If you’re like most people, you already have a few friends who are miserable at their job. Most of our waking lives are spent at work — having a meaningful, rewarding job is important. How can you avoid ending up in a career you dislike?
Are You Taking a Job Just to Get a Job?
Taking the first job that you’re offered is a common mistake. Not only do you not yet know your own marketable value, but you could end up trapped in a position that you don’t really like. It’s easy to say that you’ll keep looking, but the reality is that once you get a job, it’s very easy to stay in it. This is how you can end up spending years in a miserable career.
What Gives Your Life Meaning?
“Meaning” is defined in a different way for everyone. Some people want more time off, to spend with their family. Others want a high-paying career, so they can afford other goals. Some want to eventually own their own jobs, while others just want to make a difference to their industry. All goals are equally valid — but you need to understand your personal goals before you can look for a job that will bring you closer to them.
Are There “Catches” to This Job?
Many careers have a catch. They may pay well but they may have very long hours. They may be rewarding, but they may have a long commute. It’s impossible to find a perfect job — but you should think long and hard about the catches that you know about.
Issues such as working long hours or having a long commute can eventually catch up to you, leading to even the best job becoming unpleasant. Ask yourself whether the catches of the job or industry are something that you personally can deal with.
Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
Many employers ask this question as a way of weeding out people who are going to leave soon. You should also be asking this question, but to determine what your goals are going to be over the next few years of your career. Are the positions that you’re interviewing for going to get you where you want to go? Is the career that you’re choosing now something that you want to be doing in five or ten years?
Ultimately, finding a meaningful career involves a lot of self-reflection. You need to ask yourself about what you want and how you want to get there. Once you’ve answered those question, you need to ask whether the position you are looking at can get you there. By keeping your eye on your goals, you can move towards achieving your dreams.