Add into the mix the fact that few jobs or careers offer stability. The world of work is changing at lightning speed, and the job you were hired to do will most likely change sooner than you expect or perhaps be eliminated. How can you ensure you'll like what you are doing?
Be true to your anchors. Career Anchors Self-Assessment, developed by Edgar H. Schein, professor emeritus at MIT's Sloan School of Management, is one tool aimed to help you assess your perceived areas of competence, motives and values related to your work choices. There are eight anchors, or motivators, to help you better understand what is uncompromisingly important in your career. By the way, money is not one of the anchors.
Passion. Passion doesn't trump money, but it can't be dismissed. Ask successful professionals what contributed to their success, and they'll likely answer that they love what they do. So is searching for passion so wrong?
Eric Stutzke, executive vice president of finance & operations at OneWire, a career site for finance professionals, says those who truly love the financial world will easily adapt and thrive. Having passion for financial services is the secret ingredient for his long-term career happiness and success.
Company culture and people. Your skills, interests and values can be used a in wide variety of industries and jobs. Once you have discovered a career, begin looking at the company culture and people who work in that area. Conduct informational meetings and research companies to learn how people are rewarded and promoted. While the job or industry might fit, some company cultures may not line up with what is important to you. The best way to uncover this information is to speak with people who currently work for the company or recently worked there.
Learn by doing. All your research can help steer you in the correct direction, but sometimes experience is the best teacher. An internship, job shadowing or temporary job can give you hands-on experience that can go a long way in helping you make the right choice. If you don't like the work or company, it is better to uncover this sooner rather than later. Don't rule it out altogether, though, because your experience may not have been typical. Ask trusted advisors or friends to help you assess the situation before eliminating some of your options.
Stay interested. Having passion for the industry or work you do will certainly give you fortitude to face stormy situations. Interest also brings out the desire to learn more and work harder. Some experts will say that hustle and going above and beyond are vital elements for career success. While nothing comes too easily, it is easier to put in the extra effort if you like what you are doing.
How do you define success? Working extreme hours or obsessing over climbing the decaying corporate ladder may not be your path to success. Today's definition of what success looks like might be different. Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "Ultimately, success is not about money or position, but about living the life you want, not just the life you settle for."
Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain. Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.