How to Discover What You Really Want from a New Career

Here are some tips to help you in the career discovery process. You can do them in any order that you'd like, and feel free to skip any that you're not comfortable with. Achieving your dream career is a journey of self-discovery, and finding out who you really are and what you really want out of life can be a fulfilling exercise in itself.


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    Discover (or re-discover) what you're really passionate about. If your new career isn't something you could feel passionate about, then it's probably not the right choice for you. Think about what you enjoy doing in your spare time: your hobbies, what you like to watch on TV, what you like to read and study, and what you like to discuss with family and friends.
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    Get feedback from family and friends. Talk to the people you trust, and ask them to give you an honest assessment of where they see you going in life (but be prepared; you might not like the answers you get). Also ask them what they think you'd be good at, what you'd be happy doing, and why. But be careful when asking people you work with these questions, especially if you plan on staying at your current job for awhile.
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    Do some soul searching. Think back through your career and identify times when you felt really excited and happy with what you were doing. Times when you were energized by your work, and could hardly wait to get back to the office the next day. What was it about those times that made your work fulfilling? What would it take to recapture that feeling in your new career?
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    Visualize your perfect day. This is a technique used by self-help gurus like Tony Robbins to help people focus on what they really want in life. Find a quiet place where you can be alone for 30 minutes or so, and then close your eyes and picture what your perfect day would look like, from the time you wake up to the time you went to bed. Who would you be with? What work would you be doing? What activities would you find stimulating and fulfilling? Be as detailed and specific as you can. Then write it all down in a notebook or journal.
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    Consider what people ask you about on a consistent basis. This is another clue as to what you're good at, and what you might find fulfilling in a new career (as long as it's something you enjoy doing). What things do you consider yourself an expert in, either at work or at home? If you could become a teacher in one topic, what would that topic be? Many people have turned their hobbies and part-time pursuits into successful careers.
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    Focus on what you want, not what you don't want. Too many people get caught up in what they don't like about their current job or career -- it's boring, they hate their boss, there's no room for growth, etc -- instead of focusing on what they do want out of a new career. It's been said more than once that positive thoughts lead to positive change.
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    Don't forget to take a break. If you're upset or frustrated by your inability to pinpoint your ideal career, give yourself a break. Spend some quality time with your family or friends, take a long weekend trip, take a walk on the beach. You'll probably find your frustrations melting away, and often the answers to your questions will come to you at the most unexpected times.

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Categories: Job Search