Finding Your Career Fit
I’ve been getting lots of questions about our “Re-imagining Work” series. This week they focused on finding satisfaction or meaning in work. I said, “Most people stumble into the career fit.” So, a question was, “Is there an easier or more effective way to do that?” I think so, but it will always involve “tweaking” and “trying.” Let me make a couple of suggestions.
01. Complete some testing or assessments. You’ll find many online and each has advantages and disadvantages, but they usually help inform about career paths that match personality and aptitudes. We spend so much of our time pursuing careers that we don’t fully understand and for which we’re not wired. Is it any wonder that we are frustrated? Narrow down your options with some good assessments.
02. Research careers and take a day to shadow someone in a prospective field. Someone shadowed me a couple of years ago and it was eye-opening for him and a special delight for me. Most of us have never really experienced any careers except our own (or none for young students). How would we know if we could do a job or like a job or excel? Taking time to try one on for size is enormously important.
03. Pursue mentors. In every field, experienced people have much to offer, usually just for the asking. Most of us miss out on that kind of wisdom because our pride prevents us from taking the risk or listening to that wisdom. This is more than shadowing. This is seeking out wisdom from experience, relationship, and competence that has been seasoned by time. In most of my mentoring relationships, I have been listening and had a “mentoring moment”–that one nugget that becomes a game changer in what I understand, what I have been doing, or what I should be pursuing. Mentors are enormously important.
No matter what you do, you’ll still have “bedpan” days where the work is hard or isn’t fun. You’re paying a price on those days and they are simply difficult. So the final suggestion is a scriptural one that is foundational for all the other decisions and insights.
04. Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6) If you’re trying to change or start a career, why wouldn’t you ASK your creator for wisdom and guidance? I once heard Paul Powell say, “God is far more concerned with WHO you are than WHERE you are.” In any work, acknowledge HIM with your excellence, energy, attitude, and service. Love people well; serve customers enthusiastically. Dare to care about them, not just use them, and they will love doing business with you and you will savor your work more than ever.