Join Our Mailing List
651-789-8518 Donate

Yes, you are supposed to love what you do for a living. You’re going to spend about eight hours a day doing it, so it makes sense to be sure you’ve made a wise choice.

Is every minute of a good job going to be enjoyable? That’s an unrealistic expectation. Most of the time, though, you should end the day feeling like you accomplished something. Here’s how to connect with a career you love.

Set Your Expectations

Forbes magazine says that searching for a job or career you love is a lot like searching for the person you’ll marry. We create the perfect life partner in our mind and then we project this unrealistic concept onto the person we choose. Statistics show that at least 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, and the most common reason given is that their spouse turned out not to be who they thought.

The same thing can happen with jobs and careers when we are attracted by the surface value of a company instead of looking much deeper. One of the first things we’ll do is read a job description and start thinking about how we can recreate our skills and talents to fit the role. We end up presenting a version of ourselves that’s not true only to apply for a job that’s attracted our attention because of a snazzy website and some good copywriting.

Job Divorce

Ultimately, one of the partners in this relationship is going to be unsatisfied, and like many marriages, the reason will be, “You’ve changed.” Or, “You’re not who I thought you would be.”

Forbes advises to spend more time understanding your own likes and dislikes, and less time projecting a romantic idea on employers or industries. Sure, who wouldn’t want to have a life like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos? But besides what you see about them online, what do you really know about the automotive industry or internet retailing?

Do the homework on these companies and industries and do the homework on yourself. Once you understand the non-romanticized version of a company or industry, is it still a match for the real you? Career-centric website TheBalanceCareers.com reminds us that interviewing works both ways. That’s a key part of landing a job, and it’s your opportunity to ask your own questions. Many job experts say that exploring your own curiosity about a potential job opportunity is a sign to employers that you are an above-average candidate.

Understand Yourself First

Making sure a job or a career is a good fit starts by thinking of what motivates and satisfies you. Explore opportunities that match what you like, and what you’re good at. A growing number of young adults, as well as experienced jobseekers looking for a new career, are taking a closer look at the benefits and opportunities of jobs in the trades. Besides great pay, travel and getting to work with your hands, a career in the trades is a way to sidestep the expensive cost of a traditional four-year college degree.

Think a career in the trades might be right for you? Take our quiz and find out!