More and more unemployed people I listen to are telling me something similar. They are stuck looking for work because they are stuck trying to find that one job out of all the jobs in the world that they will absolutely love. As they haven’t felt any real passion for any one job to date, they are struggling trying to find the job that will bring this to them; in short, they’ve stalled.
Is there a mistake however in believing that for every person on the planet there is only one kind of work that is the perfect job? Do we all even need to have a, ‘perfect’ job in the first place? How about we notch it down a tad and have a very good job or even lower so we can feel we have a good job? Would you be okay with a good job? I bet many would settle on that.
This begs the question, “What is a good job?” To answer this, it’s necessary to understand that you’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask. Some (but not all) of the factors that make a job a good job might include: stability, security, short commute, supportive environment, benefits, safe working conditions, enough income to pay the bills and still have money for the fun things in life, opportunities for advancement. Any one of the above however will never be agreed upon by everyone you ask.
Truth be told it doesn’t matter if we come to an agreement or not on what makes a job a good job. What matters is what YOU think makes a job a good job if YOU are the person looking for one. In other words, were I working with you, I’d be making a poor assumption if I imposed my own idea of what makes up a desirable job on you.
While you might be the kind of person who values finding a permanent full-time job, of greater value to someone else is finding a job that is a one-year contract. They don’t like being tied down to a job forever. They like going from job to job, employer to employer, contract to contract. They enjoy meeting new people, the variety of work, being appreciated for filling in holes in an organization during maternity or paternity leaves. These kind of people perform better over the short-term and a year is the perfect length of a job before they move on. Temporary agencies are a welcomed source of employment for them and they love it.
I will say one mistake I think many people do make is choosing to stay unemployed until they become aware of that one job that will be perfect for them. If you are reasoning that it doesn’t make sense to work in a job you aren’t entirely passionate about because it will take away the time you could be spending looking for that one perfect job, that to me is an error.
The most obvious reason this is a mistake in judgement is that if you prolong your unemployment by choice, you will risk developing some poor behaviours and your lack of work history will not impress that employer you eventually want to work for. Any hope of developing transferable skills you could take from one job to your dream job can’t occur.
A lot of people only become aware of the many kinds of jobs out there through the contacts they make in their work. Most people in fact learn of the different kinds of jobs through someone who they meet at work. If you have co-workers, supervisors, meet people in other departments of a company while training, or network with staff of other companies, that’s a lot of people who might casually speak of other people in other jobs and one of those might be what you would really enjoy. But you have to be working to have this wealth of contacts. You won’t run into these people and learn of these other jobs isolating yourself from the workforce.
There is some merit in working at a variety of jobs. Take a job, determine what you like and don’t like about it. Take another job, do the same. Eventually you learn about yourself and what for you personally is attractive and what you want to avoid. You’ll also learn skills along the way in every job you take. These skills are going to make you more attractive to employers.
There are many jobs I believe that will make you happy and which you’ll enjoy doing, not just one. Instead of fretting over making a bad choice and becoming paralyzed, best to work at a job with a short-term vision, learn some new skills, brush up on your existing skills, meet and listen to the people there about what they do and learn of other jobs. You can still keep your eyes and ears open to other possibilities.
I only took my current job as an Employment Counsellor in my late 40’s. I didn’t even know such a job existed quite frankly until I was working for my current employer in another role. Had I not taken that job, I wouldn’t have discovered this job.
Don’t fret about what you want to do with the rest of your life; what do you want to do with the next year or two?