I’ve heard it said that when trying to find that perfect career in life, you should picture what hobby you’d have if you won the lottery and weren’t required to work, and then do that. That sounds great, but many of us don’t have the talent required to make a living at fly fishing or training cats for a fire jumping circus, so how is the average American supposed to find her calling? There are a few places to start.
Narrow Down Your Interests
The U.S. Department of Labor sponsored O*Net has a handy, user friendly profiler tool that allows you to narrow down your interests into career fields that might be right for you. It only takes a few minutes to complete the questions, and when you’re done, you’ll have a customized list of careers broken down into the preparation level needed, known as “job zones.” Zone 1 requires no job preparation, were as job zone 2 requires some preparation, and so forth up to zone 5. For instance, based on your answers, zone 2’s top suggestion might be a dental lab technician, while zone 5 recommends a variety of career fields in teaching.
Sell, Sell, Sell…
Some people actually do have the skills to make money at their hobbies, but it can be challenging to set aside a job earning steady income to start up a new business doing something you aren’t sure will catch on with consumers. There is a way around this. Start that Etsy page showcasing your handmade zombie dolls and hamster wheels while you still have your day job. If your video blog for dog costume conspiracy theories gets sponsorship, you can always go full time later. You’re already setting time aside for the things you’re passionate about, there’s no harm in seeing if you can make a living at it.
Dress to Impress
Finally, it might sound trite, but if you love the job you’re in and hope to move up the ladder, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. That means ditching the jeans in favor of some dress pants. It also means rising above your job description to become a leader among your coworkers. Address questions if you know the answers and volunteer to work on your days off. If your efforts seem to go unnoticed, try applying for jobs in other departments, or with other companies who have room for you to grow.
Find a career that doesn’t make you dream about winning the lottery, work at one that makes you feel like you already have.