Too many people are worried about landing “a” job that they forget to imagine what it will be like to actually work there. If you aren’t thinking about whether you will love the work as you are considering a position- you really should.
Carolyn survived four rounds of grueling interviews and enthusiastically accepted a job at a large law firm with a big lobby and even bigger salary. Her family and friends were so proud. “A big firm job for our girl,” her Mom bragged to her friends. This was just what Carolyn always wanted. Or was it?
Three months in, Carolyn showed up to my office in tears. “This job f*cking sucks!” she cried. “Why? What is going on?” I asked, hoping something horrible hadn’t happened. These days, you never know. “Our clients! We work for people who have no soul! All they care about is making money at all costs,” she lamented. “Every day, I’m looking at spreadsheets and crunching numbers to do a deal that is going to screw about 350 people out of a job.”
I stared at her blankly for a minute- or at least I hope my look was blank. “Carolyn, what kind of work did you expect to do here? It is a big law firm, and all the clients are corporations. Surely you knew that when you accepted the job. Why you are surprised by the work?” I asked. “I didn’t really think about it,” she confessed. “I was so excited to get this impressive job that I never thought what it would be like to actually do it! THIS ISN’T WHO I AM!”
This realization sucks. And it happens far too often. A lot of people end up in jobs, only to realize “this is not who I am!!!!!” or “I am totally uninspired,” or “there must be more to life,” and so on. Knowing what actually matters to you (hint: it may not be what your friends or family tell you matters) and how to show up and position yourself to land work you will LOVE is pretty important if you want to be happy. Just ask Carolyn.
It turns out, Carolyn is actually deeply inspired to do work that provides opportunities to underserved communities. While working in a big law firm is a great job for many, it actually felt painful to her soul when Carolyn discovered her work would result in a lot of people losing their jobs. Carolyn realized, a bit late, that she needed to do something completely different to avoid waking up filled with dread every day.
If you are job searching, thinking about a career change, or trying to decide what work you actually want to do- check out Truly Inspired: Secrets for Finding Extraordinary Success at Work. It is THE book that gives you everything you need to know to land work that you will love.