Job Magician

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What Do I Want to Do When
(or if) I Grow Up?

You’re unhappy in your current position.

You’re considering changing your job.

You may be considering a specific new position now, and wondering if it’s the right step.  You could be trying to determine what the next step should be for you, or if you’ve chosen the right career for yourself, period.

If you’re thinking about changing jobs, you should also be evaluating what it is that you want to do.  Now is the time to ask yourself that age-old question once again:  What do I want to do when I grow up?  It’s never too late to change your mind on this question. Explore in your mind what it is that will truly make you happy; this could mean changing companies and doing the same thing, or it could mean that it’s time to teach whitewater kayaking to over-the-hill thrill seekers.  Or something that is just about anywhere in between.

The following questions will help you decide whether a job you’re interviewing for is the right one for you; they will also help you decide whether it’s time to stay the course, or go for a new career.  Now is the time, kid, not later, when all the stars become aligned perfectly.


What am I good at?  What can I do much better than most people?

What do I like to do?


To thine own self  be true …

What am I not good at?  Be brutally honest with yourself on this one.  No one else will see this.  To give yourself a hint, think of the things that you'd rather have someone else do.

What do I not want to do?

What kind of people do I want to work with?  Do I want to work with brainerds or commonfolk?  Do I want to hang around with creative types, merchants, number crunchers, or builders?

What kind of atmosphere do I want in my workplace?   Do I want a place that's hard-driving or easy-going?  How important is it for me to work at a place that has high ethical standards?  Or would I just like to make money?

Why Did I Do That?

What do I want to continue to live after they throw dirt on my face?  In other words, what do I want to contribute to this world? 

The Kool Questions

If I had all the money I could ever want, what would I do?  (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test)

Considering that I don't have all the money I could ever want, and am not likely to get it soon, what can I do that will let me do pretty much the same thing I just wished I could be doing, anyway?  This isn't as hard as you think.  Think in terms of generalities, instead of specifics.  If, with unlimited riches, you'd go to Tahiti and paint landscapes dotted with three-eyed warthogs, recast this as I Want To Be Creative. What career and personal lifestyle will allow you to do these things? 

In this process, consider doing something that you enjoy doing rather than something you enjoy being.  Prestige, and the bows in the supermarket that go along with it, won't keep you coming into work screaming, "Thank God It's Monday!"

Be seen by 1.5 million hiring managers instantly! 

Don't Make Jack a Dull Boy ...

How does my plan fit in with my family's, and my personal life?  Don't forget this part, and for God's sake, don't minimize its importance. 

What do I want to do outside of work?  How much time do I want to give to my work, and how much to the other parts of my life?

Where do I want to live?  How important is my location to me?  To my family?


Analysis, Mr. Spock

How is my current position, and current company helping me achieve my career and personal goals?

How isn't it?

How will your current position and current company help you achieve your goals in the future?

It's Nut Crackin' Time!

How will a new position, and the new company that goes with it, help me achieve my career and personal goals?

How won't it?  (there’s no reason to send yourself down a new gopher hole that will be the same old gopher hole once you get there).


And Don't Forget What Color Is Your Parachute?

Probably the best book to help you quickly re-evaluate your career choice is still the classic What Color Is Your Parachute?.  Now you probably already have a dog-eared copy of this around (if not, get one: click here to order What Color Is Your Parachute?). You may think that you’ve gone past this book – it is viewed by many as an entry-level job hunter's book – but it also has some great sections on choosing what it is that you want to do with your life.  At the very least, take some time and do the Quick Job Hunting Map exercise.  This is worth the price of the book alone; the exercise is short and enlightening every time that you do it.

Kayaking photos (of Job Magician) by Bill Smith and Patrick Rogers



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