Huffington Post has published a list of 25 best jobs. Such lists are always subjective. They also reflect a group of people, not one person in his or her job. I think a good job is one where you are doing the right thing in the right place with the right people. If you are happy at work, you have a great job.
A client called with good news yesterday. She landed her ideal position at a great company. Her job search took four months, which she found a bit frustrating. I told her not to worry about that because it’s normal, especially for someone who lands the kind of job that she wants, not one that she has to take.
This story made me think about two important virtues every successful jobs seeker needs: patience and consistency. It might sound clichéd to call patience a virtue. But it’s a reality that it takes time to find a good job. While I’ve had some clients land jobs in 2-4 weeks, most job seekers will need 3-6 months to find a job. For some people that might mean taking a job to bring in income while the job search continues. That’s part of holding patience as a virtue. Every job search is different. Some will be fast and easy. Some will be long and hard. You need to adapt and keep faith in your talent.
You also have to be consistent. When clients have gotten stuck in the job search, it is often because some factor has made them stop looking for work. A good job search requires steady, constant activity: networking, identifying potential employers, responding to job posts. As one of my friends in HR likes to say, “The job won’t find you.” Instead, you have to keep plugging along in the face of disappointment. My formula is to be active at least 4-5 days per week. Hold yourself accountable by keeping a log. If you’re not recording activities for at least 4-5 days each week, you are not being consistent in the search. Expect a bad result.
I understand the frustration involved in looking for work. I’ve felt it, and it hurts. That said, if we approach this hard task with a realistic, practical outlook, we’ll be better able to put up with the frustration. If you’re steady in applying for work and patient in waiting for good things to come, the job search will not be as miserable. In fact, as you have more control over the process of looking for work, your phone will start to ring.
I just received a call from a client who has taken an executive position with an international corporation. Her job search took more than a year, which might sound like a long time. However, in this client’s case, it made sense. She was looking for a specific type of position in one industry. Such opportunities do not open often. My client was successful because she was patient and focused in pursuing the kind of work she wanted to do
This story is a model for a good job search. Don’t wait to be laid off to start looking for work. My client was employed throughout her search. Having a job gave her the financial security to be selective about the job she was taking. She could take the time needed to network and wait for the right opportunity. We can all follow this model by being proactive in managing our careers. Know what you want to do as a professional and keep pursuing that goal.
If you want to be happy at work, you need to align your work with skills you like to use. I call these gifts. We all have skills that let us do things that don’t make us happy. Such skills are needed to do any kind of work. However, gifts are those skills that bring us the most satisfaction and joy. For example, a surgeon enjoys the physical and mechanical skills that are involved in operations. Conversely, a psychologist's gifts are listening and motivating change.
Think about what you do that really makes you happy at work, the kind of activities that make you forget about quitting time or breaking for lunch. Once you have identified your gifts, you’ve taken the first big step to being happy at work.