Monday, June 29, 2009

very few people know what they want to do. How not to be one of them

'The most difficult thing in life is to know thyself' Thales of Milatus

I've only ever met a couple of people who always knew what they wanted to do. Most of us have stumbled into our jobs and have experienced a few nasty work environments that gave us a clear indicator of what not to do.
You can get lucky and fall into a career that suits you in a conducive environment and find success.

But that doesn't happen for a lot of people and so they put up with less than satisfactory work environments for many reasons. Usually the golden handcuffs wins out. People take on increasing financial responsibility, i.e. debt and stick at what they know to pay the bills. Career change seems too risky as it may mean a cut in pay. And what if my new job sucked even more? Job loss paralyses some. They try to get into a similar job again with similar pay because it's what they know.

The job-hunt is seen as a necessary evil with many accepting the first job offer for fear there may not be another and not because it's what they want to do.
It appears foolhardy to only chase after one type of job and alienate other possibilities. But people who have found long term career happiness have done just that. Narrowed down what they have wanted to do and only target companies they want to work for whether or not there are any vacancies open.

Because once you determine what your personality style or temperament is, know what interests you most and understand your motives and values,it becomes easy to define exactly what kind of work is right for you and then you're only one step away from identifying where these kinds of jobs are.

The enthusiasm that emanates from a job seeker who knows exactly what kind of job they want is contagious and impresses hiring managers or investors who want peopl like these onboard.

Job searches don't take so long for the focused.

It takes a number of assessments and a lot of guided, reflective thinking to arrive at what you want to do. But what's a few hours of productive navel gazing versus tediously long and depressing job searches and the possibility of a lifetime of jobs that never realise your potential?


  1. Thales came from *Miletus*. Actually, he was rather impressive; apart from pretty much inventing the idea of thinking about oneself, he was the first Western European recorded as thinking hard about *anything*. Supposedly (it's all second-hand) he tried to figure out universal truths a priori instead of relying on traditional myths. That might qualify him as a navel gazer along the lines of your post. I reckon a better pre-Socratic for your purposes would be Protagoras, who emphasised the individual as the centre of their world. You might want to contrast that with the Stoics, who would be like the people who stay in the wrong job, and Parmenides, who rejected the possibility of change.

  2. thanks for the greek philosophy lesson!