Instead of focusing on job search tactics like interviewing and networking, let’s hone in on the bigger issues, such as, what do you want to do when you grow up?

If you are a grownup and are still asking this question, whatever job you’ve been working hasn’t been working for you.

Some folks say if you’re making a living at whatever you’re doing, you don’t have to like it, just be satisfied that it puts food on the table. When polling organizations ask American employees what they want in a job, given the choices of good pay, good hours, a chance at promotion, a chance to make a difference, and job security, respondents consistently choose, “a chance to make a difference.”

The majority of people who call me want to learn how to find a job that’s a better match than the one they have. They say that getting a paycheck is enough until it isn’t. They want to do something that is sustainable because it matters. They want intrinsic rewards as well as financial returns.

How can you discover opportunities that bring out the best in you and return energy to you when you don’t like your job, your boss, the company you work for or the people you work with?

You won’t know what the right job provides unless you know what the wrong job denies. What do you need to feel whole in a sustainable way?

Challenge? Support? Safety? Inclusion? Encouragement? Variety?

“I’m bored. I do the same thing every day. I need to be challenged.”

“The work is difficult; the people I have to work with, more so.”

“I spend every day worrying I’ll get fired and every night wishing I was.”

“I’m good at sales and sell widgets. I don’t want to sell widgets.”

“I like widgets, but I can’t sell them.”

“I’m good at every job but mine.”

“I’m all about honesty. My workplace isn’t.”

Employees repeat history when they go on interviews and oversell their weaknesses while ignoring their strengths. They stay stuck when they say whatever it takes to win a job, without considering the penalties of winning the wrong one. They fail themselves when rather than ask questions about what they need to know, ask nothing, either fearing the response, or assuming they have no right to ask or need to know.

Bottom line, employees and job applicants make bad situations worse when they blame others for their predicament rather than take responsibility for the choices they’ve made.

If you take time to reflect on what you need before you plan; plan each of the steps you’ll take before you take them and make yourself aware of the consequences of your choices, you’ll be more satisfied with your outcomes.

It takes time, curiosity, confidence, self-awareness and patience to do it right. If you’re lacking in any of these components, hone in on what it is, ask for the help you need and keep working toward your goal. It requires effort to achieve a positive, sustainable result. It’s worth the energy it takes to get there.

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Contact Joyce Richman at 336-288-1799 and joyce@joycerichman.com.

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