Cita, 30, has just left her job of two months handing out brochures in a mall. It's not a surprising move. She has meandered the job corridor aimlessly for years, taking diversified stints as a real estate agent, researcher, field interviewer, management trainee, telemarketer, and promo girl. You name it, she's tried it and never lasted beyond a few months, too. Her reasons vary but boil down to the same tired theme: Every job she tries is B-O-R-I-N-G.
Cita may be an extreme but there are undoubtedly a lot of people like her around--working girls who in their mid-to-late twenties or even early thirties still have no clue about what career to pursue. In fact, you may also be out searching for The One (in the career department) or are stuck in the same career cyclone because you're afraid to take risks or make changes. No job so far has fit you quite like your ballerina flat--comfy, stylish, oh-so-made-for-you.
We say it's time for some serious career soul-searching. Take a moment from clocking in aimlessly at the workplace or randomly handing out resumes. Grab a pen and a paper, and write down your ideas, comments, and insights to concretize your thoughts. We've jotted down a few points to ponder for the "career clueless" to help clear the cobwebs and point you down the right pathway.
What don't you like about your work?
Asking this helps narrow down your options. If you can't zero in on what you actually want to do, going through what's at the other end of the spectrum can put things in perspective.
What are the things that discourage you from performing your best? Are there details about your current or former job that you can't stand?
What career will suit your lifestyle
Now visualize the kind of life you want to lead. Enumerate the ways by which you can live it. Knowing what you don't want will help you narrow down your list.
What kind of career life do you want to lead? Would you rather thrive on bureaucracy than work in a bara-bara environment? Would you like to work in a big company or run your own?
What are your talents and skills
Now be more realistic to narrow your list even further. Put it up against your actual strengths and abilities. Go on a self-discovery trip if figure out what you're good at.
Are you a master of words? Do you have the gift of gab and can sell just about anything? Do you like teaching? Are you attracted to the idea of public service? Are you creative, with an eye for design? Are you good at a particular sport? Can you cook like a pro? Do you have a green thumb? What talent have you been complimented on but never gave any thought to?
What do you really like doing?
After your talents, explore your hobbies, interests, and passions. Many people agree that it doesn't seem like work when you enjoy what you're doing.
What tickles your fancy? What do you find interesting that you've gone out of your way to learn more about them?
After writing your answers, go over them and you'll see how they fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Now start generating job ideas that will allow you to realize your dream career and ideal lifestyle. Surf the Internet for job descriptions. Interview friends, professionals, and other acquaintances about their work to have a better understanding of what they do.
After much research, check the results against your personal answers, and you'll know if you've hit upon your dream job or not.
Now the only thing that can stop you from pursuing that perfect job is the limitations you place on yourself.
COSMOPOLITAN, October 2004 Issue