If you are in a career transition because you lost your job, it might feel like a terrible loss, especially if it is late in your career. Even when it might appear as irreversible and unsurmountable, it is a repairable situation. As Dawson & Dawson refers, remember, you lost your job, not your talent or your career. Instead, it could be an optimal time for you to reevaluate what matters to you. Crossroads are great times in life to stop reevaluate what matters.

What about if instead of being a terrible thing, losing your job ends being the best thing that ever happened to you and your career? If you would be open to considering this approach, what are some possibilities for you? Maybe you disliked many aspects of your last job, or you were disengaged or even bored, and you were hanging in there until retirement? Then you realize now you have a brand-new opportunity to design your next career move based on what matters to you.

 “We all want to find a dream job that is enjoyable and meaningful, but what does that mean? The answer is inside of you”.

Imagine finding a job that fits perfectly with the way that you naturally are and the way you interpret the world around you. According to Webster’s Dictionary, something is ideal when it satisfies one’s conception of what is perfect and most suitable. An ideal job is not one fits all formula. Instead, it is very personal and particular to you.

Today, I am writing to you to describe the variables to consider when evaluating what makes a job IDEAL, and some questions to help you bridge the gap between the idea and the reality.

 “Finding your ideal job takes groundwork”.

Many studies have explored the components of an ideal job. I have divided them into intrinsic and extrinsic.

The Intrinsic variables are associated with you and the job itself. Who you are, your interests, personality, values, education, skills, and job experience are going to impact that type of work that you are considering. When you think about a particular job, evaluate the job scope, responsibilities, and requirements, and decide if they are in alignment with who you are and what matters to you.

The Extrinsic variables are external to you and the job itself. They encompass the work environment, rewards, company culture, and industry. The pandemic has made us aware of other external factors such as global events, political and socio-economic influences impacting the availability of jobs. We are witnessing entire sectors like travel and airline industries, collapsing or suffering painful contractions.

“Know Thyself while considering your changing needs and priorities due to age and life experiences.

YOU are the most relevant factor when considering what is ideal for you. As an individual, it makes sense to look for a job that is good for you: Your interests, personality, and values.

Interests are motivational factors, the activities that you enjoy doingand provide you with the most engagement. The more a job fits your interests, the more likely it will be satisfying and rewarding to you, and you will be better at it! For example, social is my highest interest. Social interests enjoy working with others to help them learn and grow. That is what I do as a Career and Leadership Coach. No wonder I love my job!

To explore your interests, I suggest taking The Birkman Method, which is a motivational assessment that provides information on ten interest areas and links those with jobs that people with similar personalities are successful. The O*NET Interest profiler is another source of occupational information to help you identify your top interest and the corresponding job titles.

 Questions to consider:

  • What type of work would you prefer to do?
  • What projects or activities interests you the most?
  • What job would you do for free?

Your KSA’s, Strengths, and Experience 

The first and most obvious step in a job search process is to identify positions that match your knowledge, Skills, Abilities (K, S, A’s), Strengths, and Experience. When weighing a particular position, consider how does match your qualifications. Know your strengths and be in touch with your gifts and talents to recognize the perfect job for you. An ideal position for you will allow you to make the best use of your talents, skills, and experience. It will also allow you to grow by offering you with challenging and exciting opportunities to expand your career.

 Questions to consider:

  • What would you write in your ideal job description?
  • What special knowledge and experience do you have that makes you unique?
  • What skills or personal qualities have you been complimented on?

Personality determines your motivation, how do you perceive yourself, others, and how you interpret your experiences. You will be more effective in having the personality and passion for being comfortable in your role, with a genuine interest in the tasks you will be performing. As an individual, it makes sense to look for a job that is a perfect fit for your style and approach. Let us say that you are very gregarious and extroverted. You will do better in a position that will allow you plenty of interaction with others, such as teamwork, taskforces, client meetings, and the like. Assessments are a great way to explore your personality and identify your working style and preferences when determining your ideal position. The most used personality assessments are Hogan, MBTI, DISC, Caliper, The Big Five, among others.

 Questions to consider:

  •  What is your preferred style of work?
  • Do you like to work with people or alone?
  • How do you approach novelty and change?

Career Values are what you get out of the work you do. When you are working on something that you believe in, you will feel more engaged and will experience more job satisfaction. Examples of career values are achievement, independence, recognition, relationships, support, and working conditions. These values are intrinsic to you and are very important that you explore the Company culture of the jobs you are considering to get a good fit with the environment. There are several tools to help you explore your career values.  My Plan Values Assessment is a card sorting system to help you identify and rank your most important career values.

 Questions to consider:

  • What values are important and non-negotiable to you?
  • Is it necessary that your employer values align with your own?
  • What is your most relevant career value for you?

I have presented the many intrinsic variables factors that help you identify your ideal job, or Person-Job Fit.: Interest, personality, career values, and your K, S, A’s, and strengths.  Now, I want to share some words about the Extrinsic Variables: Work Environment and Company culture, or Person-Environment Fit.

Work Environment.

An ideal work environment is your preferred atmosphere at work. Because of all the factors that make up an environment, everyone’s ideal work environment is different.

When describing your Ideal Job, explore what environmental characteristics better match with your personality, values, and interests. For example, with my strong social inclination, I prefer jobs that will allow me for plenty of interaction one-to-one and in group settings. When you find a good fit, you can expect to be more satisfied and more engaged.

Questions to consider:

  • What type of work environment has fit you best in the past?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
  • Do you want to work in a charged environment or a more evenly paced one?

In addition to evaluating if a particular job provides for the most desirable work environment, also consider the working conditions and company culture. 

Company Culture is the shared characteristic that makes up an organization’s workforce. It includes the shared values, goals, attitudes, and practices prevalent in an organization. Companies have different personalities, and you want to look for an organization that matches your personality.

Realize that a job description does not provide you information about what a real workday looks like and feels in a particular company. Explore the Company brand and evaluate your alignment with your personal brand.

 Questions to consider:

  • What do you value the most in a company?
  • Is a family-friendly environment important to you?
  • Do you prefer a small, medium, or large firm?

Total Compensation and Perks 

Compensation and Rewards are a critical component when determining your ideal job. Based on what stage of your life is, your needs might vary.

Questions to consider:

  • How much money do you want/need to make in your next job?
  • To what degree do you need to be recognized for your work?
  • What benefit coverage do you need?

It makes so much sense to look for a job and an organization that is a good fit for you. An ideal job provides congruence between you, the job, and the prospective organization. For you to identify the elements of an ideal job, you must take the time to stop and ponder what matters to you, intrinsically to the job, and also, extrinsically.

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