Are You On the Right Career Track?

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My work often introduces me to people who are miserable in their job and my great privilege is to help them forge a new path. I also have had the opportunity, as part of my research, to meet and interview many people who love what they do, and I find that although there are many unique elements to their stories, they also have many things in common.

The list below is a summary of what has been reported to me by people who have enjoyed sustainable career satisfaction. In assessing whether or not you are on the path to career fulfillment, see how many on this list of ten things YOU can check off:

  1. When you are at work, you often lose track of time instead of watching the clock.
  2. You enjoy reading your trade publications or other information about your field.
  3. You can imagine a positive future in your career.
  4. You have colleagues at your job or in the same field who you respect and admire.
  5. Either you are doing your dream work currently or the work you are doing now is a necessary step in creating dream work.
  6. Your loved ones, including the young people in your life, know what you do and have a sense you love it.
  7. You don’t cringe when people ask you what you do. You enjoy talking about your work.
  8. You know what you love to do.
  9. You are willing to take risks to do what you love.
  10. You have a sense that no matter how long you are on this career track you have more to learn and master, and that prospect is exciting to you.

Ideally, you can identify with most of the list, but many people will find that there are very few items on that list that describe their current outlook.  If that is the case for you, you may be ready for a change in course.  The good news is that the sooner you work on creating a new path, the more likely it is you will have more career satisfaction the future. Here are a few suggestions for next steps:

  1. Seek out people who love their work and learn from their experience in how they found their “thing.”
  2. Begin researching projects, jobs and educational opportunities that will expose you to new fields.
  3. Seek inspiration by watching movies or reading books about people who found and followed a calling, such as the documentary Sketches of Frank Ghery.

Laurel Donnellan                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bright Livelihoods

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