Assessing Sense of Purpose
Rather than trying to name one perfect job, it's actually more fruitful to find the ingredients you need in a satisfying job, using clues drawn from your past, your previous choices, and responses to experiences you have taken part in. (That's why it is very valuable to try things out!) Instead of trying to narrow your goal to a single job title, try to identify a small number of possible career fields that you think you would enjoy because they have the ingredients you want. You will find meaningful, rewarding work and will be more flexible as the work world and your interests evolve.
Here are some tips to help:
To explore your options:
- Go to O*Net to compare jobs and to search for those that match your interests. Enter any job that might serve as a good starting place, and look at the related jobs that it suggests. Explore those, and the jobs related to them, until you have found a handful that you would enjoy.
- Look for insight through the choices you've made: how do you spend your free time when you feel the time is well-spent? When have your "peak experiences" occurred, when you became absorbed by an activity because it was deeply rewarding, fun or challenging? For example, what attracted you to your major?
- Sift through your past activities for ideas: make a list of the jobs, volunteer activities and leadership positions that you've had. For each, jot down 1) the aspects you enjoyed most about it and 2) the things you wish had been true about it (for example, if the hours were bad, note that you like flexible hours; if the supervision was poor, note that you like clear expectations and regular feedback). Comb back through your lists and choose your top 5 traits so that you're ready for the next tip:
Are you still confused?
- Consider taking the Strong Interest Inventory, which is offered free to students and alumni by appointment (phone consultations are possible). Email the Career Center to set up a time.