… most people ask:
- What job should I do?
- What job should I get?
- What job makes the most money?
- What job is right for me?
- What job should I have?
- What job is best for me?
- What job suits me best?
…instead you should be asking:
- What do you want to be doing in life?
- What kind of work do you want to be doing?
- What job will you enjoy doing?
- What is your ideal case scenario?
- Doing what will not feel like work at all, but bring your financial resources?
- What type of activity can you do better than anyone else?
- What are you good at?…
Follow my thought process, as I answer these questions for myself.
1. Define Your Strengths
If you are in your mid-late 20th you better be knowing what you are good at and where you can improve. I don’t ask you to name your purpose in life. Just tell me, what is it that you think you might be good at? What do other people say?
Meet with your close friend for a coffee, call your family and ask: What do you think I am good at? What are my strengths? The people you ask should’ve known you for at least five years, to give you useful feedback. Don’t forget to inquire about your weaknesses. What are the things that you suck at? Don’t limit your research to only a close group of people. Ask your ex(s) if you can. Ask your boss. How about the people you went to school with? Ask them too.
I keep a strategic list of my core strengths. Asking my friends, family and co-workers had helped me to recognize some of my strengths and weaknesses I was blind to.
- Ex-girlfriend: You don’t give up. You always find the way.
- A former classmate (friend): You are committed (dedicated, loyal). Commitment is your strength.
- Mom: Calmness and perseverance.
- Dad: Genuine and open. Weaknesses become your strengths.
- Brother: Mindful, caring, hard-working.
- Former manager: You are a smart guy. You have the ability to sit down and attack the problem methodically over an extended period of time. You are able to dig into details — that’s your strength.
Three pillars that make me who I am. Once identified yours, build on them. Your ideal job will allow you to apply your best skills and qualities.
My mind is very analytical and analyzes everything. I ALWAYS analyze. It is my strength and also my weakness. I feel good analyzing and finding the hidden things based on my analyses. I have the ability to dig into the root cause of things. My power is to throw myself into something and analyze the crap out of it. I strive to understand, I want to know.
I take the analysis a bit further. Documenting and writing about my experiences is a process of analysis. Whenever I face the obstacle or get consumed by a daemon, I always find a way by analyzing. I can analyze the crap out of anything. Analysis sets me free from my misbeliefs or things that don’t serve me. If you can analyze the situation — you can act on it.
I have developed extraordinary discipline. Such discipline allows me to work methodically, day after day, step by step. I have the ability to sit down and attack the problem consistently over an extended period of time. This is my superpower. I realize that not every person can do that — methodically and consistently hitting the same goal and not giving up. I have developed into the sharpest tool which can crack anything. If I commit, be sure I will have enough discipline to complete the task and keep the promise. Day in — day out.
I look straight and don’t blink. My eyes are the eyes of the hunter. I am calm. I am cold-blooded.
2. Look Back
Go back in memory and pull up the jobs you’ve done in the past. What are those? What did you like doing? What aspects drove you crazy? Make a list, similar to mine:
- Office gym
- Plenty of time to myself
- Feeling useful when helping others to solve their problems
- Learning new things and systems
- Feeling useless when things were going slow
- Limited/No growth opportunities. Knowing that it was a contract job, I could never get promoted
- Having to deal with some people I didn’t like
- Low salary. Barely making the ends meet
- The monotony of everyday office life
Self-Driving Car Reliability and Test Engineer
- Constant learning. Everything was always changing and evolving. I had to adapt
- Freedom to choose the projects to work on
- A Flexible schedule. Being able to combine my triathlon training and work
- Great management
- Travel. Frequent business travels
- Very good salary and bonuses
- Working with smart, very intelligent people
- The feeling of being a part of something big and great
- The fact that I was developing the cars that drive themselves
- Lack of clear directions and expectations
- Fear of losing the job
- Daily long and boring meetings
- Reporting on the job I’ve done. Detailed, granular reports
- Corporate politics and rules. Facing misunderstandings and always being very careful with what you say and do. Race, gender, sexual orientation etc. Behind the scenes of the managerial world. Fights for power, Gossips.
Based on the brain vomit above, what do you value the most?
Comes from a flexible schedule and the ability to choose the projects to work on. Also, remote work is a must.
I perceive money as freedom. Those are synonyms to me.
- Sense of Belonging
Working on something big. Working on something in a team with others. Working on things, which I believe have the potential to impact the world.
I Struggle When
- I don’t feel secure at my job. The fear of losing income gives a lot of stress and anxiety. That’s the common theme.
- The job is too easy and things are slow.
- I don’t have a clear sense of direction and expectations are not clearly defined.
- Monetary compensation does not seem to match the effort I put into my work.
3. Look Forward
Goals, goals… blah blah. I know, I am sick of this word myself. All I want you to do here is just answer this question: What do you want? In terms of job and employment, what kind of work do you want to be doing? Based on your strengths and preferences, formulate exactly what you want to be doing. What kind of work will make you happy
Ask the right questions
- What kind of work do you think you would enjoy doing?
- How much money would you like to make?
- How many hours a week do you want to work?
- Are you comfortable working from the office or you need flexibility and freedom of remote employment?
- What about the benefits?
- Would you care if there were none?
- Do you want to stay in the field or you want to try yourself at something new?
If you get stuck, these were my answers:
I want a job, where I can utilize my analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. Any kind of data analysis, preferably in the sphere of business and investments. I want to make at least $100K a year. I don’t care if I get paid bi-weekly, monthly or annually. This amount of money will allow me to support my basic needs, travel and use the rest towards other businesses and ventures. Benefits are preferred (especially dental), however, the absence of them is not the deal-breaker. I want to have a flexible schedule. This will allow me to balance my training and other pursuits with work. Remote work — is a must, to live the lifestyle I wish. To be able to work from anywhere in the world. I want to be doing work, which won’t feel like work because I enjoy it.
There are a lot of other things that would be “nice to have”, however, those are not mission-critical. Freedom, meaningful work to do, financial resources. By meaningful work I mean to be doing the work of your calling. The job that you can do better than anyone else. Finding your “special sauce” and monetizing it, while bringing the value to the world.
Great! What you just spilled out is a long-term vision. You will get there, but not tomorrow or even the next week. The next week though, you will have to pay the bills and get groceries to eat. Therefore, let’s step down a level and ask the same “What do you want?” from the short-term perspective. This changes things up a bit and my answer would be this:
You need to create a stream of income that will allow you to live life on your terms. You need to cover the basic financial needs before you aim for the stars. You can not dream and think straight when your stomach is asking for food. You can not live in a shithole and convince yourself that this is your dream life. Well… you can, to a certain degree. Close your eyes on the bad stuff and look the other way. However, you can full others, but not yourself. If you don’t like your living situation, frustration will accumulate over time until you explode. To create, you need to be fed and comfortable. It is hard to create something meaningful in desperation and anger. I am not a very big fan of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but it might be appropriate to include it here. Cover your basic needs first.
4. Jobs that fit
There are thousands of different jobs that could potentially be a good fit for you. A good fit is when the job requirements fit your strengths while remaining challenging and stimulate personal growth. What kind of jobs would that be? I don’t have the answer, but Google does. Look over the posted job requirements and compare them to what you’ve got. Also, don’t limit yourself to the skills that you currently possess. If the job demands a certain skill or knowledge that you don’t have but would like to learn — that’s your job. Below is what I found to be a good fit for myself, at least in theory.
Average salary: $129,806
You’ll need specific training and computer language competencies, but it doesn’t hurt to have an advanced degree in math, statistics, engineering or computer science. Data scientists use computing frameworks to analyze large, raw data sets and develop actionable insights in a variety of industries. The non-technical aspect of data science is storytelling — what is the data telling us?
Average salary: $102,734
This is a risk management role that uses statistical models to assess the risk and cost that comes with potential events, such as death, accidents or property damage. Actuary jobs require professional certification.
Average salary: $102,936 (Senior Level)
Senior business analysts collect data in order to understand the challenges and needs of a business. The role is very collaborative, and you’ll be working with managers across the organization to implement best practices and ensure the recommendations are working. Serious problem-solving skills and good time-management is a must. Also, your communication skills need to be on point; you’ll be writing a lot of proposals and working with managers and their teams on various projects. Any work experience in management, human resources or information technology will increase your value.
Estimated salary: $119,289 (Senior Level)
A product manager is charged with managing product oversight — from concept to production. While senior product managers should have extensive experience in business and commerce, you don’t need an M.B.A. You should, however, demonstrate familiarity with technical processes, as well as acumen with business and marketing. Information Security Consultant
Estimated salary: $123,039 (Senior Level)
This role is responsible for a business’s network security and remediation strategies. Primary duties include performing risk assessments (via IT audits and penetration testing), as well as helping the business meet compliance obligations. How to get the job: While certification isn’t required, it helps to have relevant licenses in CISS, CEH/OSCP, CISA, CIA, QSA, CISM, IRCA and ISMS. Highlight your past experience in IT security (e.g., penetration testing, audit, assessment and compliance).
Average Salary: $60,517 (+ bonuses)
Investment analysts collect information, perform research and analyze assets, such as stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities. Investment analysts often focus on specific niches to become experts in their chosen fields, such as a particular industry, a geographical region or a specific asset class.
Hey, wait! It is important at this point to remind yourself that those jobs are only short-term to provide you with a cash flow NOW. You have to create a cash flow to support yourself and your lifestyle now, so you can plan ahead and build a foundation for something greater. Your goal here is not to build a career, but to create a steady income while living the life on your terms.
Alright, with that being clear, let’s get back to the jobs we identified that you might like doing. What’s the next step? Don’t rush to sending your resume all over the places that hire those types of professionals. In my next post, I’ll share my approach to contacting people and companies. It’s not just uploading the Resume and hitting “Send”. Stay tuned.