If you’re having orientation doubts – wondering what direction to take in your career- or job-life, it’s time to apply the lifestyle test. While many career counseling services encourage people to take a look at their passions or interests, rarely do orientation exercises take lifestyle concerns into account.
For example, you might enjoy doing logic puzzles or arguing, leading a career orientator to recommend lawyering as a career choice. But what if you have trouble working in an office? Don’t like authority? What if you love long vacations or would like to live in a variety of different countries? What if you don’t like long hours or have a passion for details?
A short conversation with most lawyers would quickly reveal that this line of work isn’t your dream job. Throw yourself down this road and years of hard work might leave you dissatisfied. Long hours, details, hierarchy and an office culture are endemic to lawyering. To avoid running down costly dead-ends, here is a quick lifestyle test you can apply to determine whether your passion of the moment will lead you to a fulfilling career.
It’s time to apply the “lifestyle” test to your interest areas.
Ask yourself these questions :
– How much money will you need in your future life? (What kind of house do you want? What kind of car? What kind of vacations?) When you’ve totaled that up, you’ll have an idea of the salary you’ll need to have the lifestyle you want.
– What kind of work life do you want? Do you want free time? Job security? Mobility? Do you prefer to be an employee or would you like to work free-land or as your own boss? Do you mind working long hours? Do you want long vacations? How much time will you need for your family life?
The job or career you choose should fit with these requirements also.
– Do you like to make decisions? Are you comfortable with assuming the stress of owning a business? Job security for entrepreneurs is dicey. Do you mind taking orders or having a boss?
– What kind of work environment do you want? An office? Do you like doing different things in a day? Do you like or dislike working with others?
With this information mapped out, you’re ready to see whether the interests, passions and career areas you’ve identified as possibilities correspond to your lifestyle desires. Afraid of making ends meet? Reconsider, then, the starving artist Rock band.
Don’t want a boss? Focus, then, on avoiding a structure with constraining hierarchies. Consider entrepreneurship, consulting, or working as a a contract worker.
If you’re unsure of the money or time/lifestyle constraints various career paths put on you, talk to some people who have these careers. Pick up the phone. Talk to as many people as you can. Want to be a sound engineer? Talk to one. Or do you think you’d like to write for a living? Talk to a few writers. People are usually very receptive when you seek out their advice!
Once you have a clearer idea of what type of lifestyle you’d like – financially, time- and liberty-wise, socially and in terms of job environment, it’ll be much easier to decide which path is for you.