The Huffington Post recently announced that according to a recent survey, 84% of working individuals plan to look for a new job in 2013. That’s a 24% increase from last year. So why are people so unhappy with their jobs? The top reasons given were poor management and not enough money. But if this is you, maybe just changing jobs isn’t the real answer. What you may really need to do is completely re-boot your career - and there is no time like the present to start. To help you, I have three key questions for you to think about.
Question number one: Do you know anyone who loves their job?
Some of us are very lucky. We get to go to work every day to a job that gives our lives meaning. Sure, liking what we do will get us through a few tough days. But finding true meaning in work can fuel one (or many) amazing careers! Just think of Nelson Mandella, Steve Jobs, or Oprah.
if you’ve noticed, brilliant stories about successful people often include a mentor, someone they looked up to or followed, or sometimes it’s just a chance encounter with someone who changed the direction of their life. I can’t emphasize how important this is. Without a role model, planning your next step is going to be a challenge. If you know someone who clearly loves their work, connect with them and get their advice. They’ll have great expertise on career choices.
Don’t know someone personally? Then what about someone in your community who is passionate and clearly loves what they do. Seek them out. (I’ve tried this many times. It’s not that hard.) Ask them what drives them, what makes them love what they do and what kind of companies they think you should consider. An experience like this will have more impact on your future than a dozen seminars or a hundred books on success. Don’t delay. Make this your plan for the next 30 days.
Question number two: What’s your purpose in life?
I know. You weren’t expecting that question. But the research shows that a dream job is rarely about money or status. In fact, people who win million dollar lotteries are only exceptionally happy for about a week. Then things return to normal. That’s human nature. For a long term, career-length boost in happiness you will need to find true meaning in your work. And this comes from doing something totally aligned with your reasons for getting up in the morning.
I know you’ve heard this before, but writing down your goals is one of the few ways to get your brain truly engaged in the process. (Your brain is really much more interested in a bunch of other things that have nothing to do with accomplishing goals - like eating and sleeping and partying. It’s not really on your side on this one.)
Do you have a ten year plan for your future? Broken down into details? If you do, I’d like you to add one more piece that most financial counsellors forget. Beside every goal put your purpose. If you write “Send my daughter to college” beside that write the purpose. “Because education will change her life for the better.” or whatever your reason is. I guarantee you thinking about purpose will change the way you think about your goals forever.
If it’s time to really change your work life you need to start looking at the kind of job you can do that meets your purposes.
Question three: When can I start?
Ahhhhh. You’ve connected with other passionate and driven people so now you have an idea what meaningful work will look like for you. And you’ve created your own plan for achieving your own goals based on what gives your life purpose. (I know, lofty stuff for a blog page - but great content to chat about in that all-important next interview).
Now to connect to that job.
Here’s the perfect introduction to an employer, one that most would find difficult to ignore. (This can work on the phone, in person or in an introductory email).
“I recently met with Jane McDonald, the President of XYZ Company. It was a very inspiring discussion. She is clearly very driven and successful. She suggested that your company would be one where I could find the kind of opportunities I’m looking for to really excel at. I’d be interested in talking to you about opportunities.”
And when you get the interview, here is your chance to talk about the meetings you arranged with leaders in the community, your very clear goals and how you will accomplish them. This effort alone will give you a clear advantage over 95% of the other candidates and a great start towards that new career.