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How to Figure Out What Your Dream Job Is


I am really confused about what I want to do with my career. I'm 32 and I've worked at several different types of jobs and still have not found happiness. What suggestions do you have for finding my "dream job?".

- Unfocused in Los Angeles


Dear Unfocused,

First of all, relax and know that your career is actually a work-in-progress. You can invent or re-invent yourself as much as you need to in order to find the work you love. Granted, it doesn't look great on a resume to have several vastly different jobs listed, but if you look for the common threads, I'll bet you will find some -  and those are your first clues on the path to your "dream job."

I often ask my clients to try and imagine their dream job, even if at first none of the details seem to make sense.  "You mean you want me to imagine that I could actually get this kind of job?" they ask incredulously.  "Not only can you get this kind of job," I tell them, "but I want you to tell me all about it." 

They then proceed to describe everything from what they're doing to why they are so excited about getting up in the morning to go to this wonderful place.  Some even tell me how the furniture is positioned and still others describe the wall colors!

How can you figure out what your dream job really is?  Take a few minutes right now to experience it.  Focus on the details, and write them down.  Putting your dream job in writing will take you one step closer to achieving it.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • When you are traveling to or from your current job, what do you dream about doing instead? Are there any other companies along the way whose parking lot you'd rather be pulling into?
  • What are you doing at this incredibly "fab" job? What kinds of things make it so fun and exciting - and how do those things fit in with what you've already done?
  • What kind of boss and co-workers are working with you at this "dream job?" Why do you really like these folks?
  • What kind of place is it that you're working in? Describe the environment in the most detail you possibly can.
  • What makes you so excited about going to this "dream job?" What makes it seem most unlike a "job" and most like what you really want to do?
Don't sweat it if you don't have immediate answers yet to all of these questions. As you get clearer on your "dream job" and all of its fab details, you will find it easier to form your answers - and your dream job could well become a reality!
by Katina Z. Jones

Katina Z. Jones is President of Going Places Self-Promotions, Inc., a nontraditional resume service for both corporate and individual clients with an unprecedented 98% success rate in securing interviews. Katina is author of career books such as The Adams Businesses You Can Start Almanac (Adams Media Corp., 1996), Succeeding with Difficult People (Longmeadow Press, 1991) and co-author of the forthcoming The Women's Guide to Running an Exceptional Business. She is an award-winning journalist and has written hundreds of articles for major newspapers. 

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