Get Your Dream Job – Do What You Love AND Get Paid For It
Want your dream job? Imagine getting up in the morning filled with excited anticipation about going to work? Isn’t this everyone’s dream? Finding a job that you love should be easy – but it’s often not. With millions of job choices, it’s hard to know what’s out there, let alone matching your passion with work, but we think it’s really important that you do what you love.
The reality is that you’ll spend most of your life at work. I know, that’s a scary thought! Given that we’re all living longer and expected to work to older ages, it makes sense that you should spend work time doing what you love. While a career is no longer for life, and you can change your career course at any time, it’s worthwhile taking time to think about choosing a job that makes you happy.
Before you do that, take a stocktake of yourself as a potential employee. Think about what abilities you have and what you really love. Take stock of both the hard and soft skills you possess, what you’d love to develop, any experience you have and what topics or tasks interest you.
Find your Strengths
Your strengths often reveal a lot about what type of person you are and what you are interested in. It doesn’t take a complex personality test to work out that someone who is great at Photoshop probably has a more than average level of interest in digital photography, is creative and/or has a good eye for detail.
Use the Strengths Profile Model to work out what strengths you have and in which areas.
- Realised strengths (strengths you use and enjoy) – Use wisely
- Unrealised strengths (strengths you don’t use as often) – Use more
- Learned behaviours (things you’ve learnt but may not enjoy) – Use as needed
- Weaknesses (things you find hard and don’t enjoy) – Use less
Include in your strengths skills you’ve learnt that have helped you at school, as a worker and in life in general – especially if you’re proud of them and enjoy using them.
What Are Your Interests?
Once you have an idea of where your strengths lie, think about what your interests are.
- What do you find fascinating?
- Which stories do you read?
- What TV shows or documentaries do you watch?
- Do you belong to any groups?
- Which sports or hobbies do you enjoy?
- What do you follow on social media?
Then ask yourself why for each of these questions. What does that tell you about yourself – and what jobs fit in with the interests you’ve identified?
Knowing what “floats your boat” can give you an insight into the type of job or career that will work for you. If you aren’t sure about certain careers or jobs you might want to consider volunteering. Not only can it give you a great (free) way to experience a career, it can give you valuable information about and contacts within the profession.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll start to see what might suit – and you can start to think about what skills you’ll need to do those jobs and how you can go about developing them.
Go and Find Your Ikigai
You now have everything ready to discover – and possibly attain – your Ikigai. This is a Japanese concept similar to a reason for existence. Ikigai refers to a balance between your profession, mission, passion and vocation. When you are able to form an equilibrium between all of these elements, you will be content. Importantly, this doesn’t have to be some world changing event or something that will get you on tv – just something that makes you and the people around you happy.
Although it might sound very spiritual, it actually makes perfect sense. Ultimately, the definition of a dream job is finding something you’re good at, that’s rewarding, and appreciated and valued. And knowing what you want is the first step to getting it!
Dream job impossible?
I know what you must be thinking, “Well, I’d love to quit tomorrow and become a professional animal photographer but I still need to pay the bills”. I get that.
Getting your dream job may not happen overnight but, if you’re determined, it will happen.
Sometimes it takes time to develop what you need – skills, equipment, knowledge, connections – but there’s nothing stopping you developing these while you work at a “fill-in” job or one that gives you experience along the way.
Invest in Yourself
Keep your eye on the prize, learn from people who’ve done what you want to do, invest in yourself by doing courses, watching tutorials or videos, following the successes of others (and learning from them), reading relevant books or articles and/or doing volunteer work or start by doing what you love for fun.
Last but certainly not least, learn the invaluable skill of networking. Many jobs come about because of the people you know so get out and about and meet people. Ask questions, ask for introductions and offer to volunteer with people who can help you move along the path. You never know if the next person you meet might be the one who offers you your dream job!