Dream Job: the combo of work that energizes, enthuses, and captivates us as our natural talents are tapped into AND meets our financial goals

A few recent conversations I’ve had with both men and women (those in their 20’s and in their 40’s) have centered on their quests to discover and land this type of work. It’s discovering a job that balances the concepts, “Work’s not work if you love what you do,” and “Work is work, but work pays the bills.”

I know we’d love to believe the catch-phrase, “Do what you love and the money will follow” as gospel. But let’s face the fact that not every thing we love to do will eventually bring in loads of dough!

It’s pretty common for us to seek the dream job that incorporates our gifts. Often, we have so many talents, such varied experiences, and valuable education, and diverse interests that it is challenging to narrow the scope in our hunt for the best job fit. “Just how do you go about it?” Is a question I am often asked by college students in undergrad and grad programs, as well as by professionals engaged in their careers but who question if there’s a better, more desirable job fit for them out there.

My response includes a series of questions: 

1.     How well do you know yourself? What are your strengths, natural abilities, and gifts? How aware are you of abilities you possess that come easy for you – but are actually unique because they don’t come easily for others?

2.     What activities and healthy ways you engage your brain bring you joy? Can you name the attitude that floods you when you lose track of time because you are fully and willingly immersed? Regardless of what type of work or degree of challenge involved, what are those types of tasks or projects that you find yourself thinking, “That was fun!”?

3.     When you have reflected on your strengths as well as the types of work that appeal to you, then consider how you can earn income through those avenues. What is the possible potential of earning in that interest area? How high could you financially succeed? What is the probable level of income you could anticipate making in these types of endeavors – in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, etc? What level of financial resources do you anticipate needing to help fund the launch or transition into this area of work?

4.     How will you go about seeking, researching, and exploring possibilities of work that engages the unique aspects of who you are, what you value, and that can supply your financial goals in a realistic way? What are 3 “next steps” to help you focus on discovering the “right” job fit and pursuit?

When will you do these things? How long do you anticipate each step taking you? Have you calendared time to complete the above steps? (If not, consider the best calendar system that will work for you – and get them plugged in!) Who will you share your plans with in order to drive your accountability?

The ideal work role exists for each of us. Diligently pursuing it using the above four processes to guide our efforts of discovery may be of great help. Press on and listen to your heart to ensure you remain aligned to what is most important to YOU.