Is your job your perfect work “soul mate?” Does it feed you in ways that go beyond money? This post is about finding your work soul mate – that job that seems to be made and meant for you. Let me be clear. Falling in love with your job is not a bedtime fairytale. It is quite real. However, unlike most bedtime fairytales, your soul mate job won’t show up at your door atop a white steed or decked out in flowing ball gown complete with glass slippers. No. You will likely have to climb that tower wall, defeat the evil queen or slay the fire breathing dragon to get that perfect soul mate job. In other words, you’re gonna have to work for it (no pun intended… o.k. maybe a little).
In the previous post, I set the stage for finding one’s romantic soul mate. Building on the same three components of a romantic soul mate (friends, passion and partners), consider what job scratches that itch for you.
Work Soul Mate Criteria
FRIENDS – A job that fulfills this category should have the natural fit and comfort of a close friend. Consider the following questions as you examine your job: Is everyday easy and fun? Can you spend days and weeks on end going into work and feeling comfortable? Does the environment feel “easy”? Do you feel known? Is the workplace culture your version of “home?” If you answered yes to most, if not all, of the above, you can check off the “friend” box.
PASSION – The perfect soul mate job is no different than a romantic soul mate in this way. There should be a natural attraction to the perfect soul mate job. Do you feel drawn to the job? Do your eyes light up when you talk about it? Do you think about the job on the weekend – not because you have to but because you want to? When I’m coaching clients searching for something more and they start talking about their ideal “soul mate” job, the energy in the room changes. They smile, they actually begin to talk louder and there is a distinct twinkle in their eye. There is something magnetic about the soul mate job. It often connects to a mission or purpose that you feel drawn to. You want to be part of it… close to it. What mission or purpose do you find yourself constantly drawn to and talking about?
PARTNERS – The perfect job isn’t all that different from finding a solid romantic partner. Just like the ideal romantic partner, the perfect job recognizes and honors your strengths and needs. In other words, it leverages what you are uniquely good at every day AND it gives you plenty of run way to grow and build something. Oh, and don’t forget, it pays you enough to meet your needs outside of work. You can pay your bills. Are you using your strengths every day, have opportunities in front of you and make “enough?” If so, you found a partner in your job… a rare thing.
The challenge in finding a “soul mate” job is that it must meet all three criteria. It has to have the comfort and fit of a “friend,” the excitement and attraction of “passion,” and the mutually beneficial traits of a “partner.” No easy task.
The Angry Trainer from the Gym
WARNING: Like the angry trainer at the gym, the following is not “nice.” You may be offended, angry or resistant. And like the trainer at the gym, I care about where I want to see you go, not about how unhappy you are with me along the way. You’ve been warned.
Look at your job right now in a completely naked and honest way. I don’t want to hear any excuses or explanations. Simply state the truth – raw, real and gut-level honest truth about your job. Answer the following:
- Is your job a good friend? Is there a comfort and fit that just feels natural?
- Do you have passion for your job? Do you find yourself excited to talk about what you do? Are you on a mission?
- Are your needs getting met at work? Are you using your strengths, do you have plenty of room to grow and are you fairly compensated for your efforts?
What questions did you say “no” to? What’s missing? Before you start making excuses for why it’s o.k. that your job is missing X or Y, let me stop you. Just like people, jobs rarely change. They are what they are in all of their imperfections. Hear this: you have permission to want more. You deserve and can get more. You have to believe that for any change to happen. If you don’t fundamentally believe, consider how your life is likely to play out.
YOUR FATE IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE
Deep down, you don’t believe you deserve more. Fear, uncertainty and a lack of confidence swirl around in your head. As a result, you choose to stay in your current job convincing yourself that “it really isn’t too bad.” Years pass. Opportunities pass. One day, you are called into your boss’ office. Your job has decided that you are no longer good enough and you are let go. Now, years later, you are left to search for your perfect job on someone else’s timeline, not yours. You become scared. You tell yourself that you can’t get your perfect job while you are unemployed and you must play it safe. After all, you need a job, any job. You search for and find an identical job to your previous one. Safe, unfulfilling and soul-numbing. You resign yourself to the reality that this is and will be your life.
One night during dinner, your nearly grown children bring up the topic of careers. Your guidance to your children is that work is not supposed to be fulfilling. Life is all about doing things you don’t like. You convince your kids to not go for their work soul mate because the probability of failure is simply too high. Workplace “happiness,” you continue, is a fairytale for the naïve. Safe is good. As a result, you succeed in sufficiently suffocating your children’s aspirations and ambitions before their careers begin. Denying themselves of who they are and are meant to become, they march down the same safe path you did. They live the same painful life you enjoyed. Well done.
If you don’t believe, that will be your fate. The time is coming to make change, but it starts with your beliefs about what you deserve and what you are fundamentally capable of. I invite you to believe. To that end, I want to be crystal clear. The road ahead is rocky, rough and full of fear and uncertainty. Your perfect job is waiting but you can’t get it without paying a price. Are you ready?
No excuses… Now hop off that treadmill.