There are those searching for work that are fortunate enough to know both exactly what it is they want to do and whom they want to work for in order to do it. This certainly presents them with an advantage in that they can work towards their goal with purpose. What of the job seekers however that haven’t figured either the work that would make them happiest nor their, ‘dream employer?’
I suspect there is a massive group of people looking for work at any time who have no master or long-term plan in place regarding their employment. Many of the people I listen to at any rate haven’t identified one.
Recently I was speaking with a young woman who is on the cusp of graduating from a university in the field of Psychology. “Do you know what you’d like to do with that Degree?” I asked her. “No, I don’t. I know I should know, but I don’t” was her reply. This is the plight many graduates feel and her short response highlights two key points; she doesn’t know what she is going to do with the degree and she feels some expectation or pressure to have an employment goal that makes use of the degree.
I remember such a feeling myself when I graduated from university with my degree in Sociology with a minor in Communications. “Where”, I asked myself, “does a Sociologist go to work?” Where’s the building with the sign outside that reads, “All ye Sociologists enter here and do great work”? Similarly the plight for some people graduating with Psychology, Philosophy or any number of other disciplines.
There are in fact many more opportunities today in which to turn that graduation diploma or degree into meaningful related work than there were when I graduated. However, with all these additional opportunities, there is additional confusion. Jobs exist and continue to be created with job titles that don’t immediately make obvious what the actual work to be done is. Take the real job titles of, “Value Creator”, “Coordinator of Interpretive Teaching” and, “Chief Paradigm Officer”. How could one competently know if their particular certificate, diploma or degree qualified them for some such position without first researching each unusual title to see first what the responsibilities each title contains and secondly whether the educational criteria fit?
Turning to those well beyond graduating from schools and programs, there are a whole host of adults in this world who toddle off to work on a daily basis but have no real enthusiasm for either the work they do nor the companies for whom they work. What they don’t have is an escape plan; but if they did, it would be put into action right quick. They stay where they are however until they have something they deem better to go to, yet the irony is they don’t have the time to really seek out what it is they want to go to because of where they are now – trapped in a job they don’t love. This is actually a real life form of voluntary self-imprisonment with an indeterminate sentence of time.
This is a conundrum for the person trapped within; I want out of this job but I can’t afford to leave this job until I have a better job to go to, so I’ll stay in this job. I don’t have the time to really explore jobs to find my dream job because I’m stuck in this job 5 days a week. Nothing can or will change of course because the person takes no departure from their usual routine, so the future cannot change until a change indeed occurs; like getting fired for not performing well in the job they hate or finally quitting just to preserve some small amount of sanity when the person is at the end of their rope. That’s certainly no way to begin a thoughtful job search.
Why is it so difficult for so many to find work that is meaningful and therefore satisfying? You think we’d be able to figure this out.
Here is my personal take on why for some of us it takes longer to in fact figure it out. As humans, we have this capacity to learn from our experiences. We experience something for the first time and we find the experience pleasurable or unpleasant. When it comes to small decisions, it’s relatively easy for us to decide – say upon what we want to eat for breakfast or the clothes we choose for the day. We think quickly about the impending taste of cereal versus bacon and eggs and make our selection based on which we would find more pleasurable; we say to ourselves, “Which do I want more?” and act.
When it comes to employment, we look around ourselves all the time and both consciously and subconsciously take away impressions of what those jobs entail and we also stock away what jobs we deem pleasurable or not. We cannot for example evaluate or consider some job based on title alone because that has no meaning for us unless we’ve seen someone in the role or read about what the job entails.
Those that can’t decide on a career or job they’d find enjoyable just haven’t had the exposure to the right job for them. How do you get this? Try different jobs, speak to people and learn what you like and don’t like until you find the job that clicks.