On a flight to Florida I sat next to a woman furiously scribbling notes into the margins of a tiny book, How to Find Fulfilling Work, by Roman Krznaric. The entire book is a gem. But, this challenge stood out in particular:
I decided to try out thirty different jobs in the year leading up to my thirtieth birthday, dedicating the whole year to my career struggle. So I’m working as a part-time programmer of music events to pay the bills, and in my leisure time I contact people who I think have dream jobs or interesting careers and ask if I can follow then or work with them for at least three days. So far I’ve ‘been’ a fashion photographer, a bed-and-breakfast review writer, a creative director at an advertising agency, and owner of a cat hotel, a member of the European parliament, a director of a recycling centre and a manager of a youth hostel.
The more jobs I try, the more I realize it’s not a rational process of listing criteria and finding a job that matches them. It’s a bit like dating. When I was single I had a mental list of qualities I thought my boyfriend should have. But some guys who met all the criteria on my list did nothing for me. And at one point you find someone who doesn’t meet half your checklist but blows you away. I think that’s what you have to look for in a job. I found it when following the advertising director; I was totally swept off my feet even though working in an advertising agency doesn’t nearly match my ideals. So maybe it’s not about thinking and planning, but about doing lots of job dating, trying things out until you feel a spark.
No need to stress yourself out with those freaky, commitment-heavy questions like "WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?".
Just go on some “job dates.”
Keep it fun. Light. Easy.
A job date lets you test the water. For example, you could take a lunch (or just coffee) to Talk to an “Expert.”
It's getting serious? Maybe it's time to Learn from Your Tribe.
If you didn't feel a spark, no worries. There's no expectation that you need to go out again. Enjoy your freedom to play the career field. But remember, don't burn your bridges. Even if your career date flops, being friends has it's advantages...you never who will have an interesting friend in another career path....;)