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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

What Job Should You Have? 10 Questions to Help You Figure It Out

What Job Should You Have? 10 Questions to Help You Figure It Out

Before we’re old enough to vote or even get a driver’s permit, people are asking us what we want to be when we grow up. While most of us don’t ever grow up to become astronauts or princesses, the question of “What job should I have?” is one that perplexes a lot of people — and for good reason.

Finding a career that hits all the right marks of money, satisfaction, and work-life balance is no easy feat. Sure, there are hundreds of online quizzes out there from the goofy to the scientific that promise to tell you what job is right for you, but have you ever met anybody who entered a career field because of a job quiz they took?

Landing the right career is more a path of discovery than anything else. Most people simply have to go through a bit of trial and error to discover what job they should. Take some time to ponder these questions and examine how each plays into your own path of discovery towards the right job.

1. What Are Your Interests?

This question often gets rephrased as “What are you passionate about?” Looking at potential careers with a requirement of passion, however, isn’t particularly constructive. Most people like a lot of things, but how many of your likes would you say you have a genuine passion for?

The idea that following our passions will lead to happiness is fraught with inaccuracy. For starters, research suggests that people aren’t particularly good at predicting how they’ll feel about something in the future.[1] The workforce is full of people who thought they’d love a chosen career but ended up hating it a few years later.

Let’s ditch the word “passion” and replace it with “interests” as it allows for a broader path of discovery. Most people don’t finish college with a passion for advertising, but they may have interests in graphic design, writing, and psychology.

2. What Kind of Personality Do You Have?

Your personality can play a huge role in determining your success in a job.[2] How you think and behave naturally impact what job is right for your unique way of looking at the world. Some of us like calling the shots and directing others in a team setting, while others prefer to follow orders and buckle down on a particular task at hand.

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If you’re outgoing and high-energy, a job where you’re working alone at a desk for hours probably isn’t the right fit.

Consider taking an inward look at your personality and asking yourself a few questions when exploring potential job and career possibilities.

  • Do you like to lead or follow?
  • Do you consider yourself competitive?
  • Do you like structure and routine or do you prefer flexibility and freedom?
  • Are you promotion or prevention-focused?

Another aspect of your personality to take into consideration when exploring job possibilities is the promotion or prevention mindset.[3]

Those with a promotion mindset tend to see goals as an opportunity for advancement and achievement. They are more likely to seize opportunity and embrace risk but are also more prone to error.

The flip side of the personality coin is those who have more of a prevention mindset. They tend to look at goals a layer of security. They are often very analytical and detail-oriented in their thinking, but they may work slower and be less likely to take risks.

Both mindsets are better suited for certain jobs than others, and most of us tend to have a dominant focus that leans more towards one than the other.

3. Who Do You Want to Work With?

You’re going to spend a large chunk of your time working, and, depending on the job, that could mean being surrounded by a lot of people or hardly any at all. Some of us are more social and spending eight or nine hours a day alone would be torturous. Then there are those of us who would be miserable working in an office with 300 other people.

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Getting along with your coworkers can have a big impact on your job satisfaction and performance, but it’s also important that you take into account the people you’ll be serving. If a job is a poor social fit — for example, an introvert in public relations — there’s a high probability of unhappiness.

4. What Culture Comes With the Job?

Doing some investigation work can quickly answer whether a particular career is a good match for your personality. Those who consider themselves to be a free spirit probably won’t be happy or perform well in a rigid industry with strict guidelines, such as the insurance industry.

Looking at the culture of a specific job should be taken into consideration before accepting any employment offers. Creating a winning company culture is a discussion for another time, but if the company’s beliefs, work environment, and mission doesn’t align with your own values, it’s probably not the best fit.

5. What Education or Training Do You Have?

Most careers are going to require some sort of training. Now, of course, many artistic careers do involve formal education programs, but it’s also not uncommon for professionals to be self-taught. The self-educated route isn’t an option for many jobs, though — nobody wants to visit a self-taught brain surgeon — and years of schooling may be required.

When considering a potential job field, there are three important questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is advanced training needed?
  2. How long is the training program?
  3. Am I willing to spend the money needed for it?

If you’re feeling uneasy about the realities of these answers, it may be time to look at other options.

6. Can You Learn to Be Good at It?

If a person isn’t good at their job, they’re likely to either burn out and quit or get fired. However, nobody is going to be good at their job right out of the gate. Author Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, for example, argues that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. Whether or not this is completely true, expertise is something that comes with time and practice.

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Nobody is going to be good at everything, no matter how much time they put in. I could spend all the time in the world working on math, but I’ll never be a mathematician. It’s just not something I have a knack for.

This is why it’s so important to try different things. Eventually, you will stumble upon something and have that lightbulb moment where you realize you could be good at it.

7. Is There Room for Growth in the Field?

Alright, let’s get practical for a second. Some career fields are simply going to offer a lot more career possibilities and job growth than others. As much as you may have an interest in 15th-century Polish poetry, there just aren’t a lot of jobs out there that need that sort of expertise.

It is generally a good rule of thumb to aim for a field that’s hiring. A dwindling industry may have increased competition or little room for long-term career growth. Check around for which industries and career fields are going places and which ones are on the decline.

8. How Much Work-Life Balance Do You Need?

Lots of jobs don’t function on a 9 to 5 schedule, so it’s important to examine what sort of work-life balance you need and how that matches up with potential job choices. Some people may enjoy the rigidity of a 9 to 5, while others may want something that changes from day to day.

Do some background research into a potential job’s requirements regarding travel and what sort of hours people in that field tend to work. If you’re not willing to work an overnight shift, going into a field such as police work or nursing probably isn’t a good fit.

9. Where Do You Want to Live?

Even with the advantage of the internet, there are some jobs that are still limited to location. There’s little need for crab fisherman in Nebraska. Having an idea of where you want to live is another important factor that too many people neglect when exploring what job might be right for them.

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If you’d like to work in the fashion industry or as a lawyer, there’s a good chance that living in a bustling urban environment such as New York, Miami, or Chicago is in your future. If you have an interest in the outdoors and environmental conservation, you’re probably going to find more jobs in rural areas.

10. Will the Money Match up With Your Personal Needs?

Ah, the money question. Obviously, this is one question that can’t be ignored. Money shouldn’t be the main factor when deciding what job you have, but it is definitely is a factor to consider.

Do a little research on the average salary for a particular job and then ask yourself if it’s enough for you to comfortably live on.

How much money we need to live comfortably often changes as our lives progress, so take career growth and the money that comes with it into consideration.

Final Thoughts

There’s no secret formula for finding what sort of job you should have other than exploration. Just like finding the right life partner, you simply have to see what’s out there and what’s a good match.

It will likely take some time and self-reflection, but by carefully examining your own personality, needs, strengths, and interests, you’re that much more likely to provide a good answer when you start asking “What job should I have?”

More Tips on Finding the Right Job

Featured photo credit: Nik MacMillan via unsplash.com

Reference

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Jeremy Diamond

Jeremy Diamond is a lawyer and entrepreneur. He is the Senior Partner of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, a national law firm based in Canada

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

Memory plays an integral role in our lives, both in the short and long term. If you’re wondering how to improve memory, I’m here to tell you that there are natural and effective ways to do so.

Despite what you might think, improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it.

Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve memory efficiently and reduce the risk of memory loss.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts, and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder, then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. Research suggests that the more information and distractions you receive, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory[1].

Fortunately, meditation can help.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which, in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

While any amount of meditation will do something to help your memory, one study pointed out that “8 but not 4 weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores”[2].

Therefore, if you’re looking for the most benefits, try sticking with a meditation practice for at least 8 weeks.

However, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then it’s likely that you’re not able to remember well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities, including your memory.

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If you want to learn how to improve memory, how much sleep should you be getting?

Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation[3], you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things[4].

If you want to improve memory, get plenty of sleep.

    Maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!), but if you care about improving your long and short term memory, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

    Try these three things to naturally improve your sleep cycle:

    • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
    • Don’t eat too late
    • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

    Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

    However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory.

    3. Challenge Your Brain

    When was the last time you challenged your brain?

    I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or under-sleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and memory games.

    To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

    Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-solving ability, and memory.

    There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

    • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

    If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

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    Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it; try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

    4. Take More Breaks

    When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctly remember working all the hours under the sun—and many under the moon, too!

    At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat, and tears.

    However, if you want to know how to improve memory, taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative, and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

    Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

    One 2011 study from the University of Illinois concluded that “the brain is built to detect and respond to change…and prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance”[5].

    This is based on something called the “vigilance decrement.” This can be applied to many things. For example, we often don’t notice the feeling of clothing touch our bodies because our brain becomes accustomed to the sensation. However, if you change clothes, you’ll likely notice the difference in texture and temperature for a few minutes.

    When you take a break from memorizing information, it refocuses your attention and energy, leading to increased focus overall.

    It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart, and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

    Basically, make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

    5. Learn a New Skill

    I love this quote, as it’s 100% true but frequently overlooked:

    “Learning never exhausts the mind.” -Leonardo da Vinci

    From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

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    Let me give you an example of this:

    Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day, many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

    Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

    The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you rather than letting you work in your own way.

    Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction into learning a new skill (computer coding).

    It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career, and the ongoing learning made the call center job much more bearable.

    Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus, and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking out new information. When learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly becomes a habit, too.

    If you want to know how to learn something new every day, check out this article.

    6. Start Working out

    If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

    Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory[6].

    Regular physical activities increase blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. A well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

    Even if you don’t have much time, research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines[7].

    Interested in getting started?

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    Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

    • Join a gym
    • Join a sports team
    • Buy a bike
    • Take up hiking
    • Dance to your favorite music

    7. Eat Healthier Foods

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

    This applies to your brain, too.

    The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health, as well.

    Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery, and dark chocolate. But any fruits, vegetables, or foods high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory. Here’re some ideas: 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power

    Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain, leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

    If you want to improve your mental health, eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

    • Turmeric – Helps new brain cells grown
    • Broccoli – Protects the brain against damage
    • Nuts – Improves memory
    • Green tea – Enhances brain performance, memory and focus[8]
    • Fish oilFish oil supplements can increase your brain power

    Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

    Also, remember that your brain is about 75% water, so dehydration can have a huge effect on the way your brain functions. Stay hydrated if you really want to improve memory!

    Final Thoughts

    I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be helpful for you.

    You don’t need to implement them all, but you can try out the ones that appeal to you.

    But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory and avoiding cognitive decline, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested.

    More on How to Improve Memory

    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

    Reference

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