July 22, 2013, 8:29 PM — How often have you heard this rosy little piece of career advice: "Do what you love! You'll never work a day in your life!"?
And it's usually uttered by someone who is already living the dream, a person who never actually tells you how to accomplish said goal.
At a time in which 70% of U.S. workers consider themselves checked-out of their jobs, this is news we all can use.
Yet as fantastic as it seems, management professor Monique Valcour said the seemingly impossible is, in fact, possible. And she's sharing the steps you need to take to make it happen.
"The keys to crafting a sustainable career are knowing yourself — what interests you, what you do best and not so well, what energizes you — and being acutely attuned to the fields and companies you're interested in, so that you can identify places where you can add value," Valcour writes.
She says the sunshine-and-rainbows career brigade is missing one critical consideration:
"The 'follow your passion' self-help industry tends to under-emphasize this key point: all of the self-awareness in the world is of little use if you can't pitch your passion to a buyer," Valcour notes. "A sustainable career is built upon the ability to show that you can fill a need that someone is willing to pay for."
This strategy is not just for finding a new job, she says. You can also improve and mold your current position into a better one.
Here are 5 keys to creating a meaningful, fulfilling career:
- You're in charge of crafting the career you want. Don't wait around for someone to swoop in and do it for you.
- Log the ways you help your employers every week. Valvour says just 5-10 minutes a week "will soon yield a rich archive of material that you can use to deepen your self-awareness, hone your career goals, and document your value."
- Tie your achievements to your career goals and develop solid relationships with people who can help you obtain more opportunities to do so.
- Understand what drives your organization's competitiveness in the marketplace and ensure you contribute to that.
- Work with people who energize you.