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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 November 3, 2020

How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

It takes being productive to get things done correctly and on time. So how do you know which tasks are essential and which can wait? The answer is in the Prioritization Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Matrix.

The matrix took its name after Dwight David Eisenhower.

Eisenhower was a general in the US army and the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. As a five-star general and a Supreme Commander in the US Army, he drafted the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe.[1]

Eisenhower had to make tough decisions every time about which tasks to prioritize out of many he needed to focus on daily. So, he came up with the famous Eisenhower Matrix, or the Prioritization Matrix.

What Is the Prioritization Matrix?

The Prioritization Matrix is a tool for rating your tasks based on urgency. It helps you know the critical activities and those tasks that you should bypass and can be useful in project management, small businesses, or personal tasks.

Eisenhower famously said of the matrix:

“Most tasks that are urgent are not important, and most tasks that are important are not urgent.”

This quote became the maxim for Eisenhower in managing his time.

There are four quadrants in the Prioritization Matrix, which help in comparing choices of what to do first and last, allowing you to prioritize projects and create strategic plan[2].

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Eisenhower Matrix Template

    The quadrants are:

    • Do
    • Schedule
    • Delegate
    • Eliminate

    Do

    Do is the first quadrant in the Prioritization Matrix, and it incorporates important activities. That is, those tasks you need to carry out urgently — crises, deadlines, and issues that need your urgent attention and are highly relevant to your life mission.

    Hw do you know which task falls into this quadrant?

    Start by analyzing your priorities, and then establish if it falls within the ‘do it now’ criteria. If the task is achievable within a day, or within 24 to 48 hours, it’s urgent.

    Another approach you can adopt in prioritizing tasks in this category is to adopt the “eat the frog” principle by Mark Twain. This principle recommends that you do the most urgent activities as soon as you wake up.

    Here’s a practical example.

    Let’s say you need to draft a content strategy and submit a report to your manager. It’s Saturday, and the deadline for submission is Monday. Can we say the activity is urgent? Definitely!

    Schedule

    The second quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Schedule. The Prioritization Matrix classifies tasks in this category as important but not that urgent.

    They are long-term objectives and tasks with no immediate deadline. Those tasks could include meditation, journaling, studying, family time, and exercising.

    You can plan out activities in this quadrant for some other period. For instance, you should exercise for good health, but you can allocate time to do it.

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    Schedule these activities in such a way that they don’t transfer to the “Do” or “Urgent” quadrant. Ensure you have sufficient time to carry them out.

    Delegate

    The third quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Delegate.

    These tasks are not important to you but are quite urgent for others. This is where teamwork comes into play.

    You can technically perform tasks in this category, but it makes sense to delegate them. Delegating tasks will ensure you have more time to pursue activities in your first two quadrants.

    You should also monitor the tasks you have delegated. It will only amount to a sheer waste of time if you don’t have a tracking system for delegated tasks.

    Eliminate

    The last quadrant highlights your productivity killers. They are tasks that are not important to your goals and not urgent. The only way to boost your productivity is to eliminate them.

    Some examples are constantly checking your phone, watching movies, or playing video games.

    They could also be bad habits that you need to identify and delete from your daily and weekly schedule.

    Successful people have learned how to prioritize and stick to what’s important. They have learned to find a better person for a task or eliminate less significant tasks.

    Let’s consider two inspiring personalities that have designed their prioritization system.

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    Warren Buffet developed a two-list prioritization model to determine which task deserves his best attention. The bottom line is bypassing things that are important and useful but not top of the priorities.

    Mark Ford, a business advisor, marketer, self-made millionaire, and author devised his strategy:

    “Start work on the most crucial priority, take a break, work on the second most important task, take a break, then sort out the less important activities and any tasks he received from other individuals by afternoon.” [3]

    How to Use The Prioritization Matrix

    Using the Prioritization Matrix can be tricky if you’re new at it, but by following a few simple steps, you can learn to utilize it in the best way possible.

    1. List and Rank Your Priorities

    Highlight all the tasks you need to carry out in a day. Then, classify them with weighted criteria based on urgency and importance.

    Identify any activity that requires prompt action. I’m referring to a task that if you don’t complete that day, it could produce a grave consequence. For instance, if you don’t submit your content strategy, other content writers cannot work. It means you need to check for high-priority dependencies.

    2. Define the Value

    The next step is to examine the importance and assess which of them impacts your business or organization the most. As a rule of thumb, you can check which tasks possess higher priority over others. For instance, you need to attend to client’s requirements before you take care of any internal work.

    You can also estimate value by examining how the task impacts the people and customers in the organization. In a nutshell, the more impact a task has on people or the organization, the higher the priority.

    3. Take out the Most Challenging Task

    Procrastination is not a symptom of laziness, but avoidance is. The truth is that you will typically avoid tasks you don’t want to do. The former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, once said he would take out the most dreaded task first thing when he got to the office.

    Brian Tracy called these tasks the frogs you need to eat. That will remove the nagging dread, which mounts pressure on you when you postpone necessary tasks[4]. This is where the Prioritization Matrix can help; eat the “Do” frogs immediately.

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    If you need help overcoming procrastination, check out this article.

    4. Know What’s Important to You

    As long as you are in this cosmos, you will always encounter different choices that may be contradictory to your goals. For instance, a fantastic promotion that requires excessive travel will isolate you from important relationships. If you are not priority-conscious, you may accept it, even though your family is your priority.

    Therefore, it makes sense to identify what is important to you and to prepare yourself not to compromise those important things for immediate pleasure or gain.

    Yogi Berra captioned it this way:

    “If you do not know your destination, you might end up somewhere else.”

    5. Establish Regular “No Work” Time

    YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki established a rule not to check her emails between 6 pm and 9 pm. According to a CNN Business report, she was the first woman to request maternity leave when Google just got started. She prioritizes dinner time with her family despite being the CEO of YouTube[5].

    Is it possible to cut out time for our relationships and interests outside of work?

    Of course, and that’s why you need to set out your “no work” time. This approach will enable you to renew your energy levels for the next task. Also, you will be in the best position to introspect as you are not in your usual work zone.

    6. Know When to Stop

    You can achieve everything on your list sometimes. After you have prioritized your workload and assessed your estimates, remove the remaining tasks from your priority list and focus on your most urgent and important tasks.

    Conclusion

    It’s not enough to be successful at work. Ensure you make out time for your family and an important relationship in your life.

    Getting started and finding time may be tricky, but with some practice using the Prioritization Matrix, you’ll find that you are more productive and better able to divide your time between the things that are important to you.

    More Tips on Prioritizing

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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