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Home  > Article

How to find a job you'll love

By Alexander Kjerulf

Forget about salary, titles, perks, status. Focus your job search on finding a job you love. Sounds tricky huh? Well, check this article out to learn how you can do it!

According to statistics, around 15% of the population switch jobs annually. At any given time, over half of the workforce are more or less actively looking for new work.

This means that many, many people are facing an interesting question: How do I pick my next job? Which factors should matter? Which should I forget about?

Many make the decision based mostly on salary, titles and responsibilities. That's a mistake.

Instead ask yourself this: Will your next job inspire you, energize you and allow you to do great work? Will you be working with nice, talented people and managers? Will your job help people out and make the world a better place?

In short, make sure that your next job is one that will make you happy at work. Here are the steps you should take to make sure that your next job will be just that amazingly great!

1: Decide to switch sooner rather than later

No one has ever told me "I quit Company X in June, that was a mistake. I should've stuck around longer." The vast majority of people who quit, only wish they'd done it sooner.

It's highly tempting to hang around in the old workplace waiting for things to get better. Don't! If it's time to go - make that decision and start actively looking for something else. The longer you stay in a bad job, the more it eats away the energy and self-confidence you need to find a new one.

2: Give yourself time to find your new job

The very first job you look at may be just the right one- or it may be the 20th.

Give yourself time to actively look for something better and don't let economic pressure, peer pressure or uncertainty force your hand.

3: Focus on what you like at work, not on what you hate

Many people switch jobs to get away from a bad situation. However, when you're picking a new job, it's not enough to look at all the things you want to avoid. Partly because there are an infinite number of things to avoid. But mostly because even if you avoid every single bad thing, that can only guarantee that you won't be unhappy. To be happy at work, you also need good things, not just the absence of bad.

The best way to find out what you want at work, is to look at what has previously made you love your job. Here's how you do it:

  • Think back to some specific situations, where you've been happy at work.
  • Ask yourself what made these situations possible.
  • Find out what will give you more of these great experiences in the future.

If you want to do examine this in more detail, page 3 of this workbook has a worksheet for doing just that.

4: Ignore salary

Most people think that having a higher income would make them happier. They're wrong! That is the conclusion of a study by Two Princeton professors, economist Alan B. Krueger and psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. They say this:

The belief that high income is associated with good mood is widespread but mostly illusory. People with above-average income are relatively satisfied with their lives but are barely happier than others in moment-to-moment experience, tend to be more tense, and do not spend more time in particularly enjoyable activities.

I don't mean to ignore the economic necessities we all face but they should not determine what work we take. What is a 25% raise worth, if it means being stressed, frustrated and unhappy 40/60/80 hours a week?

5: Ignore other irrelevant details

Some people choose their new job because of:

  • The title. "They want to make me First Assistant Manager."
  • Perks. "They're giving me a new car and use of the executive bathroom."
  • Status. "I get 8 direct reports. Today I only have 5."
  • Peer pressure. "If I take this job my husband/wife/friends/dad will be really impressed."

None of these factors will make you happy! Forget about them.

6: Ask for what you want

It's a lot easier to get what you want if you actually ask for it. In your job interviews, let them know that being happy at work matters to you, and tell them what it takes to get you to love work.

It's true that asking for these things may mean not getting the job, and that's precisely the point! If that job won't make you happy, you don't want it!

7: Make that job great

It's up to you to find a good job, and then it's up to you to make it a great job!

You can sit passively on your butt and wait for your co-workers and your manager to make you happy - but that means nothing will ever happen. It's your responsibility to:

  • Know what makes you happy at work
  • Tell others about it
  • Do something about it

 

8: Make yourself free to leave

A bad job is bad. A bad job that you can't get out of is excruciating. In fact, knowing that you're free to leave can make it easier to make a job great, as I wrote about in a previous post.

Also, reducing your expenses can be a great way to give yourself more leeway at work.

The upshot

Forget about salary, perks, titles and status. Choose your next job based on one, single consideration: Will it make you happy? Will it make you go "Yes, it's Monday, I get to work!"

Do this and you're sure to enjoy your job more, enjoy life more AND be more successful at work.

If you enjoyed this post, I'm pretty sure you'll also like these:

About the Author: Alexander Kjerulf speaks and consults on happiness at work all over the world because loving what you do is just that damn important!







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