Surveys indicate that three out of four of you don’t like your job. If you think the answer is simply switching jobs, think again.
Today’s job market is like a revolving door. Let me explain…
• The average person has 3 careers and 10 different jobs in his or her lifetime. (source: Department of Labor)
• Employee turnover shot to its highest levels in nearly two decades last year. (source: BNA)
• 60% of the workforce plans to change jobs in the next 12 months. (source: Workforce.com)
• 75% of workers surveyed say they are dissatisfied with their work-lives.
What does all this mean? It means that turnover is high and satisfaction continues to be low. It means that people are hopping into jobs that they dislike as much as the one they left. It means that something needs to change.
What’s going on?
The fact is that people basically don’t know their natural talents and where they fit in the working world.
Finding meaningful and satisfying work is not normal. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just that it’s tragically rare. The fact is that you simply are not likely to blindly walk into a career that excites and satisfies you. Finding the right career for YOU takes a lot of analysis, introspection and research. Amazingly, however, the average person spends more time researching a home computer purchase than a lifetime career!
Instead of understanding their natural, trademark talents and their full “vocational identity”, they play the odds and job-hop with the increasingly unlikely expectation that the next one will bring happiness – only to become disenchanted, again, and start planning the next hop.
What are you doing to help your odds?
Start by focusing on the cornerstone of job satisfaction – “job fit”.
Because you are a living creature like any plant or animal, you have specific environments that you thrive in. The key to breaking the vicious “job-hop” cycle is to identify the type of environment you fit into.
I have pigeonholed job hunters into 4 general categories based on how enlightened they are to the importance of job fit. Knowing what group you are in can help you understand what you can do to improve your chances of finding a profession that you will thrive in.
The freshmen are clueless. To them, people are supposed to dislike their work and “grin and bear” the misery. You probably know a few freshmen.
They feel the pain but have no idea where it’s coming from. They either change jobs to make more money, or they make a lateral change in responsibilities, hoping the new position will cure their ailments -- it rarely does.
This group is enlightened enough to know they’re in the wrong career. They want to make a change, but don’t know to what or how. So they surf the web for cute personality and career quizzes and look for quick, free answers to life’s greatest inquiry. They usually end up stuck in their career or simply resort to the tactics of the Sophomores.
Plain and simple, this is the group you want to be in.
They understand the importance of job fit. They have their natural talents tested and know what they like and what they don’t like; what they want and what they don’t want; what they do well and what they don’t do well; and what will give them a sense of “meaning.” Before switching jobs, the seniors really do their homework. They know what comes naturally to them, what work environment they need, what fascinates them, what motivates them and how it all fits with their longer-term goals. These folks have the greatest chance at finding an extraordinary work-life.
5 steps to becoming a ‘Senior Job Hunter
1. Get Committed
In finding one’s “right livelihood”, there is no room for couch potatoes. Don’t be slow. You have just one life to live and then you’re worm food. You had better live your one life doing work that completes you because you are meant to do it.
2. Focus on JobFit!
The foundation of career joy and real success is built by matching your innate talents and the other 6 factors of your vocational identity with the nature of the profession. Ignore this truism and you’ll be wandering the desert for a long time to come.
Finding ideal work isn’t really as complicated as people think. Just use a systematic, holistic process to find out (a) who you are and (b) what your best possible options are.
Analyze your past work experiences and find the common elements that you loved and elements that you detested. Choose a reputable aptitude and personality assessment that comes with individualized, career-related interpretation and/or guidance.
In other words, avoid any incomplete approach, such as career books, or tests, or counselors alone.
The day-to-day work of a given career is rarely like what the public perceives it to be. Before choosing a career, find out what it’s like. Websites, such as WetFeet.com and YourVocation.com offer you the chance to get the inside scoop.
4. Take the Risk
I’m often amazed at the number of my clients who, through our work, have found a profession that suits them perfectly but are unable to take the leap to the new career. Human instincts and the nay-saying voices in our heads try to keep us in a “safe”, risk-free state of inertia. But you must get on the playing field if you are to find your beautiful place in the working world.
5. Get a Coach/Counselor
Maybe it’s not as dangerous as performing brain surgery on yourself, but orchestrating and then navigating through the complex process of career choice without a qualified and passionate external party is tricky at best. They can help ensure the success of each of the above four steps.
The demise of company and employee loyalty has encouraged workers to begin searching for their next job the moment work dissatisfaction rears its ugly head. If you desire fulfillment in your worklife, make an effort to find a job that not only pays you, but, more importantly, fits you.
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Steve Bohler, MS, JCTC
Founder and Head Career Coach of the Oxford Program
To learn more about what you should be doing with your life, and to subscribe for FREE to the Oxford Program eCourse, go to: www.TheOxfordProgram.com
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