At some stage of our life, we all face questions of vocation vs profession, calling vs vocation and get stressed out about it.
- What is the difference between a job and a career?
- How can I define myself?
- Should I be job oriented or career-oriented?
- Is job satisfaction so important?
- How to find my passion and make it my job?
The problem is most career coaches rely on career questionaries and psychological personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Such tests are supposed to identify the professional roles that fit who you are and what background you have.
But in fact, they are both informative and entertaining and are oriented on self-discovery rather than on giving proper information about various jobs and how suitable they are for a specific person.
The strategy described below is a powerful tool for defining yourself on your career path. It will save a lot of your time and effort, as well as mental and physical health — Just 3 practical steps to find your calling and make it your job.
I wish I knew it before starting my first job!
How To Define Yourself? Act, Not Observe
There are two ways to explore different professional roles: active and passive. And if you don’t combine both, it is so easy to get trapped.
- Passive Search — Surf the net, read articles, watch day in life YouTube videos to see how people do their jobs. Try to understand if you want to do this kind of job or not.
- Active Search — Try to do the job people of the professional role do.
Passive search resembles never-ending exhausting preparation for the life of your dreams and eventually leads to apathy, depletion, and unwillingness to do anything. Such behavior breaks our dopamine drive – and the dopamine does double duty in motivating cognitive effort.
It works like this:
the higher the level of dopamine → the greater the desire to try something new → we try something new → it gives us a new portion of dopamine.
Thus, it’s a closed-loop, where one gives the other.
And it would work great if the human hadn’t learned to get dopamine in a cheap way – through the screen: we get the same novelty, pleasure, dopamine…without making any effort.
Why Is it a Bad Strategy?
- Trap 1 — We get dopamine only while watching a video.
As soon as you turn it off and want to start taking action, the only thing you can see is a long way of effort ahead with a vague and unsure result. Eventually, our drive falls to 0, and we think: «It’s a really good thing that I’ve watched it, now I can be sure I’m not good enough for this job».
- Trap 2 — “I will watch it motivate myself and after that, I will begin”
Do not confuse the pleasure of observing someone else’s work with your motivation to act.
What is a Better Strategy?
Alternate the passive and active search: study → create → study → create.
The first attempts will probably be awkward, ridiculous, but… they will guide us in the right direction.
So, any career exploration must be efficient, aimed at creation and action, not only at observation and consumption.
3 Steps Finding Your Passion and Make It Your Job
When you find your passion, it gives you an endless source of energy, power, courage, bravery, and ideas – a perfect set to do your job in the best way.
In order to find your calling and vacation, you just need to take 3 easy steps:
- Step 1 — Determine Your Work Identity.
- Step 2 — Choose the Sector and The Role.
- Step 3 — Do Gap Analysis.
STEP 1 — Determine Your Work Identity
This step consists of four aspects:
To know your mission implies to define how you want to influence the world, what problems you want to solve.
How to determine your mission?
a) Start Small
Try to observe — what attracts you when you have some free time, what do you usually do when you are on your own.
Ask and answer the right questions:
- If you surf Facebook, what specifically catches your eye?
- What news do you discuss with your friends?
- When you are falling asleep, what are you thinking about?
- If you didn’t have to work, what would you do?
b) Don’t Try to Find a Life-long Mission
There is no point in choosing one exact mission for the rest of your life.
Life is too unpredictable and diverse, so don’t fixate on one opportunity only.
It is a trap: if you try to determine your ultimate mission, it takes a much longer time and bigger effort. What is a way better is to accept different aspects of your personality and start testing and experimenting.
Look for what is relevant to you NOW.
Test and try:
I’m kind of interested in this topic. What can I do to try to work in this area?
Define yourself for TODAY – you don’t have to do the same at 60.
c) Focus on Transferrable Skills
These are the skills that can be applied to different missions and solutions to various problems.
(For example, social media skills or content making skills can be used in lots of other industries apart from blogging and media).
Having some transferrable skills in store reduces the fear of making mistakes and adds confidence. Even if you decide to change your career, you can be sure that all the knowledge and skills you have been gaining for 10 years won’t be wasted – on the contrary, they will become a part of your new mission.
2) Skills and Qualifications
First, make a list of your strengths, skills, and qualifications.
After that, separate the ones you really LIKE to use. Cross out the things you do well but can’t stand to apply.
Think about the tasks you’ve already done in your studies or work – which of them did you enjoy?
Compare the opposites — do you like to come up with new solutions and products, to deal with uncertainty, or do you prefer having a fixed plan and follow to step by step?
Do you like technical and analytical tasks or do you enjoy speaking in front of a large audience?
3) Work Culture
The most common reason people leave a job is because the work culture is not suitable for them.
And, on the contrary, if it coincides, you will never have stress, and will always be able to work effectively.
Work culture includes:
a) The Type of People in the Company
It’s important to understand what type of companies work in a company. LinkedIn is the best tool for you to find out who the current and past employees of the company are. Also, make sure to review Glassdoor reviews to find more about the leadership culture.
b) The Type of Work Process Control
In some companies, it is strictly regulated: there is a person, which controls your work, or an instruction you have to follow.
In other companies, they just give you a task, set a direction and let you choose and decide how to achieve the goal.
c) Organization Structure
Is it a large well-established company with a clear division of responsibilities or a startup, where everyone is responsible for everything and for nothing, and you always have to put out fires because there are not enough people?
d) Identity of the Company
A company’s prestige, brand name – does it affect your self-esteem?
For some, it is incredibly important (especially if you are not self-confident enough and your self-awareness grows from the name of the company, in which you work).
e) The Office Type
Does the working environment suit you?
Do you like open spaces or a closed room better corresponds to your working identity?
f) The Work Dynamics
Some people prefer regularity in their tasks, the others want to do something new, as they get bored doing similar tasks.
What about deadlines? Is it better for you to have a lot of step-by-step deadlines, or you are stressed out because of them?
Read more about the differences between a tight and loose company culture to determine the perfect option for you.
4) Personal Requirements and Needs
This aspect includes salary, insurance, transportation to work, location, the ability to move to another office (in another city or country). Also, if you are planning a family or children, what are the conditions for mothers, is there an ability to work flexitime?
What’s the point to consider so many details?
Thinking through your working identity gives you the questions to ask your prospective employer.
It builds up your self-confidence — When you don’t have any questions your thoughts are like:
- What will I ask?
- What are we going to talk about?
- I’d better not email anyone at all.
When you know your working identity, you know your own requirements, admit your skills and value your work.
This is a healthy, responsible approach to career search.
STEP 2 — Choose The Sector and The Role
See the difference between the role (your function, position) and the sector (industry).
It is possible to implement your mission both in the role and in the industry.
For example, if your passion is education, you can have:
- An educational role in the educational industry (a teacher at school)
- An educational role in a non-educational industry (a teacher on YouTube or a corporate teacher at oil and gas company)
- A non-educational role in the educational industry (a developer of an educational platform or a promoter of educational projects).
Thus, working at school as a teacher is far from being the only way to implement your educational mission.
How to Find All Roles and Sectors Suitable for Your Working Identity?
- Visit a career service website of some university and choose the school you’re interested in. All possible roles for the graduates of each school are usually listed on their websites.
- LinkedIn — Check up the career paths of the graduates from university programs similar to yours or your school graduates. Find their professional roles and companies they worked for. These are the prospective job opportunities you could even not know about.
- Job search websites — Choose 3 jobs you like, even if they do not correspond to your current qualifications. It makes you understand what experience and knowledge you lack to get your perfect job.
- Informational interview — Consider it as an opportunity to know the decision-makers and pitfalls, but never expect to find a job through an informational interview. This format is for collecting the necessary data only. When you ask people to tell you about their career, achievements, path, they really like it and usually agree. You can arrange an informational interview as a call, a meeting, an email, or a video call.
Here are some basic rules to have a successful informational interview:
- Be super prepared to LEAD the meeting.
- Make a list of questions to discuss.
- Research what a person or the company does.
- Keep track of time. Don’t take more time than requested.
- Offer your help in the end.
- Check up more advice on how to Speed up Your Job Search with an Informational Interview.
STEP 3 — Do Gap Analysis
After you’ve done proper research on all possible roles that suit your working identity, it’s time to analyze the gap between the necessary skills and qualifications and the ones you already have.
The best way to do it is to make a table with two columns:
- The required skills and qualifications;
- Tick the skills and qualifications you have.
Then, switch your strategical thinking on and make a plan: how and where to get all the lacking points.
Job-Oriented VS Career-Oriented — Which One Are You?
While “work-oriented” meaning is still pretty vague, vacation vs profession and calling vs vocation are well-explained.
Is it better to be job-oriented or career-oriented?
Definitely, it’s up to you.
But when making your decision, bear the next facts in mind:
- Numerous research prove that job satisfaction has a positive and significant relationship with employee performance
- Interest in work is essential for job satisfaction of 60% of American employees.
What makes you completely satisfied: being job-oriented or career-oriented? What makes YOU happy?
Additional Questions to Ask
1) When Should I Define Myself?
Education for the sake of education does not make any sense.
Education must solve a specific problem, have a clear goal.
That’s why you should first define your up-to-date working identity and after that go to university, take a course, or start learning in any other way.
Determine the gap between «where I have to be» and «where I am now» and make your education reasoned and conscious.
2) What Is the Difference Between a Job and a Career?
A job is something you do for money, it’s usually short-term and offers not many networking opportunities.
A career is focused on building up your skills and knowledge in order to move up the career ladder to higher salaries and more prestigious positions.
3) What should I start with to define myself?
Try and experiment.
If you are in the process of defining your working identity, role, and industry, remember that YOU CAN’T IMAGINE YOUR PERFECT JOB.
If you think that you can’t define yourself, answer this question: «What have you already tried to do?»
You need to try. Try something. Let it be your first, second, third failure… but eventually, you will find your passion.
Right now — Write a List of 10 Things You Want to Try Doing This Year.
And start today.
Click here to find out how to set and achieve life goals .