It’s a little unbelievable that 18-year-olds are asked to choose a career path.
Whether it be joining the workforce or picking a college major, it’s a ton of responsibility to put in the hands of, well, a teenager.
It’s no wonder that sometimes we get it wrong.
On this #TakeOverTuesday, Noah Omri Levin, host of the Digital Marketing Life podcast, talks with Jennifer Joy Walker, author of Full Color Living and the forthcoming Full Color Work. Jennifer shares the key takeaways from her new book, including how to find a career you love as an adult.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Exploring your strengths and interests as an adult
- Finding a career in which you thrive
- How to tell if the problem is your job or something else
Exploring your strengths and interests
Tell us a little bit about Full Color Work.
Jennifer: Full Color Work is a book based on the process that I use with my clients.
We go through a process of discernment, so there’s a whole bunch of exercises included. I finally decided to give them a book they can use to work through it with me. It’s actually something that was also designed to be done by an individual on their own.
It’s wonderful to have a conversation partner if it’s not a career counseling situation. It could be a good buddy that walks through these questions with you. You ask a number of questions about things that help you make a decision about what direction to go in.
When I think about a career, I think about you standing in the middle of a 360-degree circle. Maybe, when you were in 10th grade, you had no clue what direction you wanted to go in or maybe you knew you liked math. That’s about it.
There’s a whole world out there. But as you move forward, the more you learn about yourself and the more you learn about the world outside, the more accurate you can be in terms of what direction you’re going to walk in.
Some of the things you want to think about are your own personality style and the interests that you’ve had over the course of your life. Your interest types, the topics of things that interest you. The kind of environment you want to be in.
There are so many different careers that are in entirely different environments. It’s not always an office. It could be a hospital. It could be on a ship somewhere. It could be almost anything. It helps to open your mind to what kind of environment you want to be in.
If there’s a strength that you have, then the ideal thing for you to do is focus on the one, two, or three strengths and find ways that you can use them in a work environment.
The Full Color Workbook is about that. It’s a workbook to help people think through and explore themselves and then help themselves get to a point where they know how to explore.
You don’t always nail it right away. You don’t always know exactly what the job is you want but you kind of know what general direction you want to go in and the more you head in that direction and the more you talk to people and the more you explore and the more you try, the closer you get to what you really want to do.
That’s been my experience.
When you don’t love your job
What if you find yourself in a job that you don’t enjoy?
Jennifer: That’s something that can happen too. You can become good at something you don’t like to do.
When I’ve worked with clients, I’ve often said, “Just because you’re good at it, doesn’t mean you have to do it.” I’ve seen people who put things on their resume that they’ve gotten skilled at but don’t like. I say, “Take it off your resume. Don’t market yourself to do this if this isn’t what you love. You’re not stuck with it.”
So, it’s more and more trying to move people into places where they’re going to thrive.
The other thing that happens when you’re given those opportunities is you have more of a connection to that organization. You feel more supportive of that organization. You feel more a part of that organization. You want that organization to succeed.
When you are being treated in that way, you’re valued as a contributor to that organization.
Think about what you need to do to make sure you are in a different situation whether it’s your own employment, your self-employment, or finding a different organization. Or, it’s changing your field because you’re really not where you want to be.
People will find themselves in careers that maybe they enjoyed one time or maybe they never enjoyed it. At one point, they finally say, “This really isn’t bringing me joy. I’m slogging away, I’m doing it for a paycheck and I’m not feeling great about it.”
That’s a normal thing. We grow as people. We change as people. We learn, we have experiences and that is just a message to say let’s start exploring again because maybe it’s time for a shift.
A generation or two ago, you could go into a job and you’d have your whole career there and you’d get the watch on the last day. You’d retire, that would be the whole story.
You know that careers aren’t like that anymore. People are shifting around and they will have maybe three different entire careers in their lives.
When the problem isn’t your job
What if the problem isn’t your job?
Jennifer: I have had clients come to me and say, “I’m really not happy. I need to change jobs.” They go through the whole process of discernment about themselves, what they’re looking for, their situation and say, “You know what? It’s not the job. I need to change my relationship to the job.”
People shouldn’t assume it’s the job. They really need to be thinking it through.
The other thing to do with failure is that it’s easy to just go along day-to-day and not rock the boat. Nothing really significant gets done that way.
When people have the nerve to try things and put themselves in the position of potential failure, that is often where great things come from.
Want to hear more from Jennifer? You can purchase her book, Full Color Living, here.