Smith Brain Trust / February 25, 2022

10 Questions to Find a Career You’ll Love

10 Questions to Find a Career You’ll Love

In the era of the Great Resignation, a lot of people are taking time to reflect on how happy they are in their career. After years of feeling bored, uninspired or underappreciated at work, they’re opting for change.

Many factors influence job satisfaction. It’s about the skills we use, the culture of our workplaces, and the chance to make a difference, says Rachel Loock, associate director of Executive MBA Career Coaching, Programming and Outreach at Maryland Smith. “While each of these factors are important pieces of the job satisfaction puzzle, interests can be a great place to begin to reflect, especially if you’re feeling bored or uninspired in your current role.

Career interests are generally formed in the adolescent years. However, interests can and do change over the arc of one’s life. If you’ve lost your spark, ask yourself the following questions to consider ways to reignite your passion:

1. What kinds of jobs did you dream of doing as a young person, and what jobs do you dream of doing now?

2. What do you like about your current job? Past jobs?

3. What topics do you find fascinating?

4. What blogs, websites and publications do you like to read?

5. What type of work do you become so engaged in that you don’t notice the passage of time?

6. Where in your job, school or volunteer organization have you been at your very best? What were you doing, and who were you interacting with?

7. Where do you like to add value?

8. Where have others viewed you at your most engaged?

9. In what areas are you rated highly in performance evaluations?

10. What’s the voice inside your head telling you to do or to learn?

“While interests may change some over the career span, core interests that light a spark generally do not,” Loock says, “although the manner or environment in which interests are expressed may evolve. Even when interests change, there is generally an underlying theme that connects an individual’s successful career experiences.”

Still not sure? Personality and career inventories administered by a credentialed career coach or counselor can provide additional data points about where your interests lie, she says.

The old adage, “find your passion,” frequently comes from a variety of well-meaning sources like friends, family and teachers. Some people are lucky to discover their passion at a young age.

For others it requires devoting the time to a more thoughtful process of reflecting upon common threads and connecting the dots, rather than finding one overarching passion. Take the time to identify the interests and themes you’re consistently drawn to, even if you can’t identify one burning passion.

“Equipped with the realization of your most engaged self, you’ve completed the important step of aligning the positive energy that lights your career spark with the value you offer your employer – creating a win-win situation for both,” Loock says.

–An earlier version of this article appeared on WAMU’s website.

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