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A Practical Guide to Finding A Career You Love

Smiling group of ethnically diverse businessmen and businesswomen

According to a Business Insider article, the average person spends over 90,000 hours of their life working. This comes out to more than 10 straight years away from friends and family or hobbies and leisurely activities, and instead hunched over a desk, beside a hospital bed, on the phone with a client, taking orders from a table of guests, teaching a room full of rambunctious kids, working on a house’s electrical wiring, or one of the literally countless other activities that people in this country find themselves doing during the workday. In other words, the career we decide to pursue matters. And it not only has lifelong consequences for you, but for your larger community as well.

However, when it comes to selecting a career many don’t know where to begin. That’s why we created this guide. Inside you will find the following sections with helpful questions and worksheets included:

  • What Are You Naturally Gifted to Do? Explore your abilities and aptitudes.
  • What Gives You Life? Discover your passions and interests.
  • The Importance of Community and Culture. Uncover your optimal working environment.
  • A Responsibility to Both Yourself and the World. Determining your purpose.
  • Helpful Resources. Find books, tools, online resources, and PLNU counselor contact information here.

We can all recall those people who always seemed to know what they wanted to do. Maybe it’s that friend from elementary school who was always fascinated with planes and ended up flying them for a living, or that cousin who couldn’t help but be nurturing as a kid — be that to people or stuffed animals — and went on to nursing school. While your path might not be so clear cut, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a career that still brings you joy, satisfaction, and meaning.

But finding your life’s work takes, well, a lot of work.

Finding a career you love requires time, patience, trusting relationships and mentors, self-awareness, and even a little bit of risk. With that said, it’s important to note that not everyone, unfortunately, is capable of pursuing a career they love for reasons beyond their control. Perhaps because of family or financial obligations they can’t in good conscience look for another job, or maybe they have other health or psychological conditions that prevent them from doing so. Yet, even for some who find themselves in those situations, it still might be possible for them to move toward a better career fit — even if only incrementally over many years — and one day make the full time switch when circumstances allow. There are no shortage of examples of people who began a side gig selling framed calligraphy or playing guitar who eventually turned these things into full time jobs.

And yet, if you can’t currently make a career shift for good reasons, it’s still worth identifying the types of activities and engagements that excite and inspire you — the type of work that makes you come alive. It might be something that never commands a livable paycheck, but perhaps your gift for gardening, penchant for making people feel at ease and loved, or passion for lyrical poetry can be taken up after working hours as a way to not only invigorate and fulfill you, but also bring joy to those around you.

Whether you’re a student about to begin your career, currently in the middle of your career, or even retired from full time work, this modest guide will be valuable. Of course, finding a career you love isn’t ever as easy as reading an article online (unfortunately!), which is why it should be acknowledged that it’s a process that takes time. Finding a career you love involves exploring a host of complex and varied questions: What am I naturally suited to do? What am I passionate about? What do my tangible circumstances allow? What are my limitations? How has my experience and background prepared me for a certain type of work? What kind of environment, or people, fit me best? And what kind of impact will my work have in the world as an act of love and service?

Taken in this light, hopefully this guide can serve as a starting point — an invitation to begin thinking about these questions that will require time, effort, and commitment. At the end of each section, you’ll find a handful of questions to help you start thinking about finding a career you love. We encourage you to write out your responses to these questions, think hard about your answers, refer back to them again and again, and keep striving toward the worthwhile goal of finding an enjoyable and meaningful career that you love.

It’s precisely by approaching the question, “What should I do for a living?” in a serious and intentional way that marks the first step to being able to not only answer that question, but bring it to fruition in your life.

What Are You Naturally Gifted to Do?

One way to begin thinking about finding a career is to start with your natural abilities and gifts. Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., wrote a book called Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, which serves as a comprehensive blueprint for finding work that aligns with your passions and talents and, consequently, leads to finding your “element.” In the book, Robinson breaks down the difference between aptitudes and abilities. Aptitudes are innate ways of being, and refer to inclinations and tendencies that are embedded within us as opposed to learned.

Think of that kid in school who could naturally grasp mathematical concepts with ease or the natural athlete on the blacktop who seemed to dominate in every sport. Abilities, on the other hand, are learned through diligent practice and experience. For that math wiz or natural athlete to find success in either of those endeavors, they will certainly have to increase their abilities through years of practice, hard work, and learning. And while someone can strive to make up for a lack of natural aptitude through hard work and practice, it will usually be harder for them compared to someone naturally gifted in that area.

It’s important to emphasize that this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue something because you may not be as naturally good at it as the next person, since passion and drive also play huge roles and you might still find tremendous success. However, your natural aptitudes can provide a starting point, since many people aren’t inclined to pursue activities that don’t come as naturally at the expense of pursuing ones that do.

Arthur Miller Jr. wrote a similar book to Robinson titled The Power of Uniqueness: How to Become Who You Really Are, which unpacks further the role aptitudes and our natural way of being can play in our career choices. Miller Jr. developed something called a Motivated Abilities Pattern (MAP), which captures the unique and unchangeable way each of us functions in the world. According to Miller Jr., “every time people do something they experience as satisfying and as done well, they are in fact repeating part or all of a recurring pattern of specific competencies and motivations.”

Every time people do something they experience as satisfying and as done well, they are in fact repeating part or all of a recurring pattern of specific competencies and motivations.

According to the theory, which is based on studying tens of thousands of individuals, we each have a unique constellation of traits, interests, natural abilities, and ways of interacting with other people. It’s not as simple as labeling one person a “people person” and another a “born leader,” but rather that we are all motivated to act and engage the world by a series of complex factors. Miller Jr. writes:

“Hand-in-glove with this idea came a growing awareness that the rich mix of talent and passion was not the result of anything a person had done or required or ‘become,’ but appeared to be completely inherent in that individual, a natural endowment that the person ‘just had.’ This suggested a name for the phenomenon we were observing: giftedness.”

Further, one’s MAP doesn’t change and is fixed over the course of a life. Here is a very simple breakdown of the five pillars that make up one’s MAP.

Abilities – One’s natural abilities and talents, similar to what Robinson mentions in his book, such as musical ability, good with one’s hands, analytically-minded, persuasive, sociable, etc.

Subject Matter – The subject matter type (not the actual subject matter itself) that we naturally gravitate toward, such as abstract ideas and concepts, people and animals, numbers and figures, tools and machines, etc.

Circumstances – The environment or condition where one works best, such as in a more flexible or rigid environment, a collaborative or competitive setting, etc.

Operating Relationships – The way someone best operates with other people, be that as a team player, influencer, individualist, coordinator, etc.

Payoffs – The reward for accomplishing a certain task, which might include the satisfaction from solving a problem, bringing systematic order to a system, gaining the reputation of others, having one’s work seen as unique, etc.

In order to determine what these five pillars are for an individual, Miller Jr. looks to the individual’s personal history and, specifically, three “achievement stories” that represent instances when the individual felt they accomplished something well that brought them satisfaction. While these stories can come from any period of life, it can be helpful to look at childhood because as children we may have had less societal pressure to conform to certain types of activities than when we’re older. These stories can entail anything, from working with a parent on a car’s transmission to teaching a sibling how to read to inspiring a little league team to victory. They constitute achievements that are deeply personal and meaningful to the individual, and so they shouldn’t be “obvious” achievements like earning good grades in school or winning a spelling Bee contest (unless those were truly meaningful events for the person).

From these three achievement stories it’s possible to observe certain themes that return over and over again. Perhaps someone always enjoyed accomplishing school-related projects because they have a natural affinity for ideas and concepts (Subject Matter). Maybe someone’s achievements always include collaborating with others, revealing their natural preference to inspire and work alongside peers (Operating Relationships).

In addition to discovering your MAP, there are a host of other helpful tests that can provide some clarity. However, as Robinson details in his book, no test is perfect or comprehensive. No test should be used to pigeonhole you into a specific area, as if a simple multiple-choice test could capture the complex nature of your gifts, motivations, and passions. But they can at least point you in the right direction, and when taken in collection with other lived experiences and knowledgeable advice, can be valuable.

Katie Rios is a career counselor for graduate and adult degree completion programs at PLNU. Before her current role, she spent several years working with community college students to help students think about identifying a career. She understands that certain tests can be helpful, though they are most helpful when taken in conjunction with the mentorship of an expert.

“We offer students the MBTI, which is the Myers-Briggs, along with StrengthsFinder,” Rios said. “A lot of times, the StrengthsFinder is built into our students’ curriculum, allowing them to figure out what their top five strengths are and how they can use them. But we also coach students, and we sit down with them to coach them on what those strengths mean, what they mean for their careers, their personal lives, and how they can use those strengths to their benefit.”

If you’re interested in learning more about your MAP and other helpful tests and exercises to help you better understand your natural gifts and way of being, check out the Helpful Resources at the end of this guide.

Questions to Consider:

  • What events or accomplishments in your past gave you the greatest sense of satisfaction? (These don’t have to be work-related but can include hobbies or activities from your childhood or youth.)
  • When you write these accomplishments out, can you identify certain themes that keep repeating themselves?
  • What activities have others said you do well? Have you always been naturally good at starting up conversations with strangers, figuring out how things work, solving word problems, etc.?
  • What do you think you don’t do as well? Might this be an indication that this type of work is not what you’re naturally suited to do? On the other hand, might you be comparing yourself unrealistically to others or some perfect ideal?
  • What can you do today to help hone the aptitudes you have identified as coming naturally to you? Are there ways to exercise them if you’re not already doing so in your current job or after working hours?
  • Can you think of certain professions that might require some of your natural aptitudes or tap into your “way of being”?

Download the “What Are You Naturally Gifted to Do?” worksheet.

What Gives You Life?

While by identifying your MAP you’re also considering what you’re passionate about as well what you’re naturally gifted to do, it’s worth addressing the importance of passion and drive with respect to finding a career you love more closely. You may be familiar with Joseph Campbell’s aphorism, “follow your bliss.” This might seem a bit naïve, impractical, and unhelpful. What if your “bliss” is playing fantasy football or eating freshly-baked goods (although, there are indeed people who make a living doing these very things…)?

That’s why when using the term “passion,” it’s important to clarify that finding work which you’re passionate about does not mean it will always be easy or perpetually pleasurable to do. No matter what the work is, there will always be days that are more challenging than others. However, when we find work that aligns with our natural abilities and passions, there is a sense of accomplishment and deep contentment that results, even on the harder days. It’s this type of contentment, or joy, that should guide us, not the mere absence of struggle or difficulty.

But how do you know when you aren’t passionate about your work?

Robinson highlights one way of identifying if you’re not in a career that’s a good fit: if your “spirit is constantly heavy.” We all know the feeling of dread that accompanies certain activities we have to do. We may find such activities boring, dull, draining, and unfulfilling. And when those activities are not merely at the periphery of our days, but make up their center — like when we’re stuck in a career that isn’t a good fit — it’s a problem.

But since we’re all different — and we each have a unique MAP — those life-draining activities will look different for each one of us. We can’t assume that because our colleague, friend, or parent loves a certain type of work that we will too. Robinson brings up the example of someone who — believe it or not — actually enjoys their job of wading through sewers. Although, this might be a minority opinion, it’s nevertheless important to be aware that what others tells us will or won’t be fulfilling is not necessarily going to align with our own experience. We often hear from our culture how admirable it is to be a lawyer, doctor, or entrepreneur — and for those with the right gifts and passions it is — but not everyone will find such roles fulfilling. That’s why, while it’s important to be aware of your circumstances and the needs of the world, which we’ll discuss later, it must also be rooted in self-knowledge. As Miller Jr. writes, when someone does the thing he or she was born to do, there is an instinctive experience of fulfillment. It’s not something she is supposed to experience — it’s what she actually does experience.”

When someone does the thing he or she was born to do, there is an instinctive experience of fulfillment. It’s not something she is supposed to experience — it’s what she actually does experience.

This might be why there are many people who work very hard to gain that coveted job in the eyes of others only to find out once they get it they aren’t happy. As the philosopher Alain de Botton, Ph.D., discusses in a TED Talk, it’s an awful thing to sacrifice years of work and effort to reach a goal that, as it turns out, doesn’t make you happy. You may have the aptitudes to be successful at a lot of things, but if what you’re doing is not aligned with a deep passion for the work, you’ll most likely be unfulfilled.

Another method for determining if you’re passionate about something is to notice if you reach a state of “flow” when doing a certain activity. Flow, a term coined by the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, Ph.D., refers to when we are engaged in an activity that is interesting, challenging, and meaningful to us. Have you ever lost track of time because you were intensely focused on some activity? Being in that state provides a pleasurable state of contentment, and is indicative of the type of activities that we enjoy.

This is what Rios attempts to do with her graduate and adult degree completion students, individuals who are sometimes older and already working in a career. She works to help them identify what they’re deeply passionate about.

“It’s important that I take the time to really listen to what students’ interests are and help them realize for themselves what they would like to do as far as a career or what they need to transition into,” Rios said. “It’s my job as a counselor to help them realize certain strengths that they have and help them realize what they’re really passionate about. This might mean asking someone, ‘Did you realize that when you talked about this your face lit up and I just got so much passion from you? Let’s explore that and talk about what that would mean.’”

Rios understands the difference between doing something you’re passionate about — and that feels right — versus doing something that doesn’t, not only because of her work with students, but also because of her own experience.

“I actually was in education for a long time and then switched gears and became a business coach for attorneys, which is completely different,” Rios shared. “Different population, different mindset, but I was still coaching and counseling. I realized in that position that I had for almost four years that I didn’t have the right type of feeling. I was helping people, but I didn’t feel like I did when I worked with students. So with first hand experience, I’ve known what it felt like to not be using my strengths in the way that I wanted to, or necessarily waking up every day and feeling that passion to go to work. When I started working at PLNU, though, I felt that again.”

Questions to Consider:

  • If you’re currently working in a job, what were your motivations for pursuing it? Did you want to? Might you have taken the job to please others instead of yourself as well?
  • Does your current role, or the role you envision for yourself, align with your achievement stories and passions?
  • What type of activities, topics of conversation, or hobbies light you up and get you excited? Can some or all of these be applied to a career?
  • When was the last time you lost track of what you were doing in a state of flow? Did this happen at work? Is this an activity that exists in a certain type of career?

Download the “What Gives You Life?” worksheet.

The Importance of Community and Culture

As social beings who are part of complex societal structures, we are not alone in our decision of finding a career that we love. Although we may identify the type of work that we’re suited to do and that inspires us, it’s important to consider our social needs as well. For example, if you love to write and craft stories, but can become stir crazy or feel isolated when you don’t interact with others, then being a freelance writer or independent author might not be the right fit. In other words, the environment where you do your work is important as well. Some people work better when they have clear guidelines and a direct manager. Others like to work independently with little management and more flexibility.

In addition to completing certain tests or exercises (you can find examples in the Helpful Resources section) that might help narrow down your optimal working environment, it’s important to talk to others. If you think you might want to get into nursing, great. But have you had a conversation with a nurse to find out what being a nurse actually looks like? Can you shadow a nurse for a day? You may be drawn to the notion of helping people but not realize that being a nurse also requires a fair amount of heavy lifting, short (if existent at all) lunch breaks, and emotionally taxing situations. Of course, for some, this is exactly what makes being a nurse so fulfilling, but the point is that this type of work environment isn’t for everyone. The same is true for a business consultant or high school teacher.

“I tell my students to interview someone who’s in that career, take them to coffee or lunch, sit down with them for 30 minutes, and get all the information they can about what they do, where they work, what the culture is like,” Rios explained. “Sometimes we have things that come across our way and we’re like, ‘Yeah, that’d be really cool!’ But then we talk to people and find out more about the nitty gritty, day to day stuff of the role, and we’re like, ‘Yeah, maybe that’s not great for me.’”

Nick Wolf is the director of the Offices of Strengths and Vocation at PLNU. He always emphasizes to his students the need to find mentors and get as close as possible to the desired career to see if it’s a good fit before committing. He gave an example related to nursing students.

“There are two types of students who want to be nurses,” Wolf said. “Students who’ve always known they’ve wanted to be a nurse, and those who are just like, ‘It’s a good and high-paying job, or my parents want me to do it.’ And so, some get into it and realize that they’ve never spent a day in a hospital. So I tell them, ‘Go sit in an emergency room for two hours and see what that’s like, and by just being in a hospital you may understand right then and there that this isn’t the place you want to be.’ I always say, particularly the two career fields we don’t need more bad workers in is nursing and education. We don’t need more bad teachers and we don’t need more bad nurses. And so it’s really important that they figure that out earlier rather than later, in my opinion.”

I tell my students to interview someone who’s in that career, take them to coffee or lunch, sit down with them for 30 minutes, and get all the information they can about what they do, where they work, what the culture is like.

This leads to another important aspect of finding a career you love, which is the help of others, especially a career counselor or professional mentor. These individuals can ensure you’re pursuing a career for the right reasons.

“What I try and get them to think about is, what was the primary motivator to choose this major? Are you really passionate about the work you’re going to be doing, or will it just be a job that you think will be secure? And so I try to peel back those underlying motivators that drive them. Was it their parent’s decision, or was it really their decision?” Wolf said. “And then, at the end of a session, if we still haven’t come to a resolution or they’re still conflicted, then I tell them it’s time to have conversations with other people.”

Not only is it important to talk to people who are already doing what you want to be doing, but also to talk to people you trust to open up your eyes to what you might not see. You may think you’re only a so-so craftsman, but if those in your life continue to affirm and compliment you for your woodworking, maybe you need to take it more seriously. The same is also true in the opposite direction. You may be drawn to a well-paying remote job that allows you to live anywhere in the world, but the people close to you may have reservations, pointing out that as an extremely sociable person you might struggle working long days without non-digital human contact.

“We do offer one-on-one coaching, and we help with LinkedIn, personal branding, networking strategies, job search strategies, so it’s a lot of personal one-on-one contact with students that we’re able to do,” Rios continued. “I think that with my students knowing they have someone as a mentor and for support, and realizing that they can change paths and don’t have to be stuck in something just because it’s expected of them or they started it and are already in it, is important.”

Robinson notes the importance of finding a “tribe.” He writes, “seeing what others achieve who share your passion can drive you to push the boundaries of your own work and to raise the bar of your own aspirations.” This is another important piece related to your environment and community. It’s important to find others who share your passions and interests because they can encourage you and provide comfort. If you’re an IT specialist or adult education teacher, it is certainly valuable to have friends and family who can support you, but it’s also important to have other IT specialists or adult education teachers in your life who are going to understand the nuances of your work and inspire you in ways that others can’t. This is true of every profession, whether you’re a graphic designer, foreman, locksmith, professor, or CEO.

It’s valuable to have a host of relationships because each type can provide something different in helping you not only find a career you love, but thrive when you do. It’s also important to realize the limits of each relationship. Someone who values salary over everything else might not be the most dependable person to talk to if other factors are more important to you. No one knows you better than you, and you’re the one who ultimately has to wake up every morning and fill your day with a certain type of work. So, while it’s important — even necessary — to acquire and weigh the advice of others in your life, you are still ultimately the one who has to live with your choices when it comes to choosing a career.

Questions to Consider:

  • What type of work or school environments have you enjoyed being a part of most?
  • Do you prefer to work alone, with others, or both? What is it about this environment that you enjoy?
  • Do you have friends, family members, or mentors in your life who can help you think through your career path with your best interest at heart?
  • Do you know people who are already working in the career you’re interesting in? If not, are there ways you can meet some and learn more about their work?
  • If you’re already working, do you have a group of confidantes in your profession who you can draw inspiration and encouragement from? If not, how can you find some?

Download the “The Importance of Community and Culture” worksheet.

A Responsibility to Both Yourself and the World

It’s worth mentioning again that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to pursue a career they love. There are real economic and social reasons why certain individuals do not have the same opportunities, and it’s important to be aware of this. Especially with respect to those in poverty, or who have grave health or psychological issues, the idea of finding their “element” often must be sacrificed to taking care of their material and physical needs.

However, there are some who do have the opportunity to find a career they love but don’t do so for reasons that have to do with fear, peer pressure, a lack of willingness to take healthy risks, or complacency. Although not everyone may have the ability to stop working in their current role, many do have the time and capacity to begin transitioning incrementally. This might require going back to school, having less free time, getting up earlier in the morning, and losing weekends, but if finding a career you love is important — and for many it is — then these sacrifices are usually worth it.

Wolf made a career change himself after 15 years of working in executive recruiting because he felt there was something else that was a better fit for him.

“Even if you’re 40 or 45, nowadays I think there’s much more of an understanding of people wanting to potentially shift gears,” Wolf said. “For me, when I left executive search it was about family. I will say this, you have to be willing to potentially reduce your income. And so that’s a big thing. You have to be willing to take a step back. And so for me it was, ‘Okay, I’m going to take a step back, and then I’m going to go volunteer.’ I thought I wanted to go into education. Primary school, elementary school education, and so I went and shadowed a friend of mine.”

Wolf ended up getting his credential and teaching for a year, only to realize that elementary school wasn’t the right fit. Yet, he eventually made his way to PLNU, where in addition to doing career counseling, he teaches as an adjunct professor in the business department. Today, he loves what he does and where he does it at PLNU.

“Sometimes I have students that just tell me, ‘You know what, I just need the job.’ I get that and I would suggest doing whatever they need to do to make sure that the bills get paid, that their kids get the daycare, and that they’re taking care of their responsibilities,” Rios said. “But I also tell them not to just push their dream under the rug. It might not be right away, but maybe we can start making a plan to make a change so that it won’t impact the other parts of their lives as much as if they woke up one day and changed everything.”

Rios is highlighting the reality of circumstances that can make career transition hard, but still urging the need to consider ways of transitioning slowly over time.

It’s important to consider the role of salary with respect to a career choice as well. Of course, there is nothing wrong with desiring a higher salary or striving to make more money for your work and effort, but when this involves knowingly taking a position that pushes you further away from your passions and natural aptitudes, this should give you pause. Barring legitimate reasons why taking on a higher salary might be the better option (to take care of family, pay for budding medical bills, etc.), taking a job only because it promises a better salary and title can be problematic. In fact, Miller Jr. writes this about the matter:

“To accept, knowingly and willingly, a position that requires someone driven by a purpose that is not our driving purpose shows a total lack of integrity. It is unfair to the position, to the people offering the position, to those affected by the position, and above all, to our own self, our own personhood.”

This is strong language, but there is some truth to it. Finding a career shouldn’t just be about our own self-fulfillment and self-satisfaction, but also about impacting others positively beyond ourselves. The famous theologian Frederick Buechner, when talking about our life’s work, or vocation, writes that “the place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

The second and, perhaps, more important part of the equation is the “world’s deep hunger,” or in other words, how our work fits into serving others in love. This is emphasized also by Dorothy Sayers, who sees our work as a gift to be offered:

“Work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.”

We are responsible for serving others in the work we do, and so if we take a career, or continue in a career, that is not well suited for us, we might be doing more harm to ourselves, the organization, and others than good. Of course, there are times when we don’t have a choice, and it’s important to be mindful of that, but when we do have a choice in the matter, pursuing a role that does not allow us to serve others well is not gifting others and the world with our talents and abilities. And not only that, but if we end up in a career that isn’t a good fit, it can do harm to us physically. Miller Jr. cites:

“…evidence is growing that job misfit (whether it involves underutilization or an inappropriate use of giftedness) and the stresses it creates contribute directly to heart and other circulatory ailments, marital breakdown, alcoholism, drug addiction, and other mental and emotional disorders, premature death, or crippling disability.”

Rios points to the need to be aware of the dangers of feeling like your current career isn’t a good fit as well.

“Sometimes you feel stuck just because it’s easy to stay where you are, it’s easier to get more money in a role, it’s easier if you go to work and push that feeling down,” Rios said. “Don’t ignore that feeling, because if it keeps eating away at you, year after year, and you don’t take action to do something different, then it changes your personality, changes your outlook, and just does damage.”

Work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do.

Finding a career you love matters because it doesn’t just affect only you, but the entire world. If we have gifts and talents that allow us to serve others in unique and unrepeatable ways that can be applied to a career, then it’s important to do what we can do bring those gifts to light in service to others. Sometimes we’re not able to do so because of circumstances beyond our control, but we should be careful to not equate job fit only with title, reputation, or salary, but instead with how we can best serve others in love and find inner contentment doing so.

Questions to Consider:

  • How does my current career or desired career serve others and make a lasting impact in my community?
  • How important is salary and reputation to me? Am I placing too much value on these things at the expense of other factors related to my career?
  • What kind of an impact do I want to have on my communities? Can my career intersect with my goals?
  • If I’m stuck in a career I don’t think is a good fit, are there things I can do to change this? Do I have valid reasons for staying, or am I not making a change because of complacency, comfort, or fear?

Download the “A Responsibility to Both Yourself and the World” worksheet.

Hopefully this guide has helped you to start thinking about finding a career that you love. We encourage you to revisit this guide often as you take the steps necessary to move forward in your pursuit. While there are certainly challenges involved in finding a career you love, the journey is worth it. In finding a career that fits your natural way of being, passions, and desire for meaningful work, you’ll not only come to find a deep sense of contentment and joy, but share your unique gifts with the rest of the world as well.

Helpful Resources

Here are additional resources to help you continue your journey of finding a career you love.

Books
 

Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life
By Sir Ken Robinson
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
By Parker Palmer
StrengthsFinder 2.0
By Tom Rath
The Power of Uniqueness: How to Become Who You Really Are
By Arthur F. Miller Jr.
What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
By Richard N. Bolles

Personality, Strengths, and Aptitude Evaluations
 

Big Five Personality Test
CliftonStrengths Assessment
Campbell™ Interest and Skill Survey (CISS®)
Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation Aptitude Testing
Keirsey Temperaments Assessment
Myers Briggs Type Indicator® Assessment
Strong Interest Inventory® Test

Occupational Search Engine and Informational Website


O*NET OnLine

About the Author
Chris Hazell is a contributing freelance writer for PLNU and a published writer in the Viewpoint, Aleteia, Dappled Things, OSV Newsweekly and more. He has degrees in English (B.A.) and Economics (B.A.) from UCLA and a degree in American Studies (M.A.) from Brown.