by Dustin (bio)
NOTE: This is the first in a series of posts that piece together things I've learned over the last eight years of using my life like a lab rat to figure out the question "what should I do with my life?" This series is aimed at those who are exploring career, looking to change jobs, or who are simply searching for more happiness in their daily work regardless of what that work entails.
|Image by Thomas Leuthard|
This time of year makes me nauseous, mostly because I have flashbacks to my time as a graduating senior from BYU-Idaho almost 10 years ago. For some, graduation was an epic day because they transitioned smoothly into ready-made jobs with benefits. For me, an educational drifter who dabbled in seven majors in college, graduation marked the end of procrastinating one big, universal question -- what should I do with my life?
I graduated in public relations and spent one year in a job that drained my energy before I abruptly quit and devoted the next eight years to figuring out how to figure out what to do with my life and find more joy from 8am-5pm. I worked 8 jobs in 6 states in those eight years including stints as an alarm system salesman, corporate relations specialist, large appliance delivery man, program adviser at a university, community service intern, and a leadership development coordinator. I interviewed more than 200 people, read countless books and articles, and researched career exploration like it was my job. From all of this, two things happened: 1) I found a dream job that I get paid above average to do and 2) I figured out how to figure it out. I put everything I learned into a massive 98-page Google doc on my Gmail account and have spent the last few years teaching the concepts to every person who would listen, particularly to college kids at UNLV and Rice, to do my part to alleviate world suffering and global warming. I've coached hundreds of people through career exploration and believe the things I've learned in my journey can blow the lid off choosing a best-fit career and enjoying what you do. In this series of posts, I'll start with some basic things you need to know to figure it out. I'll then give three simple strategies to get you started. If after all this you need more help let me know by contacting me at dustin (at) petersonleadership (dot) com. No spam or Canadian drug offers, please. I am, however, open to wire transferring money to Nigerian kings or old ladies with big inheritances.
Know This First
It's important to understand at the outset that when people tell you to "just do what you love" they are both right and wrong. Yes, you should pursue something you love because you are more invested in things you love and you get more return on your investment. Think puppies. Or your family. But they may be wrong in suggesting that if you love singing you should be a singer. Or if you love basketball you should head for the NBA. I made the mistake of charting a course to a career in professional basketball that ended when I was 14 and got cut in tryouts. I didn't get far. All my life when people suggested I should just do what I love for a living I poo-pooed them, feeling like I had missed my calling in basketball and was forever doomed to just work out the rest of my days in job purgatory. "Well, if I failed at doing what I love I guess I should fall back into line with the day laborers."