Doug Dvorak's Blog

How to Discover Your Dream Job

There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in a job you hate. In fact, studies show job dissatisfaction can even impact your overall health by causing problems with sleep, anxiety, and depression.


There are many reasons why people stay in jobs they don’t like such as family responsibilities or health insurance. However, there’s no reason why you can’t be looking for something more fulfilling and rewarding while you endure the grind of your current employment situation.


How often have you heard the old expression, “Find something to do that you’re passionate about and you’ll never work another day in your life”? Probably, for someone who is not happy in their work, an annoyingly high number of times. However, there’s a reason why the people spouting this advice are usually so unbearably happy looking. It’s the truth!


To get started on the path to finding work you’re passionate about, start by thinking about things you’ve always enjoyed whether they are work-related or not. While some pursuits are more monetizable than others, perhaps there’s a combination of your passions that will offer a rewarding escape from your current situation.


Here are five steps you can follow to find success in your dream job:


List your hobbies and interests


Make a list of everything you have a passion for. It should include things you already spend a lot of time doing outside of work such as reading, writing, photography, watching sports or working out.


Then, go down the list and start another column with all the associated professions in it. For example, if you love to read, journal, or post on social media, perhaps you have a future as a writer. If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, perhaps you have what it takes to be a chef. Get a kick out of taking and editing photos? Maybe you have a good eye for it and could turn that into a career.


Next, figure out what credentials you may need and look into what educational opportunities are available in your area. Community colleges, for example, offer a wide range of evening classes that can teach you what you need to know to escape your current employment situation.


Maybe part of the problem with your current job is not the work itself? Perhaps it’s working for other people that is not a good fit for you. After completing the steps outlined above, you can take advantage of today’s gig economy and try selling some of your work. If it moves, you could be on the way to launching your own standalone business.


To find your dream job, it is important to know what you’re passionate about, but it is even more important to know you can actually make a living doing it.


Know your strengths and weaknesses


Knowing what your best qualities are and where your strengths lie may help guide you down the right path to your dream job. However, the reverse could also be true so it’s important to understand what your weaknesses are, too.


Maybe you love movies and have always dreamed of being an actor, but you know that you have bad social or performance anxiety issues. In a case like this, it would probably be wise just to cross it off the list. Remember, what you’re looking for is a dream job not a beyond-your-wildest-dreams job.


Connect with like-minded people


Starting with online searches. try to connect with groups of people who share your interests. Finding the right groups will allow you to learn and solicit advice from people who have already been down the road you hope to travel.


Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are great examples of places where interest-specific groups get together digitally to share thoughts and discuss career opportunities.


There are also many in-person social and professionals clubs where people get together and bond over their shared interests. Examples include writing groups for authors or physical fitness clubs for trainers. Check out the ads in the Community section on Craigslist or consider posting your own to find like-minded people in your area.


Know your dislikes


This one kind of goes without saying but you’d be surprised how often people get sucked into jobs they hate just because they involve one or two elements of things they’re passionate about.


For example, don’t take a job as a manager of a day-care facility when what you really enjoy is caring for children. You’ll almost never get to spend any time working directly with the kids and all of the spreadsheets and parent complaints will drive you crazy!


While there probably isn’t a job out there that will be 100% things you enjoy, it is important make sure you can minimize the tasks you don’t like or else you’ll be right back where you started.


In other words, it’s important to consider everything that will go into your dream job before you can really consider it a dream job.


Explore your options


Another way to go – especially if you’re particularly miserable in your current job – is just to take the plunge and dive right in. There are literally thousands of vacancies out there right now that employers can’t find people to fill.


This could be your chance to jump into a new career even if your credentials aren’t fully up to scratch. Many employers are desperate and willing to make exceptions if you can demonstrate you know what to do or are a quick study.


Their employment nightmare could be the answer to your employment dreams. But, one thing’s for sure, nothing going to happen until you “wake up” and take the first steps.


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