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How to Find a Career That Is Right For You

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How to Find a Career That Is Right For You

There are thousands of careers to choose from. No wonder finding the one that’s right for you can feel like a guessing game.

Choosing or changing careers can be scary. Even if it’s right for you now, you might wonder, who says it’ll still be a fit in the future?

The truth is, you have to start somewhere. Whether you’re looking for a first job out of college or need a new career, follow this process to find the right one for you:

1. List Out Careers You Could Pursue

It sounds simple, but it’s good advice: Start with what you like. Even before you begin looking for the right career, you probably have an idea of what you’re interested in.

Next, make a second list, this one including your strengths. If you aren’t sure whether you’re actually good at something, ask someone close to you who’ll give you a truthful answer.

Once your lists are made, cross-reference them: What do you like to do and do well?

In a third list, rank these. If you’re skilled at something you don’t particularly like, for instance, that should fall lower on the list.

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2. Take a Career Assessment

Standardized tests shouldn’t make decisions for you, but they can get you pointed in the right direction. Career assessment tests gauge your abilities and interests and make recommendations for career paths based on the answers you give.[1]

Before reviewing your results, take a break. Getting some perspective can help you see whether your answers were guided by your mood. Look at the percentage match and ask yourself whether you could see yourself doing the work of the career or role every day.

For example, if your responses emphasized helping others, the test might point you to a medical career. However, if you don’t want to work in a hospital or clinical environment, you might cut that option or place it lower on your list.

3. Sweat the Details

Every career has gratifying and frustrating things about it. Before you choose one, you need to be clear on those. Reading reviews and job descriptions you find related to each career, make a list of its pros and cons.

There are a lot of factors to think through. Key questions to ask yourself include:

  • What are the hours required by this type of work? Can they be flexible?
  • What skills are required? Do I possess them, or would I be willing to learn them?
  • What are the education requirements? Can I afford to go back to school?
  • How much do jobs in the field pay? Is the payscale top-heavy or evenly distributed?
  • What does job growth in this sector look like? Are they traditional or contracted roles?
  • Are opportunities in the field available in my area? If not, would I be willing to move?
  • Would I be working solo or on a team?

In answering these questions, you’ll find yourself crossing a lot of careers off your list. Remember, that’s a good thing: You’d rather find out a career isn’t right for you now than after you’ve put yourself on that path.

4. Find the Sweet Spot

The crux of the career question is this: What’s the “sweet spot” between your interests and strengths and the market’s needs? The greater the overlap, the better.

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Be warned that you’ll have to compromise. Perhaps you enjoy working with animals, but there’s no demand for that line of work in your area. You might be good at math, but you wouldn’t want to crunch numbers in a cubicle for a living. Finding balance is crucial.

5. Start Networking

What’s the best way to get the real story about the careers you’re interested in? Talking to professionals in the field.

Where should you find these people?

  • Reach out to local businesses.
  • Scour your social media networks, particularly LinkedIn.
  • Ask a past employer for recommendations.
  • Sign up for industry events and conferences.

Schedule a short interview with each of your new connections. Ask them to weigh in on the comments you see online. Every role and company is a bit different, so don’t be surprised if their responses don’t align.

Regardless of who you find or what they say, write it down. If one interviewee’s responses differ wildly from online responses, chat with someone else in the field. Do your best to find out what’s the rule and what’s the exception.

6. Shadow and Volunteer

As valuable as networking can be, you need a firsthand glimpse of the work. If you hit it off with one of your interviewees, ask to do some job shadowing. Sitting beside someone as they work can help you understand not just the pay and the responsibilities but also the culture and work environment associated with each career.

Job shadowing is a good way to get your feet wet before taking a career plunge. If you felt uninterested or unhappy during your shadowing experience, it’s a good sign that you should ponder a different career path. If your shadowing experience made you want to come back for more, you may have found your calling.

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Volunteer work is an alternative to job shadowing that can get you the experience you need as you analyze your career options. As a volunteer, you can be more flexible with your time and get opportunities you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

7. Sign Up for Classes

Many careers have an academic component that you can’t ignore. If you decide you want to be a lawyer, for instance, you might want to know you can survive law school first.

Sign up for an introductory class or two related to each career you’re interested in. The earlier you do this, the better. If you’re still in college, the class will count as an elective and may be covered by your scholarship, but if not, look for a community college option to keep costs low.

Taking a single class is not the same as earning a degree in the field. With that said, it’s a good way to test the waters before you invest thousands of dollars.

If the content interests you and you look forward to class each week, that’s a good sign. If you start dreading the class or choose to drop it, focus your attention elsewhere.

8. Enter the Gig Economy

Contracted work is a great “try it before you buy it” career tactic. Skipping to an entry-level role requires more commitment than you might want to give while you’re still investigating your options. The gig economy offers the best of both worlds: paid work as well as flexibility.[2]

Gig workers take work from companies or individuals that do not directly employ them. Plumbers and artists are good examples. Rather than receiving a regular paycheck, they sell their services by the task or deliverable.

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In the gig economy, you aren’t bound by long-term agreements. If you don’t like the experience, you can simply move on.

You never know if you’ll enjoy something until you try it. And because contractors work with professionals in the field, gig workers naturally get networking and shadowing opportunities.

9. Market Yourself

As you zero in on your dream career, there’s one final test you can use to find out whether you’ll be successful: marketing yourself as a candidate for hire. Whether you get bites is a key indicator of how you’ll fare in the field.

Beware that, as someone without much experience in the field, you’re going to get a lot of rejections. Don’t be discouraged. If you get two interviews out of 50 applications, think of it as two opportunities you didn’t have before to find your ideal career.

Just as important as outreach is a good inbound strategy. Set up a website, and post your portfolio on it. Describe your dream job on your social media.

Recruiters are constantly on the lookout for candidates that fit their company. The more exposure you get, the more people will be interested in what you have to offer. Put yourself out there, and you just might find the perfect fit.

Don’t Give Up!

Nobody ever said it was easy to find a career that’s right for you. Finding one is tough enough, and even then, you may find yourself looking for a new field ten years into your career.

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Whatever you want from your professional life, you have to be willing to put in the time. Don’t hesitate, and don’t give up. Start your search today.

More Tips on How to Find a Career

Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

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Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

Short on Time? 4 Time Hacks to Get Your Schedule Under Control Manifestation is a hot topic in this ever-growing personal-development-conscious world and culture we live in. Some people see manifestation as a woo woo, hyper-spiritual practice that focuses on bringing into your life that you energetically align with. Others view manifestation as a result of hard work and extreme action. Manifestation = the fruits of your labor. Still, many fall somewhere in between. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, there are a few practical, actionable steps you can take in order to manifest anything you want. Keep on reading to learn how to do that. 5 Steps on How to Manifest Anything You Want Seek Clarity The first step in the manifestation process is seeking clarity. Whether you see it as a spiritual or actionable process, the core concept remains the same: you bring what you desire into your life. If you’re not clear on that, then how can you expect to manifest it? That would be like taking a road trip, hoping to end up in a specific destination, but refusing to define where it is. It doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense, does it? Well, if you’re hoping to manifest a specific outcome but don’t know what it is, how will you ever know if you’ve manifested it? By seeking clarity, you gain direction. You take the guesswork out of wondering if you have manifested your desire and provide a clear target. Furthermore, it allows you to eliminate distractions and focus your attention on the desired outcome. Your reticular activating system (RAS), a part of your brain that acts as a filter, will start to hone in on the information that is relevant to your goal and discard the information that is not. By being crystal clear on what you’d like to manifest, you’re letting your brain run in the background while you’re consciously putting in the work. Align With Your Goal It’s all good and well to sit down and create a list of the things you’d like to manifest. However, if you’re not aligned with the steps required to make it happen, your list essentially becomes a wishlist. If you truly want to understand how to manifest anything you want, you have to understand alignment. Alignment means ensuring that your morals, values, ethics, and energy are in line with your desired results. For example, if you would like to manifest a million dollars but think that money is the root of all evil, you are not in alignment with what you’d like to manifest. Similarly, let’s say that you want to have a better, healthier body. If you are not mentally and emotionally prepared to put in the amount of work and effort required to achieve your desired outcome, you won’t realize it. So, in order to manifest something in your life, you have to make sure that you are in alignment with your goals first. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself disappointed, lacking the motivation, or self-sabotaging in your pursuit. Hold the Belief One of the biggest mistakes I see when people are trying to manifest something in their lives is not holding a belief. Would they love to realize a dream? Absolutely! But do they actually believe that they can? Uh, no! That’s the problem. When you seek manifestation in life, you must believe that it is actually possible to happen. Now, to be clear, I am not saying that you should only attempt to manifest things that you are 100% certain you can do. Manifestation, just like goal achievement, is a process of growth. You should become a more evolved version of yourself in order to manifest what you desire. There should be a certain level of uncomfortability that exists when deciding on what you’d like to manifest. But you can still be confident in yourself to show up and do the necessary work to see your goals occur while also feeling a bit overwhelmed by its grandness. If you cannot believe in your abilities, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Keep Your Vibration High and Clear Resistance So much of the process of manifestation — and goal setting, for that matter — is about your mindset and perseverance. Notice what I said there: “the process of manifestation.” Many people forget that manifestation is a process, and a time-consuming one at that. In this society we live in, a lot of people fall victim to believing that things should come easily or instantly. However, because manifestation requires growth and development, it definitely doesn't come easy or happen instantaneously. It can take time and effort to manifest your greatest desires, so it is essential to keep your vibration high. Below are a few tips to guarantee the latter: Optimize your environment for the mood and emotions you want to feel; Eliminate or distance yourself from people who lower your vibration or put you in a negative state; Meditate; Exercise; Make time for activities that bring you joy and happiness; and Get plenty of sleep. By doing some or all these things, you’ll find it so much easier to maintain a high vibration. Moreover, resistance can either be internal or external. The tips above are crucial in getting rid of resistance that block you from moving forward or cause you to quit, namely limiting stories, physical exhaustion, negative people, etc. But regardless of where it is coming from, you need to break through the resistance in order to manifest your greatest desires. Track Your Progress and Celebrate Another good way to keep your vibration high and persevere throughout the manifestation process is by tracking and celebrating your progress. Often, we get laser-focused on the result and adopt an all-or-nothing mentality when we’re pursuing a goal or attempting to manifest something in our lives. The problem with that is the fact that you won’t know if you’re making progress and may get discouraged if you do otherwise. After all, manifestation may take some time. Think about any racing video game, for instance. As far as I can remember, every game I ever played didn’t just put you on the track and tell you to complete a certain number of laps. No, there were checkpoints along the way. These little markers allowed you to know that you were on pace to achieving your goal of finishing the race. Each time you made it to another checkpoint, you knew you were still in the race. It works the same way in real life. While you’re holding the belief that you will follow through and manifest you desires, you can also help yourself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by setting up some checkpoints in the process. These checkpoints will remind you that you are still on track to manifesting what you want. And once you hit every checkpoint, make sure you celebrate! As high achievers, we often celebrate one milestone by immediately moving on to the next. This is dangerous because you slowly turn off the dopamine response in your brain that’s signaled when you achieve your goals if you don’t celebrate. When this happens, you fall into that vicious cycle of enough never being enough. So, be sure to celebrate hitting those checkpoints once you establish them. Conclusion To review, the first step in the manifestation process is being clear on what you want to manifest. This will give you peace of mind and allow your RAS to work for you. After gaining clarity, check in with yourself to make sure that you are actually in alignment with what you’d like to manifest. If you’re not, seeing it take place in real life will feel like an uphill battle. The next step is to hold belief. In order to manifest something in your life, you have to believe that you can do it. Be honest with yourself and ask whether you truly believe you can manifest what you are talking about. Keep your vibration high and clear resistance, too — that’s the next step in understanding how to manifest what you want in your life. Manifestation is a process that can take time and effort. If you don’t protect your vibration and clear resistance along the way, it’ll be a tough ask of yourself. Lastly, in order to manifest anything you want, track your progress by setting up checkpoints and then celebrate it afterwards. That is how you can manifest anything you want. How to Manifest Anything You Want and Achieve Your Dreams How to Start a Side Hustle While Keeping Your Full-Time Job 30 Good Morning Motivation Quotes To Kickstart Your Day Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

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Last Updated on January 10, 2022

What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

Do you remember being invited to your job interview? Do you feel the same way about your job today? There’s nothing more soul-destroying than waking up Monday morning dreading the fact that you’re about to step back into slavery for a job you hate.

You savor every minute at home before sadly turning the key in the lock to close your front door. From that moment on, you’re counting down the hours and minutes until it’s ‘TGIF’. Your anxiety might even start simmering well before your weekend is over.

Your boss might be a bully or a manager who cannot actually lead and guide their team. Receiving mixed messages, being twisted and turned in multiple directions with none of the directives being for any real benefit can plummet your motivation and satisfaction so deep you’ll almost hit the Earth’s core.

You love what you do and what you trained for, but any potential ounce of enjoyment has now completely evaporated. You feel dead in the water.

You might be shocked at the suggestion that if you’re feeling these things, it’s actually a very good sign! You’re likely to be on the cusp of a significant cross-road that is going to change your life.

Is Hating Your Job Normal?

Do you feel horrible when you think about your job? Like everything in life, your job will always keep changing. Every day won’t be perfect. Some days will be challenging.

However, you’ll always know when things are not right. You’ll know whether you are having a bad week or you are in a toxic situation. If you hate your job, you are not alone.

A study conducted by Gallup found that 85 percent of the workforce in the world is unhappy.[1] If you hate your job, you need to examine where you are, whether you can improve your situation or if you should think of submitting a weeks notice of resignation to start a new job search.

How to Cope When You Hate Your Job

What to do when you hate a job that you once loved? The following key steps are going to set you back on the golden path to enjoying career success despite the muddy waters you currently find yourself in.

1. Recognize the Signs of Discomfort

Long gone are the days where we might expect to join a business or corporation and spend our lifetime working our way up into a cushy senior management role that will take care of us and our families for the rest of our lives. In fact, it’s actually risky business to even think this way.

Pay rises are less frequent. Your skills and opportunities to expand your skills are now limited by staying within one job or organization. By definition, having a career means being on a continuous journey of development.

Nowadays, the average person changes jobs in their lifetimes between 10 and 15 times. [2] Not changing job environments caps your capacity to grow your knowledge and strengthen your capabilities. You actually make yourself less employable.

With the globalization of many businesses, you’re not only competing against people in your local neighborhood for your ideal role, you’re competing with folks from other cities, interstate, cross-country, and overseas.

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Some organizations are evolving with a constant focus on being innovative, taking calculated risks, and embracing new technologies — those that aren’t are falling to the wayside. If you don’t flow with the changing tides yourself, you could quickly find yourself stuck stagnant on a sinking ship with no lifeline.

Monday morning blues are a key sign that you hate your job and it’s time to start thinking and doing things differently. What you are feeling is actually a blessing in disguise.

2. Work with A Career Coach And/or Therapist

When we really detest our daily grind, it’s high time to keep a lookout for the development of symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.

Don’t just look for physical signs such as feeling greater and frequent fatigue, increased emotional eating, poor sleep. Loss of motivation, concentration and lower general interest not just in your work but in your personal life activities and relationships…these signs should raise alarm bells.

Your friends and family might start reflecting they’re fed up of hearing about how your boss is constantly laying blame on you for their mistakes.

Tolerance has worn thin listening to constant complaints about your doing the work of two people yet never confronting your boss about it. Continuing to play the broken record of your pain is not only sucking the lifeblood out of you but your friends and family as well.

Don’t hold off working with a therapist and/or career coach when you notice these things. Both professionals will help you recognize the full picture of your experience and how it’s impacting you. Of greatest value is their helping you to start identifying changes you need to make and how to turn those into reality.

When your emotional, physical and mental resources are drained from coping with your soul-destroying nine-to-five, your mindset is unlikely to have the optimal sensibility to hatch your escape plan.

You’re likely to be operating from a fixed mindset of desperation than innovation and run the stakes of moving from one crappy job situation to another.

Invest focus to rediscovering your worth, career interests and learning how to dream big again. Go deep in exploration of what your values are around what you want your work to give to you and mean to you.

If working with a coach or therapist feels like an uncomfortable step for you, consider looking into undertaking a course that helps you work through these questions. Give yourself a gentle kick to ignite momentum in a different direction.

3. Change Your Workspace

Hostile or toxic work environments lead to competition, negativity, bullying, unrest, sickness, and high turnover. A toxic workplace is just one of the signs that you hate your job and can poison your personal and professional life.

Working in a toxic workplace feels horrible. And it takes little effort for the workspace to become toxic. Why do workplaces become hostile and toxic? When leaders cultivate the culture of me-first or kill or be killed, the workplace becomes toxic.

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Other organizations start well and fall into the trap of chasing power or money. At times, a single employee can cause the entire workplace to become toxic. And it takes a lot of time to restore such an organization.

The best thing that you can do for yourself and others working in a toxic environment is to get out.

4. Don’t Be Stagnant for A Long Time

Do your colleagues and loved ones congratulate you on your work anniversary? What comes to mind when they wish you the best in your career? You might start wondering what you’ve been doing over the past couple of years because you’ve been at a standstill. And you don’t like it at all.

It’s quite difficult to identify stagnancy in a job. And when you do, you’ll start feeling like you are doing the same things over and over. Before you realize it, five years have passed and you haven’t developed yourself in any way. This eventually leads to a lack of passion for your job.

You might feel stagnant at your job for several reasons. First, you could be the problem. If your job is easy and there’s no one to challenge you, you’ll find yourself going with the flow. Prolonged stagnancy can lead to burnout.

To avoid this, you need to ensure that your career challenges and excites you. While your career shouldn’t be your life’s purpose, it should be something that inspires and motivates you.

Regardless of your post, you’ll always need to be creative to move forward. You need to find simple ways to infuse creativity in your job. You can start organizing files or developing your design skills.

5. Read Simon Sinek’s Find Your Why

Reading Find Your Why by globally renowned organizational consultant and speaker Simon Sinek could be a transformational step in finding your way back to experiencing a successful and enjoyable career.

Sinek and his co-authors explain there isn’t really a difference between having a professional why and a personal why.

It’s just as much the reason why your friends and family love you as an expression of the work you put yourself into every day. It’s less about tasks and activities and really about what emotional and mental satisfaction doing those things brings you.

What results is a beautiful tapestry of people not just experiencing an incredible product or service from you. You love what you do, create and get to give and they love you back for channeling that passion into that service and product they experience to benefit from.

This article also guides you through to discover your why:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

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6. Try to Avoid Workplace Burnout

When you have a lot of duties and responsibilities at work, you’ll have limited or no time for yourself and your loved ones. Working all the time can lead to stress and burnout.

One of the popular types of burnout that you’ll experience is worn-out burnout. Worn-out burnout is usually experienced by employees who are always overworked with little or no positive outcomes.

Burnout usually happens because the cycle is continuous and it starts taking from your professional life, relationships, personal life, and your health. You can avoid workplace burnout by balancing your working life and personal life.

7. Consider Expanding Your Thinking and Entrepreneurial Flair

You might think “I’ll always be an employee” and the thought of starting a business might scare the living daylights out of you. Even then, there is a strong chance you have monetizable talents that could, at the very least, swiftly direct your mindset away from the chilling notion of being stuck in your dead-end job for eternity.

The thought of creating a product or service all by yourself could be dauntingly foreign. Doing something like this could feel like ridiculously fathoming a climb of Mt Everest when you don’t know the first thing about climbing or hiking!

But once you start looking and having explorative conversations with different mindsets about ideas, instead of debriefing the horrible day you had yet again in your job, things will start to change. Like Sleeping Beauty being awoken from slumber by Prince Charming’s first kiss, you’ll start discovering a whole new way of thinking you won’t ever want to harness.

Look at what skills you have to perform your current job. What skills have you acquired in the past that might simply have been dormant for a little while? Do you miss being able to exercise certain skills?

When you have the discussion with your career coach, you’ll discover there are probably many more skills, knowledge and experiences you could even package and sell than you realize. However, remember: it’s not just about the money. It never should be.

Even if you have been an administrator for many years, could the next step be writing introductory course administrators or young job seekers could benefit from? There is no better teacher or education platform to learn from than hands-on experience. It might be a side gig you create which you pitch to and deliver at high schools and job-seeking agencies.

You might create a face-to-face workshop and/or an accompanying course that you create and sell on online education platforms such as Udemy or Teachable.

Your course might inform and teach interview techniques and communication tips for working with managers and bosses. You might suggest what exercising initiative looks like and what individuals can do to help themselves feel comfortable and confident early in their jobs.

There often is nothing more satisfying than learning and knowing that someone else’s challenges and problems were overcome because of wisdom and experience we could share with them. We all have something we can teach and offer people. What might you have to offer?

8. Consider What You Want to Be Doing, Not Just What You’re Currently Doing

It’s time to start letting the masses know what you’re capable of, not just in terms of what you have done but what you’re aspiring towards and charging forward to achieve.

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Global recruitment firm Robert Half explains how personal branding is essential to progress and enjoy a successful career.[3] Providing an impressive sounding resume and a cover letter are no longer enough.

What we engage with and how we show up online and offline is taken into account more now than ever. So we need to be strategic.

If you are looking for opportunities to work in overseas companies in your industry, you might consider researching best practices other off-shore companies are engaging in and writing your own short LinkedIn post about it.[4] Or you may simply look to post a link to what you have found and provide short critical evaluations about it.

Start thinking about how you market yourself and stop leaving it to chance. Whilst many think social media is only for personal social items, consider how your engagement on these platforms portrays you to your audiences. Steer potential employers and business partners to see you as you want to be seen, not just as you are.

9. Get Back on Track by Learning New Things

When you are waking up each day with a sick feeling in your stomach knowing work duties call, there is a hard reality you have to face:

It’s your responsibility to make the necessary changes. It is no one else’s responsibility to make you feel happy or satisfied with your work. At the end of the day, it’s yours.

If you want to have a successful career, you have to take charge of the direction and types of experiences you want to have on your journey. Where do you want to go? How far and why? What training or opportunities might give you this? Is it executive coaching? Perhaps undertaking an MBA? Allow yourself to think laterally too.

Let’s say project management is a skill set you need to learn, or incompetent boss snidely commented you would never make it without these skills. Could volunteering to crew for an event speaking company platform fast track your learning as to what’s involved? Financial forecasting, marketing, resource and supplies management, working with different team member personalities and managing client relations…you could never gain hands-on experiential learning like this you via a classroom or online course.

The e-learning industry is forecast to reach $325USbillion by 2025.[5] With the quality of online learning gateways growing exponentially with very affordable costs of access to world-class teachers, golden opportunities to increase your skill set and knowledge are at your fingertips.

Never has there been a better time for you to design a career pathway and forge an enriching educational journey that feeds not just your professional curiosities but personal interests too.

Final Thoughts

No successful career has ever involved dancing to the same tune. When you find yourself despising your job more often than not, change is nigh. By using just one of these tips above, you can rechart your course to have a successful career.

In a short amount of time, you won’t only resuscitate the self-worth and recognition of our unique value that dead-end jobs can steal from you. You’ll enjoy deeper, prolonged levels of satisfaction, energizing self-discovery and opportunities to turn your career into a far more gratifying journey you could ever have imagined.

The best part is that you don’t even have to wait to land the dream job. The journey itself will be magical.

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Featured photo credit: Christian Battaglia via unsplash.com

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