7 ways to find your perfect career – according to a psychologist

Get out of your career rut.

Get out of your career rut.

Words by Salma Shah

In a career rut? You're not alone. According to research over 47% of us want to make a career change in the next twelve months. Maybe your work doesn’t have any personal meaning or purpose any more, or you're bored, uninspired and feel disconnected. You may have gone through a major life event and it's making you stop and rethink. Deep down you yearn to do something else but don’t know what to do or where to even start.

These seven questions will provide you with clues to your perfect career...

perfect career

1. What do people always come to you for?

Are you the ‘go to’ person for with your family and friends? Are you the one who always end up organising the nights out, or if a friend wants to buy a special outfit are you the person for advice on styling and accessorising? The reason why you get asked is because you have a natural talent for doing this. Whatever this is are you doing any of this in your career? For example if you are great at styling outfits is there any element of aesthetics or creativity in your current role? What if you could spend the rest of your working life doing something you are amazing at – every single day.

Clue one: You are amazing at this

2. What do you find effortless and just can’t help doing?

What is it that you feel drawn to and it comes effortlessly. It’s called many things, the essence of who you are or when you are in your element, in the zone call it what you want. It’s what mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote about whose work is often described as ‘Follow Your Bliss’. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi described it as ‘flow’ and described it as the optimum happy state when you are so engrossed in what you are doing that time flies and everything else for that moment is forgotten.

Clue two: It comes easy to you

perfect career

3. What did you love doing as a child?

Think back to you what you loved and engaged with as a child. What fascinated you? What did you daydream about? Or was there a subject that came naturally to you, such that you excelled at it with very little effort and everyone always commented on how good you were. What were you after school hobbies that you wanted to do?

Clue three: It's what you loved as a child

4. What would you do if money was no object?

This question is a bit of a cliché. But in its answer there is a deeper clue to what you should be doing if money wasn’t an issue. Money should never be the only thing you like about your job. If that is the case for sure you will find yourself stressed and burnt out pretty quickly. Instead, having figured out what your passion is, work out how to make money from doing it.

Clue four: Passion first, money second

5. What is the best job you ever had and why?

Think back to all the jobs you’ve had including temporary jobs as a student. What was it about that job you loved? Let’s say your boss asked you to organise a company away day as a one off and you really loved doing it and wish you could do it all the time. Very often the clues to our perfect career lie in some random job we’ve done in the past or some aspect of your job today.

Clue five: You've experienced the feeling before

perfect career

6. How would you describe your personal contribution to the world?

This is how you naturally are when things are going well and it’s how we all make the world a better place. Could it be you are the life and soul of the party, the wise old owl or the natural nurturer. Whatever it is you can bring this forward in any role.

Clue six: It's how you like to be

7. Is there something that feels missing in your life?

Are you bringing your whole self into work or wearing a mask? It’s not about sharing everything about yourself at work. But is there some part of you that feels incomplete or something you would love to do but just never get the chance. Let’s say you have a degree in fine art but now work in a completely unrelated job in marketing. Do you miss picking up the paintbrush?

Clue seven: You wish you could do this more often

perfect career

Hopefully answering these questions has sparked a few ideas. To help figure out your perfect career take part in Salma Shah's five day Dreaming to Doing online course.

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