Finding a job that you love

Whenever I talk to my mom about my job (in the simplest terms possible), she inevitably sighs and says: I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I’m glad you’re happy. I could never do and understand what you do on a daily basis.

It made me realize that I really do love my job.

Sometimes the work is frustrating, the clients are difficult or the pressure is heavy at certain points… but the only stress I’ve ever really experienced on the job, was when I worked for someone else.

Working for myself really opened up a world of possibilities. I now don’t have to answer to a stressed out manager who is under pressure from his boss, and even though I have to learn all the functions and roles that go into running a business (such as taxes), I couldn’t be happier.

However, I realize that my job description as well as the fact that I am a freelancer, is not everyone’s cup of tea.

So how do you figure out what you want to do?

I (luckily), fell into it by chance, but I did spend a good part of my formative years starting in high school, trying to figure out what I wanted to do as a career.

Top 5 Ways To Finding your Dream Job

1. Find out all the BAD things about the job

You already know the good — you’ve seen the rosy descriptions!

But are there long hours? What is the work like? What are the lowest points of the job? Is it risky or dangerous?

If you think you can stomach & deal with all the downsides to the job, then you are mentally prepped for what is about to come your way.

I have a doctor friend who was mentally prepared for the long, strange shift hours of working at a hospital ever since he decided he wanted to become a doctor in high school. He was told about the super long hours, the change from night shifts to day with a blink of an eye, and watched a bit of Grey’s Anatomy to get a feel for the hours he’d be putting in.

As a result, he pre-adjusted his thinking to accept these kinds of “down” moments on the job, and felt like the good parts outweighed the bad.

I have another doctor friend who didn’t mentally prepare herself, and after getting the degree and going into her internship, she calls me on occasion to vent her frustration, and constantly repeat her love for wanting to travel the world instead, and just be anywhere but at her job.

The best way to figure out the bad points are to ask someone who is already in the profession over a cup of coffee and/or ask to shadow them.

Keep in mind that they may love their jobs, and over coffee, may gloss over the bad parts because they can handle it — you, however, may not feel the same way, so I highly recommend shadowing them.

2. Don’t do it for the money

People get lured into jobs (such as law or medicine) because of the high salaries and possible early retirement.

What they fail to discover until it’s too late, is that money really isn’t everything. There are options however such as UCLA careers that offer both job satisfaction, great pay and its UCLA health benefits.

I’ve heard from friends that law is pretty boring, nothing at all like Law & Order or Damages, as seen on TV.

It’s a lot of paperwork, it’s analytical, long hours and not what people expected it to be.

You may just end up getting mad at everything and hanging it all up to be a mentally-balanced, fulfilled barista at Starbucks.

3. Don’t be afraid to change

Even if you’ve already committed and you are 5 years into your career: don’t be afraid of changing or exploring other careers mid-career.

You do NOT want to be entering your golden years of retirement, only to say: I feel like I’ve wasted my life and my career, I should have gone into _____________ instead.

It is never too late. My mom is the best example of this, being a career changer when she was in her 40s. She went back to school, got her honours degree and is now doing what she loves.

40 years (50 weeks in a year) x 40 hours a week = 80,000 hours

Do you really want to spend 80,000 hours doing something you hate?

To put it into another perspective, if you assume 16 waking hours in a day, and you work for 8 of them, do you really want to spend

16 waking hours x 7 days = 112 hours in a week
8 working hours x 5 days = 40 hours in a week
40 working hours / 112 available hours = 36% of your week

Do you want to spend a third of your week in a job that makes you unhappy?

That’s not even including overtime.

4. Check out Best & Worst Job Lists

If you are stuck as to where to begin, get a clue.

Just to get an idea of what jobs are available, look at what people consider to be bad and good jobs.

Jobs Rated 2010: A ranking of 200 jobs from Best to Worst, and their list of 10 best jobs of 2010.

Maybe reading a job description will hit your brain like a thunderbolt and make you think: That’s what I want to do!

Knowing what you don’t want, is half the battle.

5. Don’t rule out “blue collar” jobs

Jobs that deal with very mundane things like plumbing, selling car parts, or anything that isn’t sitting in a cubicle pushing keys, can be goldmines.

If you love working with cars as a hobby, consider building on that. Keep your eyes open and see where you could make money or profit off it.

It may not be sexy, but it could make you happy and earn you a good bit of money to boot.

BF knew a guy who was supposedly mentally retarded. The guy loved to work with cars, and ended up opening his own mechanic shop after he saved his cash from being a mechanic for a while.

Years later when they met up, the guy nonchalantly said he was doing okay, and owned a couple of garages now.

At the age of 35, he “retired”, and hired mechanics to work in his shops for him, and working on occasion. He now does whatever he wants.

So if you want to work outdoors, look at being a lumberjack, ranger… whatever floats your boat!

Any other tips from readers who love their jobs? I’d love to hear them!

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.