even want to remove the word from your vocabulary entirely.
Personally, I divide actions into two categories: those moving me toward my objectives and those NOT moving me toward my objectives. I try to always do the former and never do the latter.
Ever since, I’ve never had a problem finding the motivation to “work.” Isn’t that interesting?
Step Four: Define Find
The act of “finding” normally involves the act of “searching.” So, if you want to find a job you love, you have to commit yourself to searching for it. That means:
- Reading about other jobs and professions
- Asking people what their work is like
- Keeping an eye out for interesting opportunities
- Updating your rÃ©sumÃ©
- Applying for jobs and going on interviews
Think of yourself like a detective, methodically searching for a missing person. You don’t just wait for them to appear out of nowhere. You have to go looking for them.
Step Five: Define How
Here’s the big question: once you find a job that looks like one you’d love, how do you go about getting it? You might need to:
- Pay for some specialized training
- Build your reputation as an expert
- Network with influencers in industry
- Get some relevant work experience
- Actually apply for the job
Whatever it requires, do it. If you get turned down, just keep asking until you either find out why and fix the problem or they hire you because of your persistence. Remember, you’re either moving closer, or you’re not.
How to Find Work That You Love
Didn’t I tell you the answer was in the title? If you look carefully, we’ve worked through every content word in the sentence, starting with “love” and ending with “how.”
You can approach most problems this way. Just break them down, figure out what all of the words mean, and you’ll automatically start to understand what to do.
The one thing I’ll add is, you might need to go through this process several times. You’ll start your dream job, find out you don’t like it as much as you thought, and then move onto the next one.
I’m going through that process for the fourth time in nine years. Every time, I get a little closer, enjoying my work a little more.
And know what? It’s worth it.