Ever since I could speak, my mom says that being a lawyer was my self-proclaimed goal. So naturally, when I got older and landed my dream job at 25 years old, working at my dream law firm by 29, I thought everything would fall into place I realized that my dream job might not be exactly what I thought it was, and after some contemplation, I decided to pursue something else entirely. But as it turns out, dream jobs aren’t like soul mates. There is no “The One,” so don’t give up on your dreams just yet!
In 2011, I made my first change in career path when I became a sports business reporter for ESPN. Although I liked the job, it still wasn’t perfect. Then, one of my friends showed me a formula that changed everything: x + y + z = the right job.
[Related: The Pivot: Natasha Case, co-founder and CEO of Coolhaus]
With this exercise, you will learn how to reflect on what you want in your career, rather than aimlessly pursuing job titles. After all, by knowing what energizes and excites you, it’ll be easier to find work that is both meaningful and satisfying. With this foundation, you can confidently make decisions such as which side-hustles to start or which conferences will help further your career.
Here’s how to find your x + y + z:
- Brainstorm a list of all the things you’ve enjoyed at your current or previous jobs. This can be anything from working in a small office to using Excel frequently. Writing is the first and easiest task on my list because every job I have ever had involved writing in some capacity, even if it was something as dry as drafting loan documents when I worked as an attorney. Give yourself some time to create this list. Keep it in an app like Evernote on your phone, and add to it every time you find something enjoyable about work. Let the ideas sit for a few weeks minimum so you can see everything more clearly.
- Choose the items on your list that you would miss the most if your job drastically changed tomorrow. In simpler terms, which things can you not live without? Highlight or circle those specific items.
- With the skills and tasks you’ve identified, pick only three to focus on. These qualities will help you succeed in your next job.
[Related: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do]
That’s your formula for success. Mine is writing, working from home, and staying connected to college athletics. Once I started searching for writing jobs that were not based in a specific location, I found more opportunities open to me.
Consequently, I found a position that involved public relations and content marketing where my key duty was writing. I was potentially the perfect candidate for the job- it writing and working from home, which are two things I love, and there was also an opportunity to bring in sports clients. Win, win, win!
But what should you do if changing jobs is not an option right now? You can use this formula to manage your current workload in a more efficient way, as well as decide which new projects to take on. If you’re similar to most females, it’s probably challenging for you to assert yourself and decline offers, especially when those opportunities are job-related. You already have enough projects to keep you busy, but you take on more. You hate public speaking, but you agree to do it anyway. When your boss asks if you want to fill in for someone next week, even though it’s the last thing you want to do, you say yes.
This is where the “no” formula comes in handy. Sure, there are some things you simply can’t say no to, but for the rest? It’s a snap: If the opportunity doesn’t assist you with achieving at least two goals in your personal life, simply say “no.”
I am so excited to see what you create with your new-found knowledge, please let me know in the comments where this takes you!
[Related: The 8 Biggest Professional Mistakes Millennials Make]