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How long does it take to find your ideal job? (if you've found one)

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Pursuing a rewarding career seems to take forever through trials and error.
How long does it take to figure out what's the best fit for you?

Thanks in advance!

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Karen’s Answer

Actually I have found many ideal jobs!  I think the reason for this is to remain open and flexible in trying new things which also can be very rewarding.  I'd suggest starting in a position that sounds interesting to you.  Keep in mind that all jobs have pros and cons.  By knowing what your priorities are (flexible hours, work that impacts others, salary, benefits, etc.) you can focus on the fact that you're in a position that allows you to address your priorities.  After giving a position enough time, preferably a year, you can try something else.  Meanwhile take advantage of volunteer opportunities which will give you insight and experience in a variety of fields.

When I retired, I took on volunteer positions for quite a variety of organizations which I had never experienced before including assisting at a kindergarten, program for refugees, mentor to a woman in prison, food server to the homeless and write articles for several nonprofits.  I feel like once again I am in an ideal job!

Thank you for sharing! C L.

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Liann’s Answer

Hi, this is a great question. For most of us when it comes to work, we will spend the majority of our time doing whatever job we choose, so it is important to find a career that you love.

What I have discovered is that the "ideal job" can be something totally unexpected, by looking at how you view the "ideal job" from a different angle. For example, I work in HR, but within that I actually work on a team that does project management work. For me this means, I try to bring in new technology and processes to help my team work better and faster. My work helps these people, and I love helping people! Further, I like to be creative which I wouldn't have thought would be a big part of HR, but I am designing what a new process will look like, creating slideshows, etc. all the time and that allow me to show off my creative side! Then I get to train people on these new processes I helped create, and I really like training people because again it means I am helping them get work done faster or better! Another BIG piece of the "ideal job" puzzle for me, was realizing just HOW important the PEOPLE I work with are. Do I love all of the actual little tasks I have to complete? Not always, but when I feel like I am surrounded by coworkers I get along with and management that truly wants to help me learn and grow as a person, that is the best job/career I could ask for, because I have to spend SO MUCH time with them. I hope this helps!

Liann recommends the following next steps:

Try asking people you know who are in a career already what they love about it, not just the actual work itself, but the environment of the industry, company, etc.

Liann, Thank you so much for your detailed response! I'm glad you've found a career you enjoy! C L.

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Kavita’s Answer

Consider finding out the answer to this question to find out the answer to your original question—Is the ideal job that you have in mind related to what you love doing as a career, is it something that accommodates growing demands of life, or both?

If the ideal job that you are talking about is a career, then the length of time it takes to find it depends on if you know what you are passionate about or the field of interest. It also depends on the company that you work for and their policies. A lot of companies these are looking into flexible working options and many other policies that enable them to hire a wider talent pool. Finding the company that you want to stick to until you retire is up to you and how you want your career to grow.

If the ideal job is something that accommodates the growing demands of life, then it will take awhile as changes in life are never certain and things might not pan out as intended. In this case, I’d say that your “ideal” job at every phase in life will have to be adaptable situations that arise. Sometimes you will have to be adaptable, and sometimes the ideal job needs to accommodate your needs.

Also, knowing your priorities is essential. It will help you steer things better in your career and/or in your personal life.
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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Cindy!

The answer to this question can greatly vary from person to person. However, I'd love to share my experience. When I graduated college, I knew I wanted a career in Human Resources but I wasn't quite sure what type of HR (there are so many sub fields). I started in Recruiting, as that was the field I was most familiar with. It wasn't a fit so I decided to take a path that might lead me in the direction of a HR Generalist. I took a career as a Recruiting Coordinator, hoping to make my way up. While I was in that position, I had the opportunity to work on a project in HR Systems. I fell in love! I really had no idea what HR Systems was at that point, so if it wasn't for that opportunity, I wouldn't have known that's what I wanted to do. Sometimes it does take a little trial and error, exploration and being in the right place at the right time. I hope the best for you!
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Jena’s Answer

Hey Cindy,

It took me a few years to find my ideal job. I went to school to pursue a medical career, but worked in HR in immigration to help pay for school and fell in love with it. I would have never thought this is where I would end up so I would suggest keeping an open mind and try to experience a few internships or jobs while in school. Evaluate the job traits that most interest you: do you like to be on your feet all day, do you like fast moving jobs, do you like constantly learning new things, do you like stability? Once you can answer these questions try to find a job that will match it. I use to think of HR as boring and stagnant, but after researching it and working in a few parts of HR, I know this is not the case. I need a very fast pace job that requires me to constantly learn, and I found this in immigration.