If the sound of the alarm clock invokes dread in your soul because you can’t imagine the idea of another day at your job, it’s most likely time to think about what you’re doing with your life. While not everyone loves getting up in the morning to go to work, you shouldn’t dread it so much that you spend all morning thinking about an excuse to call out. That’s not what having a career and going to work should be for anyone.

Many people view a career as a means to an end, a stepping stone to a better career, or a calling. Maybe you don’t fit snugly in any of the molds. Maybe you’re somewhere in between. That’s okay. Whatever the case, consider this…

Work should not be dreadful.

Repeat, work should not be dreadful.

If it is, it’s time to reassess your career. In a perfect world, your career should be a combination of the following:

  • What you like to do
  • What will make you money
  • What you’re good at
  • What the world needs

If you feel overwhelmed after reading that shortlist, take a deep breath. Part of the reason why you may feel overwhelmed and hate your job is that you don’t know the answers to any of those. Believe it or not, neither do many people. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t figure them out.

Solving the Career Puzzle

Think of your career as a puzzle. Not one of those with 1,000 pieces…maybe one with 500 or so. We don’t need to make things harder than they are. 

When you feel like you can’t make any of the pieces fit, it’s time to try a few at a time to see which ones work.  While you can look at the puzzle and think about which pieces will fit, you’re not going to know if they will until you try. So, using that same rationale, you may think you know which career is best for you, but you won’t really know unless you try a few on for size.

It may be trial and error until you find the one that completes your puzzle.

That’s scary, I know. It’s normal.

Think about this…

Arguments can be made for all the criteria of what your career should look like. But, only you can decide which one takes priority or what that combination looks like for you.

For what it’s worth, I believe a successful career is one that makes the life of at least one person better. That one person may just be you.

How do I Know I Made the Right Choice?

Ooh…this is a tough one.

It may feel risky to leave a job for something that may or not be the better fit. It takes time to figure things out. Even when you think you have, you may still have some doubts about whether you made the right decision. You may not realize you made the right decision until you look back at your series of career choices and have that “a-ha” moment that you made the right one.

As you start to dive deep into what career is best for you, you may realize that your ideas are all over the charts. That’s ok. That’s the whole point. You need to think about the criteria of what makes a good career and what’s most important for you. This should help you to narrow down the list to the ones that fit that mold of your ideal career. 

For me, the best advice is to find what you love and put all of your energy into that. Some people realize that there are things that they love to do, but they may not be the best at them. Others may discover that they’re talented at doing things they really don’t like. This is when you need to decide what the highest priority is for you.

I always put what I like to do at the top of the list. Everything else seems to fall into place after that. Don’t worry if the situation is different for you. That’s the whole point. You need to find the best way to fit all of the pieces of your puzzle so that it’s picture-perfect.

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