75% of Employees demotivated at work
Did you know that more than 75% of employees feel disengaged and demotivated at work? Furthermore, employees feel unappreciated or uninspired – and 4 out 5 blame old-fashioned management styles for it. In fact, 85% of employees are actively looking for a new job. If you can relate to any of these feelings, please continue reading.
Maybe you’ve already been up several nights and googled different jobs, but actually, you’re not even sure what to look for. It’s ok if you don’t know just yet what your dream job is. An ideal job means doing what you love to do and that also suits your chosen lifestyle. You may think it means to change jobs to pursue your dream career, but it could also mean to take on a new role within your current company. And for others, it may mean starting up their own business to create a life of their dreams. You simply have to bear in mind that there are only 24 hours in a day for each of us – what you do with these 24 hours is up to you. Do you like spending most of this time at a job that is draining or would you rather have a job that makes you exciting getting up in the morning?
First-aid kit to find your dream job
In this article, I’ll provide you with a first-aid kit containing self-reflective questions and tools that help you find out what your dream job looks like. There are a few steps you can take to analyse your current situation and identify what it is you’re actually looking for. My advice is to take out some time, sit in a quiet place where you can be on your own and feel comfortable. Take a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Then, at your own pace think about activities that bring you joy, meaning, satisfaction, recognition, and success and write down the answers to all of the questions.
For this five-step-evaluation, you will first focus on your past career experiences. In the second step, you will take a closer look at your values. During the third step, you are going to concentrate on your strengths and talents, before moving on to evaluating your interests in step four. By then, you will already have clarity on what your ideal job looks like. The final step is the analysis of the market needs in your preferred industry and you will come up with alternative ideas to reach your goals by establishing an action plan on how to move on from here.
Look at your previous career experiences and reflect upon what you liked the most and the least about:
- The company culture
- Your manager
- The people you worked with
- Your responsibilities
Regarding your daily tasks, ask yourself:
- What was the most challenging thing at work so far?
- What do I enjoy most about working?
- Are my daily job activities in line with my education?
Now, take a closer look at your feelings in the following situations:
- When was I the happiest or the proudest?
- What was my biggest accomplishment so far?
- When was the last time I truly enjoyed what I was doing?
Finally, looking outside of work, ask yourself:
- What things have I consistently enjoyed in my life up until this point?
- Where do my thoughts go when I should actually work?
- What were/are things that help me relax after a stressful day at work?
Now, that you’ve investigated your past and previous experiences, especially with regards to your job, it’s time to move to the next step:
In order to find out the values that are deeply rooted within you, I kindly ask you to think about the following questions:
Regarding your inner drive:
- What are my values?
- What are the most important things in my life right now?
- Definition of my mission: Am I here for a special purpose, to do some unique work that only I can accomplish?
Reflecting upon your work environment:
- What are the company’s values? Do they fit my values?
- Is the company hierarchical or flat?
- Are people competitive with one another or collaborative?
- Are people friends outside the office?
Having looked at these aspects, think about which aspects you like and which you dislike. (You can put a plus behind the likes and a minus behind the dislikes.)
Focusing on your ideal work-life:
- How does my ideal workday look like?
- How does my work-life-balance look like?
- Do I prefer flexible hours?
- What is my opinion on remote work?
With respect to development:
- How important is growth to me in my dream job?
- Do I have the power to make decisions and move quickly?
- How would I like my performance being measured?
- Is money more important to me than other compensation?
Looking at further influences:
- What do I consider as reasonable pay?
- How important is transparency to me?
- Do I enjoy going on business trips? Or do I prefer not to travel for work at all?
- Do I like working on one or more assignments at a time?
Your values are an important part of your personality and your soul. They guide you; you just need to listen to your gut feeling and focus on what your true values are when making decisions. In the next step, we will move on to identifying your strengths.
In this step, you will focus on your strengths and talents. These can be skills you’ve always had in you or abilities you’ve trained to become an expert in over the years.
Please write down a list of your top strengths. Now, evaluate which of these you enjoy using most and which you would like to develop further. If you need a little help with that I can recommend the following tests and exercises to you (pick two or three):
- Personality test: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
- Find out about your skills: My Next Move
- Find your dream job: Career Explorer
- Talk to as many people as possible and interview them what they think you’re good at doing. These can be friends, family, colleagues, etc.
Next, you should ask yourself how you see your skillset and experiences fitting with your dream job. Once you’ve identified your strengths with the help of the mentioned tools, you can move on to the evaluation of your interests.
The fourth step is all about your motivation and interest. Take some time to examine the following aspects:
What sparks the fire within me?
- What’s something I did as a kid that’s actually found its way into my work?
- What motivates me?
- What is it about my career that keeps me engaged?
- What are the things I am passionate about?
Evaluating your hobbies:
- What things during my day give me energy?
- What am I doing just “for fun”?
- For which hobbies do I spend the most money?
- For which interests do I invest money?
Next, I want you to imagine you won the lottery and never have to work a day in your life.
- What would I want to start a career in?
- What would I spend your days doing?
- What do I feel SO passionate about I would still do even if I didn’t make a penny?
- Come up with 3 ways this could be a reality.
Now, you have some clarity and you should be at the point where you know exactly how your dream job looks like because you’ve now come to the intersection of your values, strengths, and interests. This works like a funnel that guides you towards your ideal job.
With the clarity you have now gained from the analysis above, you should also have identified whether it’s best for you to move on, or maybe to even stay in your company, but finally ask for what you want. My dear colleague and friend, Lena Lang – Expert for Tough Conversations, has analysed the core principles of asking for what you want from your career in the following video:
Feel free to contact Lena here in case you need help preparing this tough conversation with your boss.
From here, you can now move on to the next and final step – analysing the market’s needs.
#5 MARKET NEEDS
In the final step, you need to explore the market’s needs with regard to your ideal job.
There are three action steps to take in order to research the market:
- Follow up with the news.
- Visit job boards to learn which sectors have job openings and what kind of jobs are needed most.
- If your ideal field of work is not doing well, try investigating other sectors that may benefit from your expertise. Or if there are many layoffs in your area, try looking out for job openings in nearby areas or even abroad.
Often, I meet people who have a specific educational and professional background that they feel tied to. They are too afraid to let go because they have invested so much time, money, and effort. It is important to be open-minded and try new things. It’s necessary for you to get out of your comfort zone in order to progress. This can mean you take classes, attend workshops, read books or watch youtube tutorials in order to develop yourself. If you’re unsure about a job, why not opt-in for an internship? This is a good way to find out from within the industry whether the job fits you or not. In order for you to land your ideal job, you should come up with a plan. Start with a to-do list and then bring the tasks in order. Write down the goals that you want to achieve and where you want to go from here, now that you’ve identified your dream job.
Do you need help with your clarity?
In my Career Development programme, I mentor people through all of the questions outlined above. It involves finding the answers to some very soul-searching questions as well as an action plan on how to move forward. If you are interested in this coaching, feel free to contact me here.
Further readings and sources I used to write this article:
- Anna Runyon at Classy Career Girl, Here’s How to Determine What Your Dream Job Is.
- Elana Lyn Gross, How to Find Your Dream Job
- Frederic Laloux & Miriam Gilbert, Reinventing Organizations
- Haylie Ellison at The Morning Buzz, How to Find the Perfect Career for You.
- Lily Zhang at The Muse, The Secret Formula to Answering “What’s Your Dream Job?” in an Interview.
- Pauwels Consulting, How to define your dream job in 3 easy steps
In the next blog article, we will look at the German job market and why it’s the right time to take on a job there. So, please stay tuned and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.