Doing a Job versus Creating a Life

When the economy is slow, many people stay in jobs or accept jobs out of fear. It’s true that being out of work is stressful. You have bills to pay. You have to keep yourself and your family healthy. It’s harder to get a job when you don’t have one. Yet in my experience coaching people, you can either mold your current job to suit you or, with a little bit of faith and patience, the right job is just around the corner.

However, you have to know what you want. You have to be able to define the type of work, including the working environment and responsibilities that will best serve you. You need to know what tasks inspire and fulfill you, and what industries you find interesting enough to commit your heart to.

It’s amazing what you can create when you are clear about what you want. Whether you are in a job now or searching for one, it is useful for your mental health to assess if your work is in alignment with your values and desires. Life is too short to dislike what you spend most of your time doing.

First, take an inventory of the skills you have developed that you like to use. Just because you have expertise in an area doesn’t mean you want to spend your life doing this if the work doesn’t turn you on. Determine what skills you would like to strengthen and what skills help you to feel creative and valuable.

Second, determine what environmental circumstances help you feel empowered. Do you like autonomy or do you work best with others? Do you like flexibility in work hours, with a possibility of working from home at times, or do you like the structure and connections a predictable work schedule provides. Do you like a variety of assignments or do you prefer to focus on long-term, vital projects? Does your work have to be significant where you know you are making a difference in the world? Or is it more important that your work is creative, where you are positively challenged to explore new ways to succeed? Brainstorm your perfect day at work. How are you working? How are you relating with others. Paint a clear picture of what you want the environment to be.

Third, assess if your job supports your highest values. Consider what is most important to you…Family, Health, Community, Freedom, Adventure, Personal Growth, Creativity, Aesthetics, Pleasure, Play, Happiness, Prosperity, Achievement, Spirituality, Stability, Cleanliness, Tradition, Friendship, Communication, Contribution, Intimacy, Challenge, Power, Fame, Competition, Environment, Peace, Intellectual Exploration, Honesty, Inner Harmony, Physical Beauty, Respect, Integrity, Helping Others. Choose five from the list. If your work does not support your satisfaction in these areas, you will not be happy.

Finally, when offered a job, ask yourself if your choice will move you toward creating an inspiring life or will it keep you stuck in the past?

The ideal job is one you will enjoy for a long time. If you don’t like what you do, you risk turning into a resentful and angry person. If you love what you do with the majority of your time, you will probably also enjoy your life.
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