What do you want from work?

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Do you know what you want from your career?

I’d like you to stop everything you’re doing right now (other than reading this article). Pause for moment, and think about your job, your career, or if you are between jobs, think about the job you are seeking. As you consider your work, how do you feel? Are you smiling? Are you excited to get up and go to work most days? Are you filled with a sense of passion and satisfaction with the work you do?

If the answer yes, FANTASTIC! And keep reading, because in a world as dynamic as ours, you never know when things may change.

However, if you are like many people I talk with, these questions may leave you feeling sad, angry or discouraged. But we can turn that around. It starts by answering the question, what do you want from your job or career?

When I asked Janice that question, she looked at me, and without missing a beat said, “I have no idea.” Janice and I continued to talk, and I asked her several other questions. As it turns out, Janice had many ideas and answers. She knew many things about the type of work she wanted. The only piece she didn’t have was a label (or job title) . And that is a great place to start.

So let me ask you some of the questions I asked Janice, and see what you discover about what you really want from your job or career.

START by imagining it is 12 months from now, and you now have the kind of job you love.

1. Pretend you just got home from work, how do you feel about your work day?

Are you energized from the work you do? Do you feel challenged, and pleased with the impact you are making? Do you feel content and proud of the work you do? Describe how you feel.

2. Now imagine you are at your place of work. Look around. Where are you?

Is it an office? Are you at home? What kind of workspace do you have? A cubicle? Is it an open floor plan? Are you indoors or outdoors? What is the furniture like? What color are the walls? Are there walls and furniture? How far do you travel to work? How do get there (on foot, by car, bus, train)?

3. Continue to imagine you are at your job. What are your typical interactions at work? What types of people do you work with?

Executives? Consumers? Experts? People like you? People different from you? Do you work alone? As part of a team? Do you lead a team? Is it a large company with lots of people? Or a small family business? Are you answering questions, providing expertise and help to others? Or are you creating something, making something? Perhaps you are solving problems with your hands. Or discussing new ideas or concepts? Are you writing papers or other documents? Are you working closely with industry leaders? Or are you getting the tasks done that need to be done.

4. What activities are part of your typical work day or work week?

Without looking for a job title, describe the activities that fill your day or week. Do you write, draw, program, create, solve, meet? Are you talking with people? Are you doing the same things every day? Or are you doing different things? Be detailed and specific with what you do know.

5. How much money do you need?

Note I said need, not want. This is the number you need to provide for you and your family, to take care of your health, and to enjoy your life. This number varies for each person. Take the time to identify your real number.

When Janice answered these five questions, she had a clear picture of the kind of job and career she wanted. As she compared what she wanted, with what she has right now, she was able to identify her career goals for 2013.

The answers to these five questions will tell you what you want from your work. As you compare your answers to what you have today, in this present moment, you will find your goals. These are the goals that will help you have a satisfying career.

So let me ask you again, what do you want from your job or career? I’d love for you to share your discoveries or questions with me below.


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Client Stories

 I was looking to make large changes in my life, both job and city.  I was a happy midwestern resident for nearly 30 years but wanted to see what life on a coast was like and get a dream job.  This was a tall order and going into it I thought I would have to make large compromises on parts of my dreams to get any of it.  

I went to Lori to help me achieve these dreams.  It was the best decision I made.

She focused on two things right out of the gate:
  1. clarify my goals, both personal and professional
  2. get me to stop selling myself short

These twin achievements allowed me to approach my hunt with confidence, patience and focus.  My original dream job was to try and combine my technical joys with a personal one.  I enjoy large scale data processing with cutting edge tools, music and baseball.  Through the tools Lori taught me and helped me unearth in myself I got that gig that would have fallen into day dream territory before our work together.  

And yeah, there's platinum records on the walls of my lobby and I have tons of data to process.

Pat Christopher, Intelligence Engineer, Seattle, WA