When it comes to earning a living, it's easy to endure a miserable job you do not enjoy just to pay the bills. This is especially so when your passion hasn't done much for you financially over the years. While holding out for your dream job might be frustrating, working in a place you hate will be bad for you mentally and physically as well. Things are less complicated for those who are sure about their career path but what happens when you aren't sure if your current career is right for you? How do you find your way back to doing what you love? These are four questions you need to answer for job satisfaction assessment.
1. Is My Passion Realistic?
Following your passion is great but you have to be realistic about it. Passion isn't going to pay the bills if you don't put it to good use. If everyone blindly followed their passion, there would be a lot of odd jobs around. So, before you set your sights on your passion, find out how realistic it is going to be to earn a living and care for your family members following that passion. If your passion is realistic, what are you going to do about it?
2. Am I Doing Everything I Can to Follow my Passion?
If your dream is to become a doctor but you're working as a cashier in a grocery store, what steps have you taken to follow your passion? If the primary reason you're not a doctor is a lack of funds for your education, you should look for financial aid options available to you in a nearby school. If your job is flexible, you can cut your hours so you can have time to work and school at the same time. If you have a passion for acting, you need to do what you can to achieve your dream while you still maintain a source of income. The same thing applies to any other passion and dream.
3. Does My Career Satisfy the Four Ps?
According to Jamie Lewis Smith, Ph.D., the President of Pixel Leadership Group, you are not on the right career path if your job doesn't fulfill the four Ps. These four Ps are principles, preferences, personality, and passion. You should not focus on passion and financial impact alone. How does your current job fit your personality? Does it give you the chance to be your real self or do you have to be someone else? Do you have to bend your beliefs and principles just to satisfy your job needs? If your job is making you feel guilty because you're breaking your core principles, it might be time to look for something else. Preferences matter greatly when you're worried about your job. Are the working conditions satisfactory? It might be difficult for you to find a job that meets your preferences 100% but 70% should do the trick.
4. Will my Job Remain Relevant in the Next 10 Years?
If you're a few years away from retirement, you do not need to worry much about possible job redundancy. On the other hand, if you're just building interest in a career path, ask yourself if this job will remain relevant in the next few years. Many of the jobs that are now redundant used to be in high demand a few decades ago. This also applies to people who want to be self-employed or run a business. Building an empire will be worthless in the long run if it will not be relevant in the next few years. These days, the highest demand skills with prospects are related to technology. This is why most people are now pursuing a computer science career path. If you love computers, consider taking an online course on coding, web development, web design, and other software skills. Due to the high demand for these skills, professionals make a lot of money from software engineering.
Is your career right for you? Take a minute to reflect on the questions listed above to find a suitable answer to this question. When you're chasing the career of your dreams, you'll not be focused on the immediate impact alone. You'll be more concerned about the financial and emotional satisfaction that comes with your choice long term. It might take time and require extra work to follow your realistic passion but it's going to be worth it in the end.
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.
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