Thinking Jobs


How comfortable would you be interacting with and assisting people who approach you for help if your role was a customer service / reception function? I suppose it would depend on the organization you were employed by correct? The organization and what the people in the organization do would largely impact the kind of people who might approach you each day.

So for example, if you worked at a reception counter in a financial institution, the people who would enter and approach you would presumably be coming to you announcing themselves as present for meetings with Financial Advisors, Loan Agents, Senior Banking officials etc. Your role might in this scenario be to direct them to a seat to wait and then contact the employee they are meeting and advise them that the person they are meeting has arrived. Job done.

However, let me give you another scenario. Suppose your job wasn’t just simply reception but also to interact with and fully serve the person who stands before you or sits down across from you. Let’s further suppose that the person is what we both might call needy; takes a long time to explain what they’re after or doesn’t appear to fully grasp the information you do provide for them. Now let’s multiply this person by say, 50 and your job is to deal with these people day after day.

This job might be right up your alley if you’re a people person; working in social services and you got into the field because you wanted to help others. Conversely, you might dislike this job and see it as the last thing you’d want to do because you lack tolerance, patience and haven’t got the time for dealing with ‘these’ people.

Often it’s not only important to know what we want to do in life but also the things we dislike and want to avoid doing. Knowing what we dislike and therefore rule out can narrow down our search for meaningful work through the process of elimination.

Take working in confined spaces, working from heights, underground, deep water or shift work. Think about outdoor or indoor jobs, desk jobs, physical labour or dangerous jobs that involve explosives, weapons, radiation, diseases or disasters. There are all kinds of jobs that, while we are glad to know other people work in these roles, we ourselves wouldn’t want to do for any amount of money.

If you think of a job you aren’t comfortable with, instead of just saying, “No I don’t want that job”, stop and identify WHAT it is ABOUT that job that is unappealing. Is it the hours of work, the working conditions, the danger or does it play on your psyche such as working in tight confined spaces underground? If you note these things, you’ll perhaps see patterns that link undesired jobs with others.

So what’s the benefit of this you ask? Well, in short, you can find work that is meaningful and rewarding often by trying different kinds of jobs or reading job postings and eliminating those you find undesirable.

By the way, the jobs you find distasteful or reject don’t have to be necessarily dangerous or high-risk. Could be you find some every day common jobs boring, tedious, mind-numbingly repetitive or they pay less than what you’re willing to work for. Money however is best left out of this process because your enjoyment of a specific job shouldn’t decrease or increase based on the dollars attached to it. There are people who do work for less than they’d like and some who will turn down jobs that pay much more because they don’t find the work itself fulfilling.

One good strategy is to talk with people; a lot of people. Ask they what they do, what they like and don’t like about their jobs. While you will get that persons take on the job they do, you may find what they like is something you wouldn’t and vice-versa, but the questioning is still helpful and illuminating.

In addition to speaking with people you know well, don’t overlook the people you interact with or could interact with on a daily basis. There’s the Crossing Guard, Hot Dog Vendor, Bus Driver, Courier, Police Officer, Parking Lot Attendant, Bank Teller, Salesperson, Security Guard, Casino Dealer, Hair Dresser.

While you may know you don’t want to sell hot dogs for a living, the Vendor might be thrilled with the job as they work independently, love the outdoors, laugh with the regular customers, meet people from all walks of life and every so often get free tickets to a hockey game from the people they serve. You might also be very surprised with the income they take home.

Some pessimistic types will tell you that finding a job period is what it’s all about in 2016 and forget about finding a job that is fulfilling; you take what you can get. I don’t subscribe to that and I don’t think you should either. Don’t be embittered, caught up in others views of the world. Find what makes you happy, rewarded, challenged, intrigued etc.

You’ve got one shot at this life in this world so why not spend your time working productively and satisfactorily? You’ll have many jobs over your lifetime so don’t worry about finding a job for the next 40 years.

That’s how I see it anyhow.

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