Would you call what you do a job or a career? Do you wake up dreading going into work or do you look forward to each day? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a job is defined as “a piece of work; something that has to be done,” while a career is defined as “a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling; a field for pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life.” Just looking at those definitions, key words jump out to highlight the vast difference between the two: one has to be done versus one is a permanent calling. There is a significant number of people in the world who go to work each day unhappy, unmotivated, and uninterested in their jobs. There may be a wide range of reasons, such as financial responsibilities, lack of employment opportunities, or educational or experience requirements, among others. However, in my work as a therapist, a significant reason seems to be the lack of knowledge or understanding in what a person truly wants to do or what would make them happy.

Trying to determine the best career or field to be in can be a challenge, especially with all of the options out there or if you don’t even know how to start to figure it out. It can feel daunting or overwhelming looking at all of the possibilities out there without some sort of focus or criteria. A good place to begin is by thinking about and answering the questions below:

  1. Make a list of things you truly enjoy. Notice day to day what you are drawn to, what you are interested in, and what you can get lost in while doing. What topics excite you to talk about? What do you like doing in your free time?
  2. Make a list of your strengths. What are you good at? Do you have any hidden talents or skills? What do others compliment you on or say you excel at?
  3. Think back to when you were younger. What did you want to be when you were a child? What professions did you admire? What was your idea of a dream job? Are you doing that? If not, why?
  4. 4Take money out of the equation. If you could do anything you wanted as a profession, regardless of income or financial obligations, what would it be?
  5. 5Figure out what is important to you. Do you want to make a difference, make lots of money, find meaning or fulfillment through work, change others’ lives, create or invent something, start a business, teach others, etc.?

Once these questions have been genuinely thought about and answered, you can then start to figure out careers which would be a good fit and the steps to get there. Say for example, based on the above, you realize that you spend a significant amount of time talking about food and recipes, you love to cook for and entertain others, you feel a sense of fulfillment by being able to feed and provide for others, and you constantly receive compliments about your skills in the kitchen. With that information and understanding it can really narrow down the options and where to start looking. Maybe you could be a chef, work in hospitality, find a position with a catering company, work for a non-profit company that provides meals, and the list goes on. The point is, it is much easier to start to figure out what you want to do and what would make you happy when interests and parameters have been identified.

If you are feeling uninterested or unfulfilled in your work and having difficulty figuring out what you want to do in your professional life, please contact Symmetry Counseling today to make an appointment with a therapist who can assist to help you figure out a better career.