What Career is Right for You? And Do You Really Have to Love Your Job?

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Lucy McKenna, founder of Full Aeon, spent 12 years working with organisations such as Google, Eircom and Aer Lingus; and is an expert at Design Thinking, as well as Learning & Development. Using her background and experience in these areas, Lucy started Full Aeon to offer workshops and coaching that would allow others to learn to design lives that suit them and bring them happiness and fulfillment. It’s her way of working to make the world a better place. She believes if you’re happy and living your best life, this not just of benefit to you, but to everyone.

Lucy has two workshop series coming up in Dublin, (with dates on evenings or weekends) so we caught up with her to ask her some common questions related to life and careers. Find out more about the workshops here or get yourself on her mailing list to be notified of future events.

How do you figure out what job is right for you?

First of all, I think it’s important to realise that there is no one job out there that is right for you. The same way you don’t have just one soulmate, you don’t have just one “souljob” (apologies for those of you who believe in just one soulmate.)

Your job or career is just one piece of your life. So it’s important to look at it in context of the bigger picture. In Life Design, we start by zooming out and looking at the bigger picture first. And only then do we drill down to what actions you can take in specific areas.

For people who don’t have a ‘dream job’ they’re working towards, but feel they’d benefit from more direction or purpose, is there anything they can do to find that?

When looking at work and career specifically, take time to identify:

  • What work means to you?
  • What is its function in your life?
  • And why do you work?

Then get a big blank piece of paper and put it all down.

Draw pictures, write words, make a collage, whatever works for you, but get it out of your head and into the physical world. You’ll be amazed at the clarity that can come from just taking this simple step.

Do you really need to love your job?

The short answer is no, but it does need to fulfill a need in your life. Work means different things for different people.

The first step in exploring jobs or career options, is to identify what need work fulfills for you? What do you actually want from it? Answering the questions in the tips above is part of that process.

Those needs can vary greatly. Some will want to earn enough to cover basic food and shelter while others want a beautiful spacious home and to dine out in restaurants every night. These needs and desires might not be directly fulfilled by your work, but it might be necessary to go after a job that can give you these things.

For others, it will be important that the job itself directly fulfills certain needs – like having a positive impact in the world, having challenges to overcome in areas they’re skilled at, or to be surrounded by interesting or like-minded people.

There is no right or wrong list of needs. What is important for some people, will simply not be important to others. So whether you need a job that you love, or that you’re able to love what it gives you will be different from person to person.

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” This may sound like I am advocating suffering – I am not. However, once we understand why we work, and the need it fulfills in our life, it can help us gain perspective when it is driving us a bit crazy, or just if we have a long trek ahead of us to get there.

It can be a scary thought to go after something new, especially if you already have a stable gig…

What would your advice be to someone who isn’t feeling happy in the job or company they’re in, but aren’t sure they want to risk changing either? Do you face the fear and take a leap or try to find ways to improve the situation you’re already in?

The first thing I would say is to re-iterate that work is but one part of our life, so it can be difficult to look it in isolation. Take time to establish if work is really what is causing your discontent or if there are other contributing factors.

If after this you establish that work is the element that needs to change for you, you need to self reflect. Some questions that help guide a person in doing this are to write down:

  • What aspects of your job do you actually like and engage you?
  • What aspects bore you, or sap your energy? What part exactly is causing the discontent?
  • Do you need to leave your job for that change to happen, or is it possible to make changes within the job or company you’re currently in?
  • If you need to leave, what jobs excite you? I find going to multiple job websites and visiting ALL sections quite an eye opener for this question!
  • Then, prototype! Identify if there is a way for you to test a new job or work change before committing completely.  Is it possible to talk with someone who is doing the job you would like to move to? Or even better, maybe shadow them for a day.

Want to get the skills and assistance in person? Check out Full Aeon’s upcoming workshops. They’re priced at €125 for the 2/3 day workshop, or €175 if you’d like to also avail of a one-to-one coaching session. Get yourself onto her mailing list if you can’t make these ones but would like to be notified about future events.

Want to put a career question to our members and see what they think you should do or hear more about others’ experiences? Get the App

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