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Why You Really Ought to Want to Love Your Work

Career Exploration Steps to Find Work You Love


So often in life, people seem to fall into jobs because one was handy or available at the right moment. Maybe you started in one position with a company hoping to move into something you liked better later. Maybe you started life as a teacher and continued to teach out of inertia or because you had so many years invested in the retirement system.

No matter your current position, every once in awhile, it's time to assess whether the career you have created is the best career for you. Recognizing that there are certain economic and social realities, think about where you'd really like to spend the time of your life. These steps will help you explore and find work you really love.

Spend Some Thinking Time to Know Yourself

Take time on your vacation or on a long weekend to devote exclusively to thinking about your work and career. Ask yourself some tough questions. Do you get to do what you like to do at work every day? Does your job match your values and make a difference? Do you make the money you need to achieve your goals?

Does your career provide the work-life balance you desire? Do you love your work or is there another type of work you'd prefer? Be honest with yourself and if you answer these questions negatively, it's time to explore further.

One exercise that I have found particularly useful is to write down everything you want to do, accomplish, see, try, visit, and so on. If your current career will allow you to accomplish these goals, okay. But it's not okay, if you don't have a shot at getting what you want from life.

Read Career Books and Do the Exercises

Here are several excellent career exploration books. Take time to read several of the books and do the exercises recommended by the authors. Think of it as guided career exploration to discover work you will love.

Take Career Assessments to Find Work You Love

The Web provides an excellent opportunity to take online career assessments to identify your strengths and explore your needs. Purchasing the book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, also provides an access code to an online assessment called StrengthsFinder.com, which is useful.

Several sources of career assessments you might want to explore to learn about yourself include these. You can pursue these assessments on your own or you can consider talking with a career professional.

Additionally, Quint Careers provides an Online Career Assessment Tools Review that will help you select the best career assessment tools.

Talk to a Career Professional to Find Work You Love

As you begin to zero in on anything from a potential new career to a slight change in your current one, you may want to talk with a person who is skilled and knowledgeable about careers. About's Career Planning site provides help in finding and choosing a career professional.

A career professional can help you organize the data you have gathered about yourself and potential careers. He or she can help you identify careers that require the strengths you have identified and the needs you have articulated. He or she can also recommend other assessments and help you make your plan to identify work you love.

Select Your Goals and Make Your Plan to Find Work You Love

I am a big believer in plans. Plans help you move from having a dream to really accomplishing the changes you desire. The more specifically you can detail the steps that will move you from where you are to where you want to be, the better your chances are for success. My article, The Awesome Power of Goal Setting — Ten Tips for Triumph, will also help you with this process.

Get Started on Finding Work You Love

Now is the time to get started. If you want to love your work, you need to select the career you've dreamed of having. Or, you need to make adjustments in your current work so you get more out of your current work.

At the very least, you need to get started on the plan that will eventually result in the life and work choices you want. First, you have to figure out what they are. Then, if you really want to love your work, you need to take the first steps and just get started. I know you'll be happy you did.

Finding work you love will make all the difference in the quality of your overall life. When you consider the time you invest in work, the importance of your happiness with your work choice cannot be overestimated. Find work you love.

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