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How to Decide What Kind of Job You Want?

For those fortunate people who have skills, experience, and education in a variety of areas, and who live in areas that offer a plethora of job opportunities, one of the more difficult tasks is determining just what kind of job they want. After all, if one has a very particular degree and job experience, such as in engineering, it can be hard to branch out into too many disciplines (especially those that are not at all related). However, a variety of personal strengths can lead to a virtual bouquet of options. And while this seems like a good thing at first, the problem is that job hunting is a very difficult and time-consuming task; some amount of focus is critical. So, the first step is to decide what kind of job you want.

Choosing a Job

First, think about the jobs you've had until this point in your life. Which ones have made you the happiest across the board? Take into account all aspects of the jobs, from getting there in the morning to coming home at night. Think about how you felt on the worst days you ever spent there, as it's better to err on the side of reality instead of nostalgic wishes. Once you've allowed yourself some time to think and feel about your past jobs, make a list of these jobs, ideally divided into categories of type (e.g. office-related jobs, manual labor jobs, home-based versus office-based jobs, and so forth).

Next, you need to think about your current situation. It is possible that the job you liked best when you were twenty years old probably wouldn't suit you now that you are forty. It's possible that while you liked to dress up and go to the office while you lived in Manhattan, it's less attractive now that you live on a farm in the country. Think about all the trivial, and not-so-trivial, aspects of your life that might impact upon the kind of job that would fit into that life, and take another look at your list. Cross out those jobs that, while they appealed once, certainly don't work for you now.

Then extrapolate off of the jobs which you have on your list. This means, let your mind go from the specific things you've already done to related jobs, and even careers, which perhaps you've never explored. Allow yourself to be as creative as possible, and even brainstorm with friends and family at this stage in the game. For example, if you spent a large part of your time at your last job planning fundraisers, and loved doing it, could this be the primary focus of your next job? If you are a good writer, could you think of all the ways in which you could make use of this talent? Surfing the web can also help you find all sorts of creative ways you can put your experience and skills to work for you.

Finally, of all the possibilities you've come up with, cross off any that simply aren't realistic (such as being the CEO of a multinational corporation within the next year). What you have left should be a good start for focusing your job hunt and getting you closer to working at the job you really want.