Have you ever felt like a complete career misfit? You've had many jobs and many employers, but it’s always something - a bad boss. The work doesn't challenge you. The work is too challenging. They’re trying to make you into something you’re not. You spend the majority of your time doing work you hate. You feel like a sell-out. They have no idea what you’re really capable of. How many times do you get to say, “It’s not me – it’s them?” before you start to wonder if maybe it really is you? How long before you start to wonder if maybe you shouldn't just get shipped off to the Island of Misfit Employees? How long before you start to lose faith that there really is a fit for you... somewhere? It can be disheartening, can’t it? Especially when you know that you really could be great at something… somewhere. I believe that most people really aren’t afraid of hard work. I think that we actually long to work hard for someone or something that matters to us. I think that we each have skills and abilities that we would love to use in service of the right cause. We just haven’t found that right fit yet. Why is that? Over one-third of our adult lives are spent working. Don’t we want that time to matter? Don’t we want to find fulfilling work that makes a difference? Of course we do. We just don’t always know how.
Finding The Right FitSo, what’s the secret to finding the work you love? The place where you’re not a misfit… again? Since we’re entertaining the thought that it just might not be them, but you, that’s where we need to start. With you. Before you even consider updating your resume or scouring the job boards to see who’s hiring and what they’re paying… take a look at yourself first. Let’s not just consider what you have to offer, but… what is that you want to offer? What skills do you have that you want to use more often? (Who cares if you’re “good” at creating spreadsheets and reports… is that what you want to keep doing?) And let’s think beyond the types of organizations that you could merely tolerate. Where would you love to work? And so what if you’ve clawed your way up the management ladder… do you even like managing others? In attempting to define the work that you love, you have to first start by defining yourself. The right fit for you will be a blend of the following:
- The skills and abilities that you delight most in using
- Your natural, authentic personality tendencies: who you are at your core, most naturally
- Your values, dreams, and passions
Focus Narrow And Deep – Not High And WideInstead of casting a wide net in your job search, looking to be hired by anyone who’ll take you, you’ll focus more on a narrow segment that will be a better fit with what you have to offer. It may seem counterintuitive, but it works. People who are using their favorite skills and abilities in environments that they love - while being true to their natural, authentic selves - are dream employees for any employer. Known as “engaged” employees, they’re 2.7 times as productive as their disengaged counterparts (who, by the way, currently represent 71% of the workforce… so you’re probably not the only one feeling like a misfit these days!). Finding your fit IS possible, but it takes work on the front end. You've got to figure out who you are and want you want before you try to go after it. It’s like the map analogy – you can’t get to where you’re going unless you've first figured out where you want to go. You can decide to say goodbye to the Island of Misfit Employees once and for all. There’s a right fit for you somewhere, but… you’ve got to be willing to do the work to find it!
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