Help! What Should I Be Doing with My Life?

“The paradox of work is that many people hate their jobs, but they are considerably more miserable doing nothing” (Atlantic Magazine). But almost a third of people like or love their jobs. Because work is essential to our mental and physical well-being, I say you can be part of the 30%. But how?

First, let’s shelve the fantasy of spending all our days playing with our kids on the beach, cooking up elaborate meals, or hiking the Himalayas. You and I need some form of work, but the question is what form will give us the most psychic and material satisfaction?

The answer to that is different for every person, which is fortunate, since the economy needs a diversity of occupations to be filled. Some people get the answer before they finish their education and work all their lives in their chosen career. Most of us, though, struggle to find a good fit at the beginning of our careers or at some sort of midlife crisis juncture.

If you are on the job market and not getting at least a 10% rate of invitations to interview for the applications you submit, you have one of two problems: either your documents are not selling you even though you know what you want to do (I see this 80% of the time), or you aren’t sure what you want to do. In the latter case, you have an “I can do lots of things” type of resume and cover letter or none yet, because you’re ambivalent. (I see this about 20% of the time.)

If you’re not sure what you want to do, do yourself a favor and postpone writing your resume or getting it written professionally. You must first aim, then fire. If you don’t know what you want, you’re not likely to get a job at all, much less a job in which you will be happy and fulfilled. One reason for that is that not knowing what you want makes it practically impossible for your network to help you.

One way to figure out what you want and be reasonably confident of succeeding in obtaining it is to get some career coaching. What happens in career coaching? At Your Edge for Success (YES), we have a certified diagnostic coach, Michael Metres-Akbar, who works with our clients who get the Executive Transition and Career Transition Packages (and while these are usually done in person, we can do them by phone as well). The coach and I work with our clients to help them uncover the following kinds of information about themselves:

  • What pieces of work that I’ve done did I enjoy or dislike?
  • What are my top priorities in a job?
  • What are my skills, talents, interests, and gifts?
  • What is my personality type?
  • How much structure, interaction, supervision, and multitasking do I prefer in a job?

At the conclusion of this process, the career coaching moves in another direction: matching your preferences to the possibilities out there. Between Michael and me, we have 58 years of career experience in the fields of information technology, business development, finance, real estate, entrepreneurship, coaching, communications (writing business and journalism), nonprofits, huge companies, medium-sized companies, tiny companies, government, diplomacy, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and the arts. Plus there’s all of your experience!

So the three of us put our heads together and say, “What about[insert career field]? Chances are one of us will have a contact in that field whom we can suggest you consult with to explore whether it would be right for you—plus of course you can gather a good deal of information online about different career paths. If you’ve done our Interview Aikido training program, you can even use your new communication martial arts skills in these meetings!

Once you’ve completed that process, you should have a good idea of which way you want to go. (Don’t worry; you can always change your mind if it turns out to be different than you thought.) Now you are ready to get your resume done and put the petal to the metal in terms of activating your personal network (and your network’s network) to connect you to the perfect job for you.

Here’s what some clients are saying:

Charmaine: “I came to the session with a bunch of ideas and I left with more guidance, a focal point, and a clearer path. The career path is a continuous journey but I can say I am more on the right path!”

Maureen: “Everyone says networking is the best way to get a job, and I really had no idea how to do it effectively before. I am happy to say that I did get a job about a month after working with Katherine, and that is why I recommend them so highly. :)”

Jessica: “Katherine has been coaching me in wellness and professional development for over a year, and I have made fantastic progress in my career and health goals as a result. She is an excellent listener, makes astute observations, and offers practical feedback. Her strategic approach to creating breakthroughs and overcoming obstacles, combined with her support, is powerful.

Michael: “As a bonus, Katherine invited me to several networking functions that I would have never known about if it was not for her. Additionally, her colleague Michael (who is an encyclopedia of great knowledge and advice) set me up with a private meeting with the President of an esteemed federal consulting company geared exactly to the career and position I was hoping to acquire.“

If this sounds like what you need, contact us through the website to learn more. We can’t wait to help you free your soul from its workaday boundaries so it can soar in the job that’s meant for you.

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