3 Steps: How to Make a Career Joy List

When you’re job searching, the end goal seems fairly clear: get hired for a job. Period. But ask yourself this: do you just want any old job, or one that fulfills you and truly makes you happy? One way to achieve this is to make a career joy list. If you need some help getting your joy on, below are some tips to get you started.

1.Find the Joy from your Previous Jobs

Chances are, you’ve never held one job that met all of your needs (i.e., financial, emotional, flexibility, etc.). But probably one (or two) came pretty close. You’ll know which jobs those are when you think back on them fondly, or wish you could replicate a similar type of work experience like that one again.

So go over your previous jobs and make a list of all the various aspects of those jobs that made you happy. Maybe, after a string of micromanaging bosses, your previous boss respected you as an employee and gave you the necessary space to get your work done. Or perhaps the work you were doing aligned with your career goals. Write down all the bits and pieces of your positions that made you happy and keep these in mind while you’re job searching.

2.What Type of Flexibility gives you Joy?

Sure, you’ve had your fair share of office jobs and 9-5 gigs. But then you had that one job that allowed you to work at home on Fridays, which felt like heaven. One of the best ways to score some joy in your job is to have control over it, not the other way around. Being able to balance your personal life with your professional life is by far a direct link to work-life balance.

So, as you make your career joy list, be sure to add work flexibility to the list. What type of flex you choose is up to you; you might want a 100 percent remote job, or a part-time position might work for you. You might even consider a job share, or, if you are slowly on-ramping back into the workforce, a freelance or contract job might just be the ticket towards getting accustomed to working again. Take the time to determine what type of flexible schedule you want, though. Knowing exactly what you want can help focus and expedite your job search.

3.Discover Joy Outside of Work

Sometimes, the keys to a happy career have nothing to do with actual jobs you’ve held. Maybe you volunteered at a nonprofit and helped with fundraising. Part of making your career joy list is knowing what you love to do—even if no one is paying you for it. Thing is, you don’t have to keep your extracurriculars separate from your paying jobs. Include in your list the activities, projects, or hobbies that you’ve done (or continue to do) and include the specific aspects of them that you love. Then, look for jobs that incorporate at least some—if not all—of these things.

Making a career joy list is an excellent addition to your job search experience. It can help you to think outside the box about what you really want out of your job—and your life. So take the time to craft an honest career joy list and you’ll align yourself with positions that match what you truly want.

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