Does this quote describe you? If so, then I'm guessing you've yet to discover your calling.
Most of us have grown up thinking of jobs as a linear process. In other words, you get a degree in the field you are interested in. Then, degree in hand you put in lots of applications and you eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) get a job and you work your way up the career ladder, taking on more and more responsibility, making more and more money until eventually you retire and do all the things that you've really wanted to do in previous years. I'm simplifying this quite a bit but you get the idea. Sound familiar? This is how I thought about work for most all of my life.
Here's what I wish I had known as a twenty something year old (it's actually good advice for the rest of us as well):
- Take time to discover and explore who you are, what your talents and gifts are first. This is not a passive, contemplative dreamy-find-yourself process. This is doing active research and participating in any way you can in the areas that you feel are your calling. If you are interested in retail sales, could you develop something that you could sale on the internet? Could you volunteer in a store to get experience and develop skills, perhaps a hospital or museum gift store or a thrift store run by a non-profit agency? Think outside the immediately obvious avenues to develop your interest. What about consulting in the education field? Again, volunteering in the beginning is often a great way to start. Can you volunteer a day in a school? Can you develop a contact list and start having lunch with your contacts to survey the needs? Can you contact a local community college or be an adjunct professor online? Don't let a day go by without developing, testing and discovering related skills.
- In addition to racking up some experience, spend time developing those skills that are needed in your area of interest. Read books on sales techniques, learn more about the fashion world if this is your preferred area. Learn about business practices or consulting. Finding the perfect job involves so much more than showing up and putting in an application. Practice how to handle an interview, how to dress for success, what the trends and buzz words are in the field. Don't expect to learn what you need to know on the job. Employers are looking for people who take the initiative to learn, practice and volunteer on their own. Employers want to know what unique abilities you bring to them not what they will need to teach you once you are hired.
- Once you determine the field you are interested in research all the available businesses that could provide that type of employment. Learn everything you can about them. What are their goals, what problem areas are they confronted with and how could you help? Set up interviews just to learn about the company--not to interview for a job. Change your perspective. Consider that you are interviewing them to see if they would be a good fit for you, rather than the other way around.
- Learn to make connections. It is true that most people find jobs through someone they know. Be sure to let everyone know what you are looking for, even people that you think couldn't possibly help. Identify the top 100 people you know that you can discuss your plan with. Contact them and keep them informed of your progress.
- Finally be intentional in all you do. Set goals and identify steps to reach them. Do something everyday to work toward achieving your goal.
What about you? What do you wish someone had told you about finding your calling? What are misconceptions that you have had?
Some great books to read on this are: