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How Can I Find a Career Where I'm Valued?

"JT & Dale Talk Jobs" is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: I have gone through career assessment counseling three different times, and while the results are consistent, I still hate my work. How can I get some help finding a career where I am making a contribution and am valued for that contribution? — Judd Dale: Done properly, good career counseling locates the intersections between your skills and economic realities. But GREAT counseling will help you not only think through your options but feel your way through the emotional connection to work. J.T.: That's where you discover what is called your "intrinsic motivation," and getting there means examining not just your work experiences, but also your volunteer and free-time activities until you start to see the common denominators of what you find engaging. Dale: With emphasis on the word "you." J.T.: So true. I once worked with a woman who was highly successful in her job, but who was growing more unhappy by the day. She came to me, and together we explored what she truly cared about, and she admitted, sheepishly, that what she really loved was makeup. When I asked her why she wasn't working in cosmetology, she told me her family and friends would see it as a frivolous job. After much discussion, she agreed to take a class and then started a side business as a makeup artist. Fast-forward to today: She's a highly successful image consultant. She leveraged her connections in the business world to launch a service that helps women improve their looks and confidence. She is admired and respected for her work, but more importantly, she is happy and successful on her own terms. Dale: Is there any other way to be successful? JTandDale.com LogoJeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the job search blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Valued employee career image from Shutterstock