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Finding the Right Fit

The value of career passion.

Well, you’ve eaten your turkey and dressing, the extended family has gone home, the tree has been put up, and you have brought in the New Year in style. So, back to reality!

Many of you, even those with jobs, are looking for work. They are either looking for the next better paying dream job, or they are just eager to get back to work. A friend of my husband has just found his dream job–or at least what he hopes is his dream job. He has worked in IT sales for a while, but his passion is golf. I hear he’s pretty good at it, too. Well, lo and behold, he just landed a job working in a major golf retailing store as a salesperson. He might even get to putt a couple of holes on the indoor green during work hours.

Now, if your reaction to that is “Hold on–he’s giving up on his IT career,” then bear with me. I just landed a gig of my own where I get to work as a career consultant for spouses of relocated employees. What makes this my dream job is not only that I get to help people who are in career transition find employment, but also that I get to do it from home. This job also lets me continue to grow my career coaching business, while keeping the time I spend away from my family at a minimum.

Today, you hear about a lot of people looking for their purpose. They’re looking for that job that seems like the right fit for them. In essence, they’re looking for that dream job. I once heard a speaker refer to it as an “occupassion”–the occupation that brings out passion in them by allowing them to do what they love to do.

This is not one of those breathless “7 Steps to Your Dream Job!” pieces, because I think articles like that do the process an injustice. The steps and goals for each person are different, and they shift as our interests develop and change. This is more about learning what you love to do, and going from there.

What I’m doing now is my dream job because I have two sons, eight and two years old. I love being flexible with my time and having the option of keeping my youngest son home with me. I also enjoy being able to give my oldest son the option of being picked up right after school or going to an after-school program. The key for me is that the job gives me and my family options. Am I getting rich? Hardly, but what I get back in the form of time is worth a million bucks.

When discovering your dream job, you have got to determine what your values are. For some, the list of important things might include money, freedom, risk-taking, affirmation/recognition, challenge, or making a difference, authority, and so on. According to Howard Figler, Ph.D., author of “The Complete Job-Search Handbook,” there are four value areas that people look for when seeking gain career satisfaction:

* material (your salary)

* social (a desire to work with people as opposed things)

* emotional (a genuine interest in what you do)

* spiritual (an interest in finding deep fulfillment from your work)

A dream job is one where your values are not compromised and your interests are met. Understanding and aligning your work with your values and interest can take your job from boring to exciting, which means your career growth will flourish.

I encourage clients to understand that this process takes time, because it involves quite a bit of self-reflection. The process should be ongoing as we grow and develop. Not enough people take the time to get to know what they really feel passionate about; therefore, they don’t experience fulfillment in their work.

One of the simplest ways to begin the process is to begin to ask yourself, “What’s really important to me?” As you begin to find the answer to this question, while doing more intensive work, you will begin to determine what makes you tick.

Remember, aligning your career with your values makes Monday morning something to look forward to, not something to dread.

Felicia H. Vaughn, M.Ed. ([email protected]), is a certified career management coach. She works as a career consultant for REA Career Services Inc. and is COO of VaughnElite Corp.

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