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August 3, 2023

Cracking The Code To Your Dream Job: Unleashing Fulfillment And Success

Unemployment rates are at historic lows, but job dissatisfaction is higher than ever. Many studies show that well over half of Americans hate their job, are disengaged with their job, or are mildly dissatisfied with their job. Most Americans hate their job. So, what’s the secret to finding a career that will leave you satisfied […]

Unemployment rates are at historic lows, but job dissatisfaction is higher than ever. Many studies show that well over half of Americans hate their job, are disengaged with their job, or are mildly dissatisfied with their job.

Most Americans hate their job.

So, what’s the secret to finding a career that will leave you satisfied and successful?

After spending 15 years getting paid to help super-talented people identify the best next step in their career path, I have discovered four key questions you can ask yourself to unlock a career that’s both fulfilling and successful.

1.Is this job something I’m good at and enjoy?

After interviewing over 30,000 top candidates, our team is learning that no matter how high the compensation and how many cool benefits are offered, if people are in a job they don’t feel they can succeed in, they will be unhappy. Knowing where you can succeed isn’t just about talent. It’s about knowing what kind of work gives you energy.

I’m becoming more and more convinced that the single biggest key to career success and fulfillment is knowing yourself. Have you done an honest assessment of how you are wired? Have you taken a personality test to understand where you gain more energy, and what jobs take energy away from you? For instance, I can do detail-oriented work, and I can do routine over and over… but it drains me. Where I am best, and where I best excel, is when I have new tasks thrown at me nearly every day. That makes me an ideal candidate for a field like marketing, sales, customer relations, and the like. It also proves to me that I would be a horrible accountant. I would not do well as a compliance officer. I would not do well in any job that asks for the same task to be done over and over, day in, day out.

I always admired the world-famous heart surgeon (from here in my town of Houston) Denton Cooley. He innovated. He changed the industry. He was the best in the world. I often dreamed of being like him. But reading his bio some years back, one of the biggest boasts was that he performed the same surgery over 100,000 times. Great for him! Great for the world! But me knowing me, that kind of job would make me crazy, and I probably wouldn’t be very good at it.

Know yourself well enough to identify what you would be good at and what work will energize you. Let yourself dream big.

2.Is this a job that the world needs?

This seems simple enough, but is a more important question than ever to ask. Why? Because we are in an age of disruption. Many jobs that used to be necessary and profitable are about to be replaced. With the dawn of artificial intelligence, many workers will be replaced by new technology. For instance, I would predict that rank-and-file accounting will not be performed by humans within the next 10 years. I’ve often wondered what happened to the family that used to own the small business that produced most of the cash registers in the world. Or the people that used to own the company that made pay phones.

As you’re mapping out your career, it’s important to ask what jobs are going to be needed by the world in the coming years. The jobs we need the most are the jobs that require a human touch. People who are good at soft skills and who possess the ability to read and relate to other humans will excel. That’s not just my hunch; it’s the result of a massive research project that we’ve been studying for the last few years. The results of that study will be coming out in my next book this fall.

But for now, if you’re asking what the world will need in the future, look no further than jobs that require humans to put their humanity to work.

3.Is this a job that can be profitable?

Having started our search firm Vanderbloemen 15 years ago, I have enormous respect for small business owners. Success and longevity are very rare. Too many times, I’ve seen friends of mine start small businesses that are doomed to insolvency. The failure rate of start-ups and small businesses is extremely high and hasn’t changed over the years. I think one of the leading reasons I’ve seen friends fail at their businesses is that they haven’t chosen a business that can turn a profit. As you are considering your career path, take into account what your family’s needs are. Ponder what the market will bear for the job that you were doing. And ask yourself if this job can financially support your needs for the stage of life you find yourself in.

4.Is this a job that will leave the world better than I found it?

Last, and most importantly, job fulfillment and satisfaction hinges on whether people feel like their effort makes a difference in the world.

The Beatles sang that money can’t buy me love. That also applies to job fulfillment. Deep down inside, people realize that life is short. If you talk to people who are farther along in their careers, many times, people who have made a whole lot of money shift their efforts toward making a whole lot of difference. It’s a classic move from a quest for success to a quest for significance. Now more than ever, many businesses are driven by a cause or values. Many of them hire Vanderbloemen to find their talent, and they hire us because we can align talented people who share the same cause and values. I’ve been amazed over the years by the number of people who have joined our own company, taking a pay cut to do so. When I ask why, the response always goes back to something along the lines of “I don’t just want to work. I want to make a difference.”

Many years ago, in a previous life and career, I was a pastor. I sat with a lot of people as they died. I never had one of them say to me, “Boy, that went slowly.” Life is short, shorter than any of us want to admit. And my experience has taught me, your best job fulfillment will come when you’re at the end of your days, and you can say, “I left this place better than I found it.”

I’m sure there’s a lot more for me to learn about job fulfillment and satisfaction, and I look forward to it. These questions will point you toward a career that will help you to learn and grow in this too. They can help pull you out of your rut of dissatisfaction with the day-to-day. I’ve told all seven of my kids that one day if they are considering a job and can answer all four of these questions with a yes, they’ll be well on their way to finding a path toward fulfillment and success.

Sadly, most Americans haven’t found that path yet. I hope that you’re in the minority, or that you pull yourself into it. I hope these questions inspire and challenge you to find your path to fulfillment and success.

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.
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