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How to Figure Out Your Dream Job

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Sometimes it seems like everyone in the world was born knowing what their life purpose is and you were just absent the day they were passing out passion. I think we all feel that way. Finding your dream job is basically, well, the dream. So, how do they do it? These people who have it all figured out? I don’t think there’s a real “prescription” for being unsure what you want to do with your life, but there are some things that have worked for others that may help you get a little closer to finding your purpose!

For myself, I’ll say I’ve stumbled without planning into a career I love. Looking back, I was stubbornly determined to be a writer but didn’t want to adapt how I wrote to something practical like journalism, technical writing, or grant writing. I just wanted to make pretty sentences that have rhythm and make your heart stop. Because of this, I didn’t try to figure out what my dream job would be otherwise. After college, I worked several retail and customer service jobs because I can type relatively quickly and it seemed like good work until I finally wrote my masterpiece (which I’m still, slowly, after 12 years, working on). But when I was given the opportunity to be more autonomous at work and have some control over the content our group was putting out into the world, I started to realize that this, this is what I wanted to do. Writing for blogs and Facebook and cool things that people read.

So, I get to do what is pretty much my dream job because I tripped over it, and others are seemingly born knowing what their passion is. If you don’t think you’re going to fall over the perfect job and you’re sitting there thinking hard about what you’re passionate about but coming up empty… all is not lost. I promise, you’re not going to drift forever not knowing. But if you’re restless and want to start mapping out a plan, try a couple of things to start getting closer to the dream.

  1. Take some tests. Don’t stress, I’m not talking about standardized exams or anything like that. But there are a lot of personality and job placement exams that can give you some direction. And, even better, most of them are free. If you’re not sure where to start, taking the Myers-Briggs Personality Test on 16personalities can give you a lot of insight on your personality and what kind of industries mesh with that.
  2. Find a mentor. Sometimes, the only way to figure out what you want to do is to start figuring out what you don’t want to do. The only way you can really do that is by seeing what’s out there. If there’s a trusted supervisor or friend with more experience than you who’s willing to mentor you and advise you, hit them up! They’ll probably enjoy showing you the ropes in their job and you can start crossing things off as potential careers.
  3. Make a list. I love lists. Just writing things down can bring a lot of clarity. If you’re sitting there thinking “what am I going to do,” then grab paper and pen and start writing down tasks or hobbies you enjoy, what you don’t like doing and start thinking about how you can make those hobbies and joys into a career. You might not find your dream career from the list, but you’ll find what you don’t want to do and it can lead to insight about what you do want to do.
  4. You don’t have to find your dream job right this second. Having a career you love can make you happier and more motivated at work each day. But you don’t have to ever feel less than because you haven’t found that dream job yet. It’s out there. Maybe you’ll find it next month or five years from now. Just keep working hard and moving forward.

Not everyone is born knowing what they’re going to do. Honestly, most of us have absolutely no clue what we’re going to find ourselves doing in the future. That can be terrifying but there’s also an exciting world full of possibility. And it doesn’t hurt to take classes and study different subjects while you’re searching for the career you love best! Take some time to research programs that can help you find your future or even things that can just be resume builders. Keep working hard and you might fall over your dream career, too.

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