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How to Find a Fulfilling Career During the Great Resignation

September 20, 2023

Are you considering finding a new job? You’re not alone.

Many job seekers are leaving their current employers in hopes of finding better jobs. In fact, a record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

While the pandemic turned our world upside down, it also gave job seekers a moment of reflection about work. Whether you transitioned to remote work or lost employment, many realized work is a big part of our lives.

How our jobs make us feel is paramount. Fulfilling work is not just about good pay anymore; it’s feeling happy and excited to come to work each day.

Here’s how to find a fulfilling career that checks all your boxes, even in the age of the Great Resignation:

Define what’s important to you

A fulfilling career varies from person to person, and what may be important to you may be trivial to someone else. That’s why you must take the time to soul search and reflect on the things that matter to you most in a job.

To start this inner dialogue, ponder what makes you happy at work. Think about the times where you were most excited in a role. Does compensation drive you? Is there something you do at work that you’re passionate about? What opportunities would you love to try? When does work not feel like work? Do you enjoy work-life balance?

Once you’ve got a good sense of what's important to you, it’s always in your best interest to additionally think over the aspects of work you don’t like. Is there something you don’t enjoy doing? When is work most stressful for you? If you could change something currently in your career, what would it be? What do you dread about work?

Asking yourself these types of questions will guide you on the path to discovering what fulfills and drives you on the job. It’ll also give you the sense of what oppositely demotivates you. After gathering this information, prioritize your wants and needs for work. And from there, create a list of non-negotiables.

Putting the thought into this introspective work will make all the difference in the next role you acquire.

Leverage your strengths

Often, we are the happiest at work when it doesn’t feel like work. This typically happens when someone leverages their strengths in a role.

Working in a position that uses your natural skill set helps you thrive in a role. It can also help you have a lead advantage in overall performance, putting you into a position to advance within a company or a role. Playing to your strengths can also help you identify a career that’s a perfect fit for you, setting you up for long-term career success.

To discover your strengths, you have many options. Consider taking an assessment that identifies your strengths and best skills. Ask others to share what they think about your abilities. However, be sure to ask someone you trust if you go this route.

You can also identify personal passions by taking the time to pinpoint the tasks that really motivate you or come to you naturally. Lastly, you can review your resume to note any skills you haven’t previously considered.

After assessing your strengths, do some research to discover the roles that embrace these skills on the job.

Research and explore

Doing the upfront work of defining your needs and personal strengths will prepare you for the next step to discovering a fulfilling career—research.

Finding a fulfilling career requires self-examination and an exploration of what's out there available to you. And that’s only discoverable by putting in the work to do your research. Lucky for job seekers, there are multiple ways to find information about career opportunities.

For starters, you can use online resources to learn more about industries and roles that pique your interest. This will be a great way to get preliminary information to guide your investigation.

Then, you can connect and network with professionals online and in-person that work in fields that you want to know more about. You can get an honest inside scoop of the realities of career paths that interest you by simply starting a conversation.

Once you’ve narrowed down your interests after careful research, it’s time to put your ideas to the test. If there’s an opportunity to explore a field by doing a passion project, give it a try. You can also ask to volunteer or shadow in the role or industry you desire to help you further decide what role or field is best for you.

Finding a fulfilling career is no easy task. It takes work, commitment and a ton of self-discovery.

Being happy at work is about defining the things you want, leveraging your existing skills and exploring your possibilities.

While it may seem like a lengthy laundry list of items to do, you’ll always be happy in the end that you did. Happiness comes to those who seek it.

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