I recently met a woman who gave me two different business cards and both cards were hers. Before I could ask the question, the person’s friend offered this explanation: “One card is for the job she has to do and the other and the other card is for the job she loves to do.” I understood exactly what the friend was saying. There was a time when I was in the exact same situation. I had a job that I had to keep because I had to pay my bills. But I hated the job. The only good thing about that job was that I received a paycheck every two weeks. But every day that I went to work I knew what my dream job was. I did not go out and print business cards. But I did make up my mind to pursue my real career and to get paid for doing what I love to do.
That is what it takes in setting career goals. It involves describing our life’s real work and not simply settling for a job just to pay the bills. The first question to ask ourselves about what kind of work we should be doing is this: If we did not need any money, what kind of work would we do? Or try this: What do you love doing so much that you would do it without any compensation? Most of us would initially say that we would do anything for the right amount of money. But that may not be true. I just told a professional athlete that they did not seem to be happy playing their sport. Many well-paid people are miserable and many low wage earners love what they do.
I have a friend who loves cleaning cars. He takes pride in it – he longs to do it – and he will come to your house if there is a car there for him to clean. As a result of his love for this work, he cleans cars better than anyone I have ever met in my life. That is because we do best what we love to do most. So that is another question we must answer before settling into a vocation or profession: What do we love to do more than anything else in the world? There is no guarantee that we will get a job doing what we love right away. But we are more likely to find or create a job that we love after we identify what that is and then spend some time doing it somewhere – even if it begins in a volunteer role.
We must also ask ourselves what we do so well that someone would be willing to pay us to do it. My sister in law organizes offices and paperwork so well that people are willing to pay her to do it. My friend who cleans cars can earn hundreds of dollars every day cleaning cars. Our economy is based on supply and demand. If you know what you can supply, finding out where it is needed is the key to your employment.
So - when developing our careers - our vocational, professional or employment goals - we build on our passions, stay in touch with our dreams and do what we must until we can do what we love. These action items will help you shape your career goals.
1. List one task that you love doing so much that you would do it without being paid.
2. What is your dream job?
3. What is the most important step that you must take to get closer to your dream job?