While a career contributes to your time on the planet in many ways, most people agree that it shouldn’t be the sum total of your life. If you work a regular full-time job, you get 128 hours per week to sleep, eat, be a romantic partner and parent, or participate in sports and entertainment. There are many, many possible career paths out there and a practically infinite number of possibilities. Your life can be one cohesive story if you fit your job in with your personal life rather than fighting with yourself to do it the other way around.
Tip #1 – Look to Friends and Family for Guidance:
Chances are, the most important people in your life are your friends and your family. These relationships should never be sacrificed for a job, so make sure that what you want to do fits with what you must do for a given profession. One example of this could be a desire to strengthen your marriage. To do that, you will need patience, love and understanding but also time basking in your spouse’s presence. To that end, you’ll need to find a job with hours that are similar to your partner’s hours, even if it means slightly less pay. It will be worth it in the long run because a happy husband or wife makes a happy, and productive, employee.
Valuable advice from loved ones should also be important in your career choices. Your friends might know even better than you do what you’re good at and what you can add to a group setting. You will miss out if you don’t ask for their opinions. Your friends may also plan vacations or extended weekends together, so being in the loop will allow you to spend even more quality time with them.
Tip #2 – Define Your Values and Put Them to Work:
As a wise man once said, variety is the spice of life. You are different from all other people and over your lifetime, have learned what makes you tick. An important step in finding a life-supporting career is defining your values and then finding money-making opportunities to match. Do you really, really like money? Affluence could be a value. Do you enjoy being part of a group? Belonging could be your personal value.
Other examples of values include creativity, altruism, integrity, helpfulness and justice. For example, a very caring person might find fulfillment in nursing while an adventurous person might love venture capitalism. If you can’t find anything that fits, remember that nothing is stopping you from creating something that does.
Make a conscious decision to live your real values and don’t let the desire for quick cash or easy job tasks get in the way.
Tip #3 – Network with Friends and Professional Contacts:
Most career advisors preach the importance of networking with professional contacts like school professors, former and potential coworkers, and people in professional associations. Gaining this habit is, in fact, very important in having an effective career. But, you may be missing the boat if you don’t network with friends and family members as well.
Those closest to you know best what you want and what is important to you. Use that as an advantage by asking them about companies near them or acquaintances they may have in your area of interest. Places like church, parent-teacher associations or social justice groups can also be network goldmines.
If you let your career be determined by your values, your family and your friends, you will be happier and have better self-esteem, which leads to creativity and even more acknowledgement of your worth as a human being. In the end, your life story will include all aspects of your life – including those 128 hours per week – so get on a path that will end in a coherent tale.
Also check out 10 Secrets to Getting Yourself Headhunted if you want the dream job to find you!
Author: Rebecca Palmer is a writer and musician native to Logan, Utah. She spent about five years in the newspaper business before accepting a position as a Staff Writer for Utah-based TechMediaNetwork and NorthOrion, its subsidiary. Image: Shutterstock.