The right career choice can add to your sense of life satisfaction, the wrong career choice may make you miserable. But how do you know what makes you happy and what makes you miserable? If you feel like something is missing from your career, reflect on these four questions to gain better insight on what you could do to become more satisfied.
What did you enjoy as a child?
Imagine yourself as a child. What activities made you the happiest? Were you into drawing or painting? Singing or dancing? Running or climbing? Imagine, in your gut, the blissful feeling you get when you are happy. What activities, no matter how well you think you did them, sparked that feeling? As a child, you were driven to do things by your innate desire to chase that joy. As you grow older, outside influences and demands may have discouraged you from following your innate desire. Reach back into that vulnerable and explorative period in time to understand what makes you the happiest. Reflecting on this may help you realize what you desire in your current role, or what you are missing.
What books are on your bookshelf?
Think of your current night stand. What book is waiting to be read? What types of books are on your bookshelf? Someone may have a plethora of self-transformation books – which can signal that a career as a coach or counselor may bring them joy. What do all your books have in common? These books are interesting to you and may be areas in which you would enjoy working in.
What professions can bring you that joy?
After reflecting on the joys of your childhood as well as the joy your books bring you, what professions can bring you that joy? For example, perhaps you enjoyed building and taking things apart as a child. This joy could be translated into becoming an engineer or mechanic. Really reflect on the feelings of joy and write down what those feelings are, and what brings you that feeling.
How do you decide to move forward?
Switching professions can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have a good idea of what it is actually like. A good place to start is to look at websites for the different roles inside the profession. If you are interested in the mental health profession, look at different mental health centers to see what positions are needed. From there, you can look at actual individuals who do that job by using LinkedIn, or other online resources. Reach out to these individuals via email and simply request an informational interview. For this interview, you’ll have a handful of questions you want to know that will help you understand this job more deeply. The email can be short and simple, such as:
Dear (person’s name),
My name is (your name). I’m reaching out because I am highly interested in pursuing a career in (their field), specifically as a (their position). I’d love to learn more about your path, insights, and recommendations for someone who is thinking of jumping into your profession. I’m sure you’re busy, so even 20 minutes would be appreciated.
By reflecting on these four questions, you are embarking on a self-discovery journey. These questions will take clues from your past and your present to pave a way to a more fulfilling future. Also, realize you may not need to switch your profession at all! If you realize that your current role has opportunities to bring you that childhood joy, then you can either request to explore those opportunities, or give more attention to that aspect of your current role.