Stop the drift! Find the true path to your dream job!

Charge the Hill–take the vest!

                Have you reached the point where the dream job you’ve always wanted is so real to you that you can taste it?  You might not have it yet, but you know it is coming.  You’ve been smart about preparing for this:  you’ve got an emergency fund of 3 – 6 months; you’ve either: volunteered, interned, or talked to someone (extensively!) about what it’s like to be in that job!  It’s a surreal experience when you find yourself in the state of mind to go for the dream job!

I’m Ready!  Now what?

                Well first, you need to be sure you are able to do well at the job you are trying for.  It’s fine to know about the job, but if you didn’t do the intern or volunteer gig, you should do a quick assessment of your skills.  If you don’t have what it takes to get a good footing in the job of your dreams you should really consider that volunteer/internship idea.  A wee bit of education via a local or online college might be a good idea.

                Second, give your résumé another look.  Make sure it has your current skills and education updated and that your current job experience is listed.  Give your résumé the kind of face lift (an honest adjustment by the way) that matches what kind of job you are looking for.  This will make it easier for you to get hits on career search sites.

A long and winding road

                My career seems like an odd assortment of jobs whenever I look at it.  If I go back far enough the progression of it looks like this:

                (1) Paperboy

                (2) Pizza Place

                (3) Teacher’s aide

                (4) Children’s Museum worker

                (5) Substitute Teacher

                (6) Librarian

                (7) Substitute

                (8) Librarian

                And all I wanted to be during each and every one of these jobs was a writer.  The winding path that I have travelled on during those eight steps seems like a stumbling, unfocused, person.  Most—if not all—of these jobs are off from the actual act of being a writer.

                The funny, and somewhat sad part, is that the only person who told me I could never have it was me.

                How about you?  What career drifting have you done on the path to your dream job?  Feel free to respond whether you have your dream job, are just getting started, or find yourself somewhere in between.  I’d love to hear from you!

Claiming back your soul from the company store

                When I was a kid my Dad always sang in the car whenever we went anywhere.  He was born in 1941 so all the songs he sang were Doo Wop songs from the 1950s and early 1960s.  One song I remember him singing repeatedly is Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Owe my soul to the company store”.

As I prepared to write this post this song jumped into the forefront of my mind.  It got me to thinking about how this old song about an even older idea, a full surrender of your whole life to a single company to the point that you’ll never get out of debt, never have a decent life (just an acceptable one), isn’t as old fashioned as some of us might think.

                Lots of people from all walks of life around the world fail to plan when it comes to their career and end up in some job that they have just because they need a job.  It’s sad that we do this to ourselves—some planning and clear preparation can prevent each person from being stuck in a job they don’t love.

                John Maxwell once said, “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” This lack of desire to do well comes from this victim mentality that people have about work.  The idea that we can’t have the career we want is a fallacy.  If you want it bad enough you can get it: you’ve just got to work on it, sacrifice for a time, and with perseverance land the job you’ve dreamed of instead of settling for something that you feel trapped in!  And the problem with this trap is the longer you stay the less likely you’ll believe that you can ever get out.

The Python Principle

                Having a job that you feel stuck in soon feels like the life is being squeezed out of you.  If you don’t change your mind about your job, or change your job to the one you’ve always wanted, you might lose your mind as well as your chance to do what you’ve always wanted to do.  Now I’m not suggesting that you quit right now; it’s important to have a plan.  Have an emergency fund in place before you quit, and have a good reason to quit—several of them in fact.  In Jon Acuff’s book Quitter there’s a whole quiz you can take to find out if you’re ready to make the leap and if not, what you can do to get there.  It’s a good book and worth the read!

For those of you who’ve gotten the dream job, what advice can you give to those of us who are still trying to get ours?

By the way if you want to watch Ford sing the song I mentioned here’s a link: http://bit.ly/MfvrDl

Is your J-O-B making you M-A-D?

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Chances are if you’re reading this post either you, someone in your family, or someone close to you is unhappy at work. According to a recent survey by the Gallup poll you are not alone! Around the world only 13% of employees are happy at their job.

Why so Glum Chum?

So why are so many people disappointed at work? Is it the way the boss treats you? Are you missing some of the resources you need to do your job well? Maybe your just not being challenged enough to hold your interest. Whatever the reason this is an epidemic that is sweeping our planet and affecting the economy of each nation. Unhappy employees make less quality products, don’t stick around long, are less productive and talk negatively about their company to family and friends. Honestly I think that most of us are just in the WRONG job. We’ve chosen our current job because we:

1.   Just needed the money
2.  It’s a legacy job, meaning we inherited it from someone else.
3.  We blindly chose it based on some loose idea as to what we thought it was.

If we really examine ourselves and know what kind of things make us happy we can have the job of our dreams, and if we work hard at being good at it we can even make a pretty decent living.

The Science of Work Happiness

Those of us are happy in our job, which has not always included me, usually have a few things going for them that the rest of us do not:

1.Your job takes your full concentration
–  If you’re job doesn’t require your mind to be completely engaged then it has the opportunity to wander. A focused mind is a happy mind.

2. You’ve got a clear set of guidelines so you know exactly what you have to do.

– This is my biggest pet peeve:  when I start a new job or a new task the training session has a tendency to be minimal, leaving a lot left unexplained. Somehow I am supposed to be great at my job when you barely told me how to do it! Or worse: you tell me what to do than change the rules! Ugh!

3. You’re so engaged in what you’re doing you forget about time, yourself, and the fact you’re actually working!
– Time flies when you’re having fun right? Did you know work can be fun? I’ve had a good time here and there, but some people actually have fun all the time—even when the day is rough and challenging. When your attitude about your job is dependent on who you are (instead of how you feel at the moment) you have a better time when you’re there.

If you could have any job in the world what job would it be? What would it take to get you there?

Since most of us will have to stick at our day jobs for a while here are some useful tips from one of my favorite sites The Art of Manliness: “How to deal with your day job” http://bit.ly/1jLai2Q

Drifter – a person who is continually moving from place to place, without any fixed position.

Welcome to Drifter!

About 6 months ago I had an epiphany! I was reading a book I got for my birthday, Jon Acuff’s book Quitter, when I realized he was talking about me. Every sentence he mentioned about floating from job to job and never settling down to make your dream job happen was like someone slapping me on the back of the head and saying, “You hear that?!”. I got a taste for this idea, that I could be whatever I wanted in my life, and I had to have more. I went to visit some friends in Pennsylvania with my family and the epiphany continued. As my friend introduced me to Michael Hyatt’s books I realized that the dream job concept can extend to all areas of my life. Then and there Drifter was born: a blog about people like me coasting through life, not living up to their full potential because they feel held back by the idea that they can’t be that, or do that one thing they’ve always dreamed of—living to their full potential.

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When I Grow up I’ll be….?

One of my early experiences in High School was when my guidance counselor took me into an office, sat me down in front of a computer and showed me this cool program designed to tell you what you should be when you grow up. Now this is in the 1990s, so computers were not common in homes, so the fact that it could tell me what job to focus on was mind blowing. She showed me how to answer the questions using the keyboard then she left the room. After a few minutes telling it what conditions I want to work in the results for my career came up 0. My guidance counselor told me that’s not a possible response. It took the test 3 more times: same answer.

Don’t Let Anything Steal Your Focus

Many times in life we’ll have a goal, make a plan, and get set to make it happen; then someone offers a negative criticism, something tragic or upsetting happens, or a computer tells you that you have no job prospects and we get discouraged to the point that we lose our motivation. Like a deflated balloon we no longer soar but flop down and miss out. As humans we are social people and when something happens outside of ourselves, good or bad, it can affect our mood if we let it. This can have short term and long term consequences, even to the point that it can change the way we think about ourselves and our life’s purpose. That day in high school convinced me I was unemployable. I wanted to be a writer, but suddenly believed it was impossible, and lots of people told me that same thing.
Why we’re here

Drifter is a place for us to learn to reach our potential, change our wrong thinking, and reach our goals together.

How have you struggled or succeeded in finding your dream job?