Career Choice & Change: Are you a multipotentialite?

career choice and change interests

As a child you were probably asked this question many many times – “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Well-meaning adults often ask the question, in order to get a funny answer, or to provide some inspiration.

“Dream big!” they might say.

However, what they are, in fact, asking you to do is choose one career to dream about, rather than embracing myriad interests and passions.

In her TED Talk “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling,” Emilie Wapnick illustrates the importance of embracing your interests wholeheartedly and acknowledging that there is nothing wrong with NOT having to do one “thing,” one career, for the rest of your life.


Wapnick discusses what led her to this revelation, highlighting a few points to disregard when it comes to attaining self-fulfillment in today’s ever-evolving world.


Forget Boredom

Let yourself develop your multiple interests – and if you become bored, it’s okay to move on to the next one.

When you are tied down to focusing on one subject you might be limiting your personal growth . You may devote a lot of time and energy to one passion project, and then it might lose its sense of challenge and become boring.

This is not a bad thing!

Without a sense of challenge, there is little room for development. If you are not satisfied with one thing, stagnancy can take place, and you may become counter-productive.


Forget Anxiety

Choosing a singular path can lead to anxiety for this reason, among others.

The cycle of boredom from jumping from one interest to the next, may result in the thought that none of those interests will turn into a career.

The idea of having to choose one thing and eventually deny all other passions may lead to fear of endless boredom. But, by moving through interests, further knowledge is gained and can be applied to anything you take on.

Worry about fear of commitment is also often a culprit of anxiety. You may feel that something is wrong with you for not wanting to stick to one thing.

In such a fast-paced society, people are constantly bouncing from job to job, and there is nothing wrong with gaining experience in multiple realms of whatever interests you may have. You don’t necessarily need to relegate these interests to hobbies. Embrace your full potential and explore!


Forget Culture

The idea of having to choose one interest to focus on is instilled in us from the get-go because of our culture/society.

Wapnick poses the question of why we assign the words wrong and abnormal to doing many things. The answer: culture.

When posed with the age-old question of what we want our destiny to be, there is the assumption that we are all wired for “the one” career that will suit us, and that all of our other passions and interests must be pushed aside to follow that path.

The good news is that culture is constantly changing and growing to accommodate those multiple interests. Not only that, but the term “career” is slowly becoming an outdated notion. You no longer have to choose one – you can apply all the skills and understanding gained from those interests as you so choose.


Forget the Word “Career”

You’re not wired to have one specialty for the rest of your life? No problem.

The more subjects you’re curious about, the better.

Because, according to Wapnick, what you are is a multipotentialite, and there is nothing wrong with you.

You are a complex person with many interests and a strong creative drive – someone who can pursue these interests and unlock their potential on many levels.


Now, here are a few ideas to take into account and remember for unlocking your multipotentialite powers.

  1. Idea Synthesis

As a multipotentialite, you have expertise (or at least experience) in many fields. Therefore, you can combine your various disciplines to create something new at the intersection where they meet. Innovation is born from unique ideas and individual backgrounds.

  1. Rapid Learning

In the same vein as idea synthesis, your myriad of skills can be transferred across disciplines to bring all the knowledge you’ve gained to whatever field you may pursue next.

  1. Adaptability

Having such a broad range of abilities and talents gives you the capacity to adapt to whatever any particular situation requires. Your well-rounded experience lends you an open book of opportunities.

List of jobs which provide the best work-life balance

best jobs for work life balance

With the demanding nature of many modern jobs, the line between personal life and work life is quickly fading.

According to Scott Dobroski from Glassdoor, this is largely due to the 24/7 connectivity of our tech-heavy world. With emails and social networks to connect us, your work can reach you at all times with just a click.

Speaking further on the issue, Dobroski had this to say, “Inevitably, there are some jobs that may require more attention during and out of normal office hours. Before accepting a job, job seekers should do their research to understand the hours that are expected in the role, where and how they can get their work done, and the overall nature of the job.”

Thankfully, there are still many great positions out there that allow you to have a life outside of work.

Recently, Glassdoor analyzed its data to find the jobs that best provided the work-life balance that so many employees crave.

Without further ado, here are the 25 jobs that scored the highest (scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is ‘very dissatisfied’ and 5 is ‘very satisfied’).

  1. Data Scientist

Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.2/5

Average Annual Salary: $114,808

Job Details: Works to extract insights from large volumes of data that clients provide to be analyzed.

  1. Search Engine Optimization Manager

Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.1/5

Average Annual Salary: $45,720

Job Details: Works to optimize the search results of client websites by conducting research on keywords and other SEO attributes.

  1. Talent Acquisition Specialist

Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.0/5

Average Annual Salary: $63,504

Job Details: Works to support hiring managers, and the businesses they represent, throughout the entire hiring process.

  1. Social Media Manager

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.9/5

Average Annual Salary: $24,380

Job Details: Works to devise and implement the social media marketing strategies of a company.

  1. Substitute Teacher

Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.0/5

Average Annual Salary: $40,000

Job Details: Fills in for teachers when they are absent from school.

  1. Recruiting Coordinator

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.9/5

Average Annual Salary: $44,700

Job Details: Works to manage the postings for new hires, and handles the initial contact with candidates who may be potentially hired by a company.

  1. User Experience Designer

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.9/5

Average Annual Salary: $91,440

Job Details: Works to improve the accessibility, usability, and overall pleasure of areas where the client interacts with a product/brand/company.

  1. Digital Marketing Manager

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.9/5

Average Annual Salary: $70,052

Job Details: Works to develop, implement, and track digital marketing campaigns across various digital channels associated with a company.

  1. Marketing Assistant

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8/5

Average Annual Salary: $32,512

Job Details: Works alongside marketing managers to develop effective sales strategies and campaigns.

  1. Web Developer

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8/5

Average Annual Salary: $66,040

Job Details: Works to create code used to make websites function.

  1. Risk Analyst

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8/5

Average Annual Salary: $69,088

Job Details: Works to help businesses determine the financial risks involved with daily going-ons, investments, and operational costs.

  1. Civil Engineer

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8/5

Average Annual Salary: $65,532

Job Details: Works to ensure the design and supervision of large-scale construction projects.

  1. Client Manager

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8/5

Average Annual Salary: $71,120

Job Details: Works as a full-time liaise between a company and its clients.

  1. Instructional Designer

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8/5

Average Annual Salary: $66,040

Job Details: Works to develop and research educational content.

  1. Marketing Analyst

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8/5

Average Annual Salary: $60,000

Job Details: Helps research and analyze marketing trends by competitors, as well as current and potential customer information, to create effective campaigns.

  1. Software Quality Assurance Engineer

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8/5

Average Annual Salary: $91,440

Job Details: To ensure the software is properly developed, software quality assurance engineers develop all automated testing routines that perform manual testing on a regular basis.

  1. Web Designer

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8/5

Average Annual Salary: $53,848

Job Details: Works to design the look and feel of a website; including the color scheme, information flow, and graphic design of each page.

  1. Research Technician

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8/5

Average Annual Salary: $36,525

Job Details: Assist research scientists with the various practical aspects of daily research.

  1. Program Analyst

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7/5

Average Annual Salary: $71,120

Job Details: To improve a business’ profits, program analysts make improvements to the operations and procedures a company has in place.

  1. Data Analyst

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7/5

Average Annual Salary: $58,928

Job Details: Provides ongoing reports by interpreting data and analyzing the results using statistical techniques.

  1. Content Manager

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7/5

Average Annual Salary: $60,960

Job Details: Writes, edits, and proofreads content for professional websites.

  1. Solutions Engineer

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7/5

Average Annual Salary: $92,456

Job Details: Working alongside product development teams. Solutions engineers work to solve and identify customer issues.

  1. Lab Assistant

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7/5

Average Annual Salary: $27,550

Job Details: Takes samples from various sources to collect and process information using various pieces of lab equipment.

  1. Software Developer

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7/5

Average Annual Salary: $80,000

Job Details: Works with other departments to research, design, implement and test computer software for company programs.

  1. Front End Developer

Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7/5

Average Annual Salary: $75,000

Job Details: Work to develop the aspects of websites users interact with.

The most important career advice, from people older than you

career path advice choice

Sometimes life/work can be difficult, and finding advice from experienced people can provide a great tool for guidance.

Recently, Karl Pillemer of Cornell University crafted one such tool when he interviewed almost 1,500 people ranging from age 70 to 100 for his inspiring book, “30 Lessons for Living”

You may be thinking that the most common advice had to do with loneliness, family, or friends, but you’d be wrong.

In fact, one of the most overwhelmingly consistent topics had to do with career choices. Simply put, the main piece of advice they had to give was to never stay at a job you disliked.

The elderly people interviewed described staying in such a job as a sort of ever-continuing nightmare that soured life’s experiences. One subject states that “spending years in a job you dislike is a recipe for regret and a tragic mistake.”

To help readers lead a more fulfilling work life, Pillemer developed a useful 5-point refrigerator list from the advice the elderly gave to him.

Choose a Career for the Intrinsic Rewards, Not the Financial Ones

Ultimately, a sense of passion and purpose beats the number of zeros on your paycheck.

Don’t Give Up on Looking for a Job that Makes You Happy

Although it can seem hopeless, or that a certain career is the “safe” option, striving for happiness will be more fulfilling in the long run.

Make the Most of a Bad Job

Unfortunately, you will not likely land a great job right away.

Finding the positives about your current job while searching for something more fulfilling will help you lead a healthier and happier life.

Emotional Intelligence Trumps Every Other Kind

To succeed in your current workplace, and your future ones, you will need excellent interpersonal skills.

Even if your career is tightly focused on technical work, being a people person will make you more likeable and help you advance to where you want to settle.

Everyone Needs Autonomy

Being able to move in directions that interest you, and the ability to make some decisions for yourself in the workplace is of utmost importance.

You want to feel that you have control in your workplace, as it will make you happier overall.

To help people constantly assure themselves they are happy, or are striving to be happy, in their workplace, Pillemer came up with this simple technique: Every day you should ask yourself: “Do I wake up in the morning looking forward to work?”

Once you can answer “yes” to this question, you will know you are on the right track.

Why People Choose A Career That Doesn’t Suit Them

why choose wrong career

Knowing how you may choose or fall into the wrong career can help you avoid doing so, or help you get out of the wrong career.

To assist with this, here are 4 reasons why people often find themselves in a career that does not suit them.

1. You Didn’t Understand Yourself When You Began the Position

After we’ve spent a while in the workplace, we begin learning a lot about ourselves that we didn’t know previously.

Many people will change careers when they reach their mid to late 30s because they have a much better understanding of what they like and don’t like. This often brings about the realisation that their job does not suit them and/or provide the things which are most important for them.

2. The Job That’s Right for You Simply Didn’t Exist a Few Years Back

Industries experience change every single day, as does our world as a whole.

Your dream job may have just popped into existence yesterday, so always keeping aware of new opportunities is important. No matter what industry you are in, you are bound to come across a new position at some point in your career, that sparks your interest.

3. You Never Truly Choose to Be in the Career You’re In

You may have found yourself in your current career position due to the will of your parents, a job offer that came your way, or personal circumstances.

Take a good long hard think about your current work situation, and if you find that you are unhappy with it, consider a career change.

Staying the course of an unfulfilling career can seem easier, but ultimately, following your heart will make you a happier person.

4. You’ve Begun Realizing the Importance of Loving Your Career

Money, status, and titles can seem like everything when you are still young, but once you age you might begin to realize that happiness is the only thing truly worthwhile.

If you think that you can simply not come to love (or at least like) your current career, it might be time to switch.

Yes, Your Birth Order Does Impact Your Career Choice And Success

birth order career choice success

The folks at DailyWorth have put together some great information about how psychologist agree that our birth order has a huge influence on our personalities, education and careers?

Whether you’re a firstborn, middle child, youngest child, twin, or only child, here is an overview of how your birth order affects your career choice / success.


Firstborn

Most often firstborns have a Type A personality and may even have higher IQs than younger children. Parents are often stricter on firstborns. And it seems firstborn women have an advantage. Studies show that firstborn women are 13% more ambitious than firstborn men.

As for education, there is a 16% higher chance of firstborns earning multiple degrees compared to younger siblings. And since firstborns like higher degrees, the career paths they take usually require higher education. Also more CEOs are firstborns than any other birth order.


Middle Child

Since middle children occupy an in-between space in the family, they are often more sociable and content. They even have fewer “acting out” situations while being raised.

As for education, middle children do pretty well in class especially for coursework that measures performance like standardized tests. They like the fierce competition. Since middle children are good at balancing out the family, they tend to gravitate toward jobs that require more social skills.


Youngest Child

When there is a baby in the family, they tend to grow up being more empathetic, more popular, and more agreeable. However if the age gap is large, they may have more characteristics like the firstborn.

Although the youngest child may struggle in school, they often work hard to keep up. The reason for the struggle is because parents don’t focus as much on their performance. The youngest children seem to gravitate toward more artistic and creative careers like art or publishing.


Only Children

Since they never fought for attention, only children tend to be more independent.

Only children education habits seem to mirror those of the high achieving firstborns. And when they transition to their career, only children tend to strive for the top to assert their dominance.


Twins

Because of their strong bond, twins often find great emotional support in their twin but might struggle with to find independence. Similarly twins don’t find academic achievement as much a priority as other birth orders.

In a career, twins seem to excel when they can work together. Twins like to work together and can find great success in entrepreneurial projects.


Discussion

How does your career and education stack up against these birth orders? Is it accurate for you? Share your experience in the comments.

Using Science To Choose The Right Career For You

pick a career change love

No matter how hard you may try to pick a job that you think you’ll love, scientific research has shown us over and over again that people go about it all wrong. Research shows that what people think will make them happy is often very different from what actually will make them happy at work. Perhaps that accounts for why the majority of people are unhappy with their jobs.

Keep reading to learn what scientific research has to say about choosing the perfect job for you.


Don’t Dwell on Salary

After analyzing the results from more than 100 job satisfaction studies, the evidence is conclusive that there is only a small relationship between higher salary and higher job satisfaction. Don’t focus on pay.

The jury is still out as to whether money can buy happiness. Rich people are generally happier than their poorer counterparts, but evidence shows that winning the lottery or some other financial windfall doesn’t change a person’s happiness much over the long term.

When you focus on a job’s pay, you miss the opportunity to weigh other factors that might play a bigger role in your satisfaction. So although it’s nice to make some more money every pay check, it doesn’t make you as happy as other factors and doesn’t deserve as much attention as it’s given.


Downplay Your Interests

Now we know this is going to surprise a lot of you but there is no convincing evidence that proves that following your interests leads to fulfilling work. It should be obvious that doing a job that has something to do with what you’re interested in should matter. Shouldn’t someone who is interested in music be happier working as a record producer rather than an accountant? But the scientific research doesn’t show that it has any effect.

But there is a reason that science doesn’t say our interests matter. First off, our interests change over time and faster than we’d expect. Psychological studies have shown that people are terrible at predicting what they’d enjoy in the future. This makes sense because I know that some of my interests when I was 18 would no longer keep my attention today. You?

Other scientific research shows that although our interests are still important, we tend to outweigh them compared to more pertinent choices. So even if you did enjoy music, the late nights and long hours might be less desirable than you’d think.


Seek Significant Work

Throughout the field of positive psychology, professionals agree that a sense of meaning is important for an individual’s overall sense of happiness. Now studies have applied this to the workplace. When you feel like your work is contributing to a worthy cause, you are likely to love your work much more. Being kind to others has been shown to boost your mood. So when you’re able to turn your work into a way of helping others, you’re bound to find more satisfaction.

A meaningful job doesn’t have to be limited to a charity or nonprofit. Making a difference is up to you and can be done in many different ways through industries such as politics, entrepreneurship, and medicine.

If you’re in a job and can’t just change, try volunteering. The research is clear that those who volunteer are consistently happier than those that don’t. You can also donate money to charity as research shows this can make you feel great too.


Avoid Easy Jobs

When we’re not being mentally challenged, we quickly get bored. While you might think that getting an easy job would be less stress and a piece of cake, it can actually lead to more fatigue and feelings of dissatisfaction and even resentment.

In order to love the work you do, you need to feel like you’ve achieved something. Science has developed two tests that can help you determine how important mental challenge is for you on the job. The Growth Needs and Need for Cognition scales. While some people might not need as much challenge and growth opportunities as others, the scientific evidence shows that growth potential and challenge are important factors.


Diversify Your Tasks

The job characteristics model which is supported by more than 200 independent cases says that variety is a key component to finding work that’s satisfying. When we find work that opens up our horizons to more tasks and challenges, we don’t take a good job for granted as quickly. In a study by Sonya Lyubomirsky, she found that participants who tried new activities reported higher levels of happiness than the ones who remained the same.

Many jobs require different tasks including medicine, consulting, and media. When you are working on different projects and with new people, your experience changes frequently. But on the other hand a financial analysis who sits at a computer in a cube working on spreadsheets has a low-variety job.

If you want to get more variety at work, start by asking for it by requesting new projects or a higher level of responsibility. Another way to achieve variety is by switching tasks more often and changing up your schedule. Small changes can go a big way.


Find Autonomy at Work

When you have control over how and when your work gets done, you will experience higher levels of job satisfaction. You’ll be able to structure your work around your needs. Autonomy is a need that lies deep within humans and one that history has shown us some are willing to fight for. When you find work that gives you the freedom to determine your schedule and how you work, you’re likely to experience more job satisfaction.

If you want to know how much autonomy there is at a new job, ask the people that work there how much freedom they feel like they have. If you feel stifled at your current job, you may need to sit down with your supervisor to see if you can get some more independence.


Find a Source of Reliable Feedback

When you get feedback on a job, you’re likely to experience more motivation and higher levels of work satisfaction, multiple studies report. On the other hand if feedback is infrequent or poor, you may lose motivation.

If you want to increase the amount of feedback you get, start by asking for it. You can also start looking at the work itself for some feedback. Are you getting the results you need?


Like Your Coworkers

When you’re around people you like, your mood is enhanced. When you have doubts about the coworkers at a new job, remember that you are going to be spending a lot of time with them. Don’t discount your colleagues when selecting a new job. It’s not silly to want to work with people who you like.

When we have fulfilling close relationships, our feeling of wellbeing goes up. And if we have social support at work, our stress levels can go down. Studies also show that when people get along with their colleagues, they find their work more meaningful.


Follow Your Strengths

When we achieve, we feel better about ourselves. Most people are continuously working toward an achievement and when it comes, they usually feel good. Like when you finally finished that large project or mastered a difficult new skill.

In order to get this sense of achievement on a regular basis you must find work that utilizes your strengths and skills. Research shows that if your skills and the job are mismatches, you’ll be unhappy with it. If you tap into your signature strengths as developed by Seligman, you’re likely to find fulfilling work. When you apply your inherent strengths at work, you’re going to see increased levels of satisfactions.


Finding the Perfect Job Won’t Necessarily Be Easy

Even with years of scientific research to guide you, finding a career you love won’t happen overnight. But never give up. As research shows, we often misjudge how happy something will make us in the future. So although the sign on bonus might be tantalizing, don’t overlook the long hours you’ll need to put in which you might later regret.

As you begin to understand the science behind job satisfaction, you’re going to be able to make wiser choices and work toward finding a career you love. You won’t necessarily know that you’ll love something or not until you try it. So keep expanding your horizons, learning, and progressing your life. Don’t settle and keep trying things until you find what works for you.

Sources and references: Vox

How Your Personality And Career Path Can Influence Each Other

career path personaity singapore

If you want to be in more control of your professional destiny, then it is essential to focus on various elements that influence your career path. One such element is your personality, which can have quite an influence in your professional life.

Throughout your career, you will find that your personality shapes your career path and that the jobs you take on can also shape your personality. This is a dynamic relationship that you can balance. It’s good to be aware of how your personal traits, reactions and tendencies will affect the people around you and your opportunities for the future.


How Does Your Personality Shape Your Career Path?


Your personality determines how you respond to pressure situations, the types of relationships you have with co-workers and managers, your work ethic and other extremely important attributes of your professional career. If you are an introvert who limits contact with co-workers, then that significantly reduces your exposure to people who can help you to develop your career. Your co-workers represent a great opportunity to establish a strong professional network within your industry and by ignoring your co-workers, you are limiting your growth.

If you establish a trend of flying off the handle each time a pressure situation occurs, then you can develop a reputation for not being management material. In this way, your personality could cripple your ability to ever move forward in your career and prevent you from achieving many of your career goals.


How Does Your Career Shape Your Personality?


Entry level employees react differently to situations than experienced professionals. Through the years, your contact with management level employees and other elements of your industry can affect how you react to different situations.

For example, if you were laid off from a job even though you had seniority over employees who got to stay with the company, then you would develop a distrust of management. That distrust can carry over into other aspects of your career and become either a problem, or it can shield you from making bad decisions.


Why Is It Important To Take Your Personality Into Account When Plotting Your Career Path?


When you discuss your career ambitions with co-workers, friends and family members, you probably talk about money and prestige. The goals you discuss revolve around advancing up the corporate ladder, getting raises and taking on more responsibility. But if you do not take your personality into account, then you could be plotting a career path that will never truly satisfy you.

Creating a career path requires consideration of factors such as job prospects and money, however, internal factors such as your personality should not be ignored. If, in reality, the idea of being responsible for a large staff of people makes you uncomfortable, then your pursuit of a management career is a bad idea. What if you really want to get involved in research and stay out of the management limelight? By following your personality, you can develop a career path that satisfies your need for material success and also allows you to feel personally satisfied with your accomplishments.

At Sandbox Advisors, we know how important it is to align your career path with your personality. We also understand how years of corporate experience can alter your perception of the corporate world and change your personality. Sign up for a free consultation and we will show you how to utilize your personality as a strong career tool and develop a career path that will bring you satisfaction as well a success.

Reasons Why People Miss Their Calling in Life

what jobs career suits me life

You can have a job, or you can have a career. Or you can go one step further and find your “calling in life.”

The word “calling” is difficult to define, and some do dismiss it as an esoteric concept with no practical value.  But for those who do believe in the concept (as I do), a calling is a sense of higher purpose, a sincere belief that you’re placed in this world for a reason. Some believe a calling is an invitation by a higher power, others believe it’s simply an invitation to be authentic to self. My favourite description of a life calling is that of Ignatius de Loyola: calling is “when your heart’s deepest desires meet the world’s greatest need.”

Whichever way you look at it, the belief that there’s more to life than daily grind creates happiness, reduces stress, and inspires greater productivity. Daniel Pink, the author of “Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us,” lists purpose as one of the main reason people wake up eager to face the day. Thus, if you want personal fulfillment and job satisfaction, aim for a little transcendence.

If you’ve yet to identify what your calling in life is, that’s okay. It’s a process that takes time. In the meantime, consider the following reasons why you may be giving off a busy dial tone.

You’re living someone else’s dream.

Did your parents push you to take engineering because you’re from a family of engineers? Did you say “I want to be a programmer” because many self-made millionaires are computer geniuses? Or maybe you feel guilty saying no to the uncle who paid for your education, hence you’re slaving away in his company.

A calling is something deeply personal. True, others can give input about what might inspire you, but at the end of the day it’s a choice you must freely make. Pleasing others is the easiest way to burn-out. Similarly, copying other people’s formula means you’ll never get to discover your own formula, the one that will make success all the more worth it.

You don’t take time to meditate and reflect.

Cultivation of an internal life is a pre-requisite to finding purpose. The abilities to push pause, get silent, and listen to what your thoughts and feelings are telling you are necessary to spot the difference between what’s working and what’s draining you dry.

Workaholics who don’t go for alone time lose sight of what’s driving them in the first place. Similarly, the restless young professionals who don’t take time to reflect why they job hop will never discover what they need to be happy. Men and women who go through midlife and quarterlife crisis, assuming they can carry on just as they always have, can miss the message of what older age is asking of them.

You don’t expose yourself to situations where help may be needed.

Personal callings are often solidified by the realization that you’re making a real difference. When you know that there’s more to work than monthly paycheck, each little task has meaning. This is especially so when the cause you’re working for is something that resonates with you, either because you’ve experienced a similar need or the people you serve have touched your heart.

Being a medical representative, for example, may seem like lackluster work, as all you may be is a glorified salesperson. But if you interact with the very patients who benefit from getting matched with the right drugs, you may re-appreciate the value of what you do. Your extra effort to educate one more doctor about the latest in pharmacy may mean the difference between living in pain and experiencing relief for a child somewhere. Unless you expose yourself to the significance of what you do, you may miss the bigger picture.

You don’t believe in serendipity.

Okay, so you’re a realist. You don’t believe in something unless there’s concrete evidence. But there’s also nothing wrong in indulging the belief that the universe is constantly speaking to you. (At the very least, consider the idea that seemingly random experiences can be strung together to make one coherent whole.)

While most think that a sense of purpose comes in an instant, for most people calling is found through the culmination of a series of events. For instance, you may have had enjoyed being a women’s shelter volunteer as a teenager, but thought nothing of it other than a summer job. Then you met the person who would be your best friend in your late teens, a person who survived domestic abuse. You took up Psychology in college thinking you want to be an HR practitioner. But in your 30s you suddenly had the realization that your college course is actually a good pre-law, and that your calling is to become a lawyer advocating women’s rights.

So try to read the signs. Sometimes when the idea for a possible calling comes along, you’ll see little things coming together to make it happen.

You don’t go beyond the present.

Lastly, consider these questions: How would you like to be remembered? What would you like written in your epitaph? What legacy is most appealing to you?

A calling transcends time, its impact long-lasting even to but a handful of people. Going beyond the present can help you identify whether you’re moving towards a vision or simply surviving the day.

Working Too Hard, Is One Of The Biggest Regrets Of People On Their Deathbed

biggest-regrests-in-life-working-too-hard

Bronnie Ware is an Australian Nurse who worked in palliative care, which is a holistic approach to caring for patients going through the last stages of their lives.

She often asked her patients about their biggest regrets in life. These were the top 5 responses, which she heard over and over:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. 
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. 

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

On the regret of working to hard, here are some things to think about:

  • Life is filled with choices we make.
  • If you are working too hard and not spending enough time with your family, is that a choice you have made, or is there something you can do about it?
  • Often we work hard/long hours – 1) to ensure we keep climbing the corporate ladder 2) to  earn more and 3) for the prestige that comes with the first two points.
  • Are there any choices/changes you can make, which might lower your career trajectory, earnings and status but let you spend more time with your family? Are you willing to make those changes? Why or why not?

Think hard about this. You might die to regret it.

Could You Be a Candidate for a Portfolio Career?

portfolio-career

Experts have been predicting changes in working patterns for some years now and of course the huge increase in the number of people who now work from home is testament to just one of these.  With so many employers being forced to cut back their workforces in order to just survive the current recession though, another of the anticipated changes which is very much in evidence at the moment is the growth in portfolio careers.

The term “portfolio careers” refers to careers which involve working in two or more roles at the same time.  This might mean working full or part-time in two similar or quite distinct roles for two different employers in two related or separate industries, or it could entail combining full or part-time work as a paid employee with running a business or doing freelance or contract work.  It could even involve a mixture of paid or self-employed work with regular voluntary work – or in fact just about any combination of any of these things.

Of course, for many people who are struggling to make ends meet in today’s economically troubled times, taking up a portfolio career hasn’t so much been an active choice, but rather the result of not being able to find a single full-time job in their field of expertise.  Huge numbers of workers have had to accept part-time roles just to bring some money into the household, and many of these are working several part-time jobs simultaneously.  For others, the threat of lay-offs and the ongoing sense of dissatisfaction caused by job insecurity have led to them holding down their full-time positions at the same time as building up businesses which they hope will sustain them in the future.

Of those who have deliberately chosen a portfolio career, some have done so to inject variety into their working lives.  Not content with spending all day, every day working in the same role and field and for the same employer, some have chosen to diversify their activities so that they gain increased satisfaction from each.  Others, meanwhile, have used a portfolio career to enable them to combine their true work passions with something that pays the bills, or to provide financial security while they switch to a completely different occupation.

As you can see, therefore, portfolio careers can be used to serve a variety of ends and they have a number of benefits, including the opportunities for workers to:

  • Work for a variety of different bosses or clients.
  • Develop a wider range of skills and experience.
  • Use a different mix of skills.
  • Introduce greater flexibility into their working lives.
  • Experience a greater variety of working environments.
  • Increase their earning capacities – often it is possible to earn more by doing two part-time jobs than one full-time job.
  • Try out different fields and industries.
  • Move gradually into different areas of work or build businesses gradually with less financial risk.

Of course, like everything, portfolio careers do have their downsides too, and these are well worth considering before embarking on this type of work pattern.  The main disadvantages include:

  • Poorer compensation packages.  Although it is possible to get paid more in terms of cold, hard cash by working two part-time jobs, part-time workers typically don’t receive the same levels of benefits such as pension contributions, private medical insurance, sick pay and so on.
  • Exhaustion.  Working two or more different jobs which require you to be at different locations and to use different skills and. abilities can be both physically and mentally exhausting, especially if it’s done over any great length of time
  • Overcommitment.  The phrase “jack of all trades and master of none” comes to mind here, because of course if you have too many different things going on at once it can become impossible to give enough of your time and attention to any one in particular.  Not only can this prevent you from earning more by becoming an expert in any one field, but it can also lead to poor levels of performance across the board.

Steve Jobs Lived The Life He Wanted. When Will You Start Living Yours?

steve-jobs-career-life

We have seen many great CEOs and leaders – Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company), Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com), Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway), Ted Turner (CNN), Meg Whitman (eBay), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jack Welch (GE) and the list goes on and on and on.

However, none of these leaders evoked the type of respect, love, reactions and admiration, that Steve Jobs did. Why?

Everyone will have their own answer to this question. I think that we are not reacting to Steve Job’s management or leadership capabilities but the way he lived his life.

Steve Jobs lived life in a way that many of us dream of but aren’t able to turn into reality. The vast majority of us are tied-down by the restrictions and norms, imposed on us by society and the people around us. We take the easy way out and stay close to what is expected and familiar. We continuously avoid the risk of following our heart, doing what we really want and expressing our thoughts/ideas to the fullest extent.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the area of work. Instead of being excited to go to work each morning and spend the day doing things we enjoy, most of us would prefer to be anywhere other than the office. Quite a sad state of affairs I think, given the amount of time we spend at the workplace.

But not Steve Jobs. Oh no. He dropped out of college, experimented with LSD, bounced back from huge career setbacks (and how!), loved whatever work he did, battled cancer and gave the world some amazing technological gadgets and animated films.

Steve Jobs gave us hope. He made us believe it’s possible to live the life you want and be successful, in the traditional sense of having  fame and riches, at the same time. We felt a little closer to our own dreams and ideal life, by watching  and talking about Steve’s life, decisions, values, successes and failures.

Great reward only comes with some amount of risk and by doing things differently. Jobs took these risks, without worrying too much about the rewards. He just wanted to enjoy the ride. Very hard to do but I think that’s what we all need to strive for.

In 2005 Steve Jobs gave a great speech at Stanford University. Here are some of the highlights:

—- I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.

—- I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. And then I got fired. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and devastating.

I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife.

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

—- Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

—- Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

—- Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

RIP Mr. Jobs – You were and will continue to be a great inspiration. We can’t live our dreams through you any more but  hopefully many of us will have the courage to start living our own lives now. I’m sure you would like that.