A year ago I quit my job to relocate for family reasons to a new town. At the time, some caring people told me I should not quit before signing up for a new job but I knew that I needed a dedicated time to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Now, after a first wrong job pick and a lot of work on the topic, I am stepping into a job which fits my puzzle. Here are the key elements to bring the pieces together:
- The perfect job: is one that fits you, your wishes, skills and aspirations. That’s it! Be ready to compromise on the decorations. No icing and cherries on the top (because if you are going for an Apfelstrudel that would be pointless).
- Personality: Take a test, get familiar with your qualities; You don’t like to be put in a box, who does? You’re different, you evolve, but your natural base personality doesn’t change. In a job search, this is your base: “Do what you are”. I extensively used this manual from Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron; it’s full of tips and real examples. It’ll help you understand your puzzle and most importantly keep you away from contorting into roles that don’t suit you.
- Commitment: Defining the right career may mean changing bad habits, facing illusions, dropping fears, solving internal conflicts. Are you ready for this? Maybe not and it’s OK. Don’t be judgmental about it, just be honest. You don’t have to solve all your issues in one go but aim high. When you are ready, write down your commitments (and stick to them).
- Purpose: To me, there is no work-life dichotomy: I can’t have a half-satisfying job as “oh well, I just spend 10 hours a day there but it’s JUST my work”. I have only one life and work is part of it. So I expect my work to connect me to people, be challenging, fulfilling, open me to new possibilities, shape the future, broaden my insight (only to name a few). What is it for you? There is no right or wrong. Forget about what society prescribes, define what YOU expect from work in YOUR life.
- Wishes: It’s Christmas job-shopping time and you have unlimited access to anything you wish. Put it all down on your list: what you wear; job titles; what the office is like; what you do; with whom; childhood dreams; employed or entrepreneur; company name, type, style, size, values, location..; hours, responsibilities, distance from home, environment, salary, travel, learning, passions, hobbies… Don’t be serious, it’s your life. The list can be overwhelming (don’t forget to breath and take breaks). If you struggle with internal conflicts, it’s OK; Return to this list often until you are satisfied.
- Skills: Take five to ten previous projects you worked on; for each of them write the main issue to solve, the measures YOU took and YOUR achievements. Then extract from this list the skills you used and sort them by “often used”/ “rarely used” and “I enjoy” / “I dislike”. List your main skills which you would like to keep in your next job. Be honest, neither modest, nor self-indulgent.
- Compile: mix and shake it all, look at the result and rework it until you are satisfied. This is now your puzzle.
- Write: your CV. Take this step now because it is the formal result of the previous steps. In the past year, I rewrote mine five times and each time it revealed some changes I wanted to make in my puzzle. Here is a the best link for practical tips: write a masterpiece of a resume.
Take your time, there is no rush. At the end of the process you’ll know what type of job you want and be ready to search for it.
Related post: In search of the perfect job, be patient.