According to performance experts, the average American will invest about 90,000 hours at work over the course of his or her career. However, a 2013 Gallup poll revealed that an astounding 70 percent of workers surveyed described themselves as “disengaged.”
For those unfulfilled and unhappy workers, there really is hope for finding that dream job. But the critical first step lies in identifying the pathway to professional fulfillment. Simply put, that means asking yourself (or others) the hard questions which lead to honest inner dialogue about your passion (or purpose), your talent and your inner drive. In light of this, following are five (5) important questions every person considering a career change should ask themselves.
1. What task do your friends, family and co-workers compliment you on most, and what reasons are offered to support their comments?
For many people, it’s extremely difficult to be completely objective about ourselves. However, everyone has some task — or some special quality — which distinguishes them from others. Do you offer a unique approach, or is there a similar theme related to the feedback you often receive? Is there a particularly meaningful nugget of feedback that has stuck with you?
Asking yourself these important questions can help to point you toward your innate talents.
2. Deep down, what job have you always been interested in, and why has that role peaked (and maintained) your interest?
There is always an important reason why we become interested in, or excited about, a particular role… and that reason is usually tied to our interests or purpose. Also important, do NOT limit yourself to a job title that doesn’t yet exist, because in an ever-changing society, new job titles can be created to address specific needs or challenges.
3. If, hypothetically, you were tasked with working on your day off and could choose any role you like, what would you choose and why?
Free time is, hopefully, dedicated to the things most important and most interesting to you. So, the task you would choose to perform in your “free time” will often point toward your interests, goals and purpose.
4. If I had the opportunity to get more education to develop a particular skill set, what major (or coursework) would you opt for and why?
Educational choices often point not only to our interests but also to our innate abilities. For example, individuals with exceptional skill in math and science typically do not lean toward (or have interest in) degrees/certifications in the arts.
5. When you retire and look back on your career, what is the thing you want to be recognized for and why?
The answer to this question will point directly toward the mark an individual would like to make on his or her community, city, state or world. It points directly toward a person’s life goals and purpose.
It’s always a good idea to jot down the responses to these questions, as common themes, goals and interests may emerge. And having a clear understanding of your values, interests and overall career goal(s) can assist in finding and taking the next step.