Your Dream Job Step One: Decide What You Want

I think the idea of pursuing a dream job is something every worker should aspire to.  You should enjoy your work, use your strongest skills, and be paid well. Even in this recession, it’s possible to pursue and find your dream job; it just may take a little longer.

So here is the first step you might take to find your dream job eventually.  Decide what elements make up your dream job: what you do, when and where you do it, who you work with and for, and what your typical day at work looks like.  It’s harder than it sounds.

Many career coaches start their client relationship by asking the client to imagine the perfect day on the perfect job. Take a few minutes to think about it and write down your thoughts.

  • Are you working in an office with lots of people, or in some other setting? In the middle of the jungle – or from home? Do you have lots of interaction with customers or coworkers during the day, or do you revel in peaceful solitude where you can let the creative juices flow?  How busy and active are you during the day?  If you’re busy, think about the difference between organized, steady activity and emergencies – which one sounds exciting?
  • What do you do during the day?  Are your activities varied and challenging, or do you focus on a single task each day?  Which of your skills do you use the most?  What are you learning?  Are you the student or the expert? How do you gain recognition for what you do? How do you grow?  More training? More practice? Working under other experts?
  • How do you get paid? Are you more likely to get hugs from your clients, your name in the paper, or a big bonus from the board of directors?  What hours do you keep?  How much do you travel? How does your work affect your lifestyle?  How do you feel at the end of a “good” day?  Exhausted and exhilarated? Or quietly satisfied with having solved a complex problem?

You can’t pursue your dream job unless you have a clear vision of what it will look like.  You’ll also need to know which of these attributes is most important to you.  Are you willing to sacrifice pay for excitement?  Or prestige for family time?  You may not get everything you want in one job – but understanding where your values lie will help you make decisions when you have an opportunity in front of you.

Next: Research for a realistic shot at success.

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