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Three steps to a rewarding career

Three steps to a rewarding career

  • Updated

You see the saying on wall art, t-shirts and hashtags: Do what you love, love what you do.

Yet some people never feel compelled to find work that they love or work that gives meaning to their lives.

“When it comes to work, it is much easier to focus on earning a paycheck to feed, clothe and provide housing for yourself and your family than it is to examine your purpose and passion,” says Julie Jansen, an executive career coach in Stamford, Connecticut and author of the new book “I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work.”

Jansen has come up with a three-part process to help individuals find more rewarding jobs or careers. She notes that meaning often changes as people move from one life phase to another.

That’s why it’s more common for people in mid-life to realize they want to pursue a completely different career path. Younger generations, however, have tended to naturally pursue more rewarding work earlier.

“One thing is certain, to find meaning, you need to be able to question the nature and purpose of the work you are doing now,” she says.

Step 1: Complete a


Jansen suggests taking an introspective inventory of personal values interests, attitudes and skills. The point is to understand your strengths and how these lead to a meaningful career. Take note of what is important in your career and in your personal life.

Of course, meaning looks different for everyone. One person might want to telecommute to spend more quality time with the family while another might want to group with a particular group of people.

“Meaning does not necessarily indicate that you are helping others or working for a charity,” she says.

Step 2: Identify obstacles and barriers

Think about what may keep you from pursuing a different kind of occupation whether it is age, money, time, education or lack of experience. Then, figure out how to overcome those barriers.

“Most of the barriers or obstacles you have written down may not actually be real but perceived,” Jansen says.

Step 3: Create an

action plan

You must be very clear about what steps you need to take to revamp your career goals. Think about each and every step you need to take. Organize with short-term action steps and set very clear deadlines for when you will get each done.

“By putting your short-term goals on paper you will feel more committed to doing what you have to do in order to create the meaning you are yearning for in your work,” she says.


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