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Find a job you like -- okay, how?
Old 03-26-2008, 09:59 AM   #1
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Find a job you like -- okay, how?

There are various threads that pop up periodically either about workers dissatisfied with their jobs/career path, or about kids choosing college majors. And frequently these threads include advice along the lines of "do what you love", "find a job you enjoy" or some such.

So, my question is, how the heck do you do that? Taking a current hobby and extrapolating a job from there seems questionable; from what I've seen, there is a good chance that will destroy your love of that hobby. Quitting your current job and trying others out in a different field is also pretty rough for those of us in the golden handcuffs crowd.

I've been through a number of career counseling books myself, but those really haven't helped me personally. I've also had a few different types of jobs (manual labor and white collar) over the years, but I haven't enjoyed any job I've had.

Are some people just going to be miserable working at a job, any job, just because of the way they are wired? Or is there something out there for everyone -- if so, how do they find it?
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:11 AM   #2
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Are some people just going to be miserable working at a job, any job, just because of the way they are wired? Or is there something out there for everyone -- if so, how do they find it?
I'm not sure I'd go so far as saying some people will never find a job/profession that doesn't make them miserable. However, I do believe some people never find their calling in life for whatever reason. Could be that they don't have the opportunity to seek it or the good fortune to discover it. Maybe you, like me, don't really have a career hot button.

I had several very different jobs in my 35+ years of working life and retired before discovering my calling: retirement.
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:27 AM   #3
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Are some people just going to be miserable working at a job, any job, just because of the way they are wired? Or is there something out there for everyone -- if so, how do they find it?
I dont think that is the case, either...I think some of it is about knowing yourself and the situation...for example, I have had some jobs that had a lot of flexibility and was contented for years finding problems and fixing them...on the other hand, my first job had several managers interfering with me getting anything done and wasnt very happy except for the working relationships that I made...didnt last long there...

Still, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best job)...maybe the average person is lucky to find 7s because it is still work
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:36 AM   #4
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Taking a current hobby and extrapolating a job from there seems questionable; from what I've seen, there is a good chance that will destroy your love of that hobby.
I agree.

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Originally Posted by Kronk View Post
Quitting your current job and trying others out in a different field is also pretty rough for those of us in the golden handcuffs crowd.
That's true. Personally, I would be reluctant to suggest that someone who is five or less years away from FIRE gamble on a new career. In most such cases, it is probably better to gut it out for a few more years and then once FI has been achieved, you can afford to walk away from the big bucks and experiment with other (low-paying or non-paying) options.

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I've also had a few different types of jobs (manual labor and white collar) over the years, but I haven't enjoyed any job I've had.
I don't know but possibly (?) you're expecting too much out of work.

Some jobs are pure drudgery, while others are more fun; but few, if any jobs, are 100% enjoyment. Even careers that are very glamorous or exciting tend to require lots of behind-the-scenes toil.
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:45 AM   #5
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I am one of the fortunate few who found what I believe is the perfect career for me. I was interested in the electric utility industry and at the age of 20, I entered a job classification that I didn't know anything about a few months before. It turned out to be perfect for the way my brain is wired. I served an apprenticeship and later switched companies to live and work in a more desirable location. The wages are about as good as it gets for a blue collar worker and I will probably go until age 62 unless something happens to ruin this sweet deal. I'm eligible for pension and retiree medical benefits at age 55 (in 4 1/2 years.)

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Old 03-26-2008, 11:12 AM   #6
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I'm not sure I'd go so far as saying some people will never find a job/profession that doesn't make them miserable. However, I do believe some people never find their calling in life for whatever reason. Could be that they don't have the opportunity to seek it or the good fortune to discover it. Maybe you, like me, don't really have a career hot button.

I had several very different jobs in my 35+ years of working life and retired before discovering my calling: retirement.
For now I know Life's purpose and its plan...
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:25 AM   #7
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Sometimes, a job is just a job and work is just work. Believe me when I tell you that even if you pursue your dreams, and find your dream job in your dream occupation, there is no guarantee that your happiness in that position won't be damped by lack of opportunity to advance, a less than desirable work environment, a crummy supervisor, or any one of a number of different factors.

Even worse, jobs change with time and what seemed great in the beginning can morph into a really bad job.

If you are within 10 years of ER, if a "better" job would delay ER, and if at present you are not stressed to the point of impairing your health, then I'd stick with it.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:28 AM   #8
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I'm not sure I'd go so far as saying some people will never find a job/profession that doesn't make them miserable. However, I do believe some people never find their calling in life for whatever reason. Could be that they don't have the opportunity to seek it or the good fortune to discover it. Maybe you, like me, don't really have a career hot button.

I had several very different jobs in my 35+ years of working life and retired before discovering my calling: retirement.


I was the oldest of 8 children my father had in the high elevation mill town that I was born in. (He was a logger, and worked until he was 70, and only left because he was forced out because of various injuries over the years).

I recall coming home on leave from the Marines after my first tour of duty in Korea, (With a stop over from 5 days in a Mash unit, and 3 weeks at Balboa Naval Hospital, re-habbing from a well placed round from an unhospitable North Korean)

In any case, back to the subject at hand. I went home on leave, and the morning I got back, got up early, and had a conversation with my dad, who was grumbling his knee bothering him, while he was getting ready to head out.

I remember asking him whether he liked his job. He looked at me like I had 2 heads. "Son, i've got a job that pays the bills. I like that."

Like my father, I never expected to "love my job", but I only had two children to worry about.

When I retired (20 years ago), I built a home on the rim of a canyon in the Sierras, a mile from my nearest neighbor.

Like my father, I never had a job that I loved, but I've enjoyed the hell out of the last 20 years.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:29 AM   #9
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Since work is something I have to do, I have never fully enjoyed it. The restriction of freedom has always made me mildy (sometimes strongly)resentful. I am very curious to see how my attitude changes once I achieve FI. Have other people found that being financial independence made working life more enjoyable?
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:45 PM   #10
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Even worse, jobs change with time and what seemed great in the beginning can morph into a really bad job.
That's right. And not only do working conditions change, but we do too (what seemed fun or at least interesting in the first couple of years on the job can be very boring after 10+ years of the same old tasks).
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Old 03-26-2008, 01:16 PM   #11
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I dont think that is the case, either...I think some of it is about knowing yourself and the situation...for example, I have had some jobs that had a lot of flexibility and was contented for years finding problems and fixing them...on the other hand, my first job had several managers interfering with me getting anything done and wasnt very happy except for the working relationships that I made...didnt last long there...
I think this is a reasonable approach if you can't find a specific job that matches your interests. Know what kind of person you are and find something that matches.

If you are a people person, things like sales, marketing, teaching, etc, work well. You also might do well in management.

As for me, I'm pretty sure I'd have a big problem managing poor performers or people who like conflict. I let things build up, then overreact. I've lost sleep when my manager asked for performance feedback on people I work with and I gave less than 100% positive reviews. So I knew not to go into management where I'd be dealing with that much of the time.

I look for work where I can bury myself heads down, or with a small team, and have flexibility in my hours, location, and how I get my work done. It almost doesn't matter what the actual work is if it meets that criteria.
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Old 03-26-2008, 01:54 PM   #12
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I don't think I'm looking for too much out of a job. At this point I would love to find something where I wasn't constantly aware of what time it was because I kept glancing at the clock. I never get caught up in my work and lose track of time because I am so uninterested in what I do. Basically, something where at the end of the day you are closer to "where'd the day go" versus "gods, I'm glad that's over".
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Old 03-26-2008, 02:17 PM   #13
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As for me, I'm pretty sure I'd have a big problem managing poor performers or people who like conflict. I let things build up, then overreact. I've lost sleep when my manager asked for performance feedback on people I work with and I gave less than 100% positive reviews. So I knew not to go into management where I'd be dealing with that much of the time.
[Threadjack]

I recommend reading Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations, regardless of your career path. Poor performance and conflict are things that must be dealt with in any job.

[/Threadjack]
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Old 03-26-2008, 02:27 PM   #14
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Thanks TickTock, I'll check them out.
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workplace happiness
Old 03-26-2008, 02:38 PM   #15
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workplace happiness

If you have a good boss and colleagues, it's amazing how much that can influence one's happiness on the job.
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Crucial Confrontations
Old 03-26-2008, 03:00 PM   #16
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Crucial Confrontations

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I recommend reading Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations, regardless of your career path. Poor performance and conflict are things that must be dealt with in any job.
I haven't read Crucial Conversations, but I did listen to part of the CD (audiobook) version of Crucial Confrontations.

I didn't listen to the whole set because I found the book to be boring, repetitive and not terribly helpful. Most of the text seemed to consist of rather pretentious references to the authors' "research", rather than practical information and advice.

That's my opinion ... others may differ!
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Old 03-26-2008, 03:32 PM   #17
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For me, I feel trapped and I won't let myself out. Why? Security...good benefits...a future pension. While I'm only 31, I already feel burned out from the Megacorp philosophy of pushing high performers in their late 20's to early 40's to the brink of mental and physical anguish. Do I love my job? No..Do I hate it... some days. Will I quit and go back to school to do something I think I might love like forensic science or culinary arts? Feels too late for that...I'm trapped...and the only bright light is LBMM and properly investing for the next 15-20 years so I can retire early and take on interests for the love, not the money.
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Old 03-26-2008, 03:35 PM   #18
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Find some tests that determine whether you are a "people person" vs. a "numbers guy" or whatever. Personality tests, Myers-Briggs, etc.

Then research what type of jobs INTJ's do, or whatever. Or, vice versa, find the job, and then figure out what kind of person would do well in it.

Just one avenue to persue.

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Old 03-26-2008, 05:57 PM   #19
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So, my question is, how the heck do you do that? Taking a current hobby and extrapolating a job from there seems questionable; from what I've seen, there is a good chance that will destroy your love of that hobby. Quitting your current job and trying others out in a different field is also pretty rough for those of us in the golden handcuffs crowd.

I've been through a number of career counseling books myself, but those really haven't helped me personally. I've also had a few different types of jobs (manual labor and white collar) over the years, but I haven't enjoyed any job I've had.

I don't think I'm looking for too much out of a job. At this point I would love to find something where I wasn't constantly aware of what time it was because I kept glancing at the clock. I never get caught up in my work and lose track of time because I am so uninterested in what I do. Basically, something where at the end of the day you are closer to "where'd the day go" versus "gods, I'm glad that's over".
What are you doing to get to the job that would make you happy?
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:19 PM   #20
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I look for work where I can bury myself heads down, or with a small team, and have flexibility in my hours, location, and how I get my work done. It almost doesn't matter what the actual work is if it meets that criteria.
That's one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoyed computer forensics. At the time it was a strange new field; once in a while the boss would come over and ask what I was doing. When I started to tell him, within 2 minutes his eyes would glaze and he'd go away.

There were three people in our office, one of whom I had worked with for 15 years and known for 20. We had flexible hours within a "core period", it was straight day work with weekends & holidays off - very important to me after not having that for 18 years. The location was an easy 15 minute commute. I only left because of foolish bureaucracy, which I have little tolerance for, and to much traffic gridlock in that area on my time off.

But the type of work does matter to me - I'd have little patience for anything I felt was "busywork".
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