Notebook open on a desk with a pen and laptop

If COVID-19 has made you consider whether you have a future in the career you are currently in, there’s no time like the present to think about what else you might excel at.

One way of thinking about a future career is to recognise the main reasons why you like your current job. Most attributes that people find important fall under seven categories, and what’s most important to you will depend on your circumstances and personality:

  • the enjoyment of day-to-day work
  • the impact on others and society
  • life outside work, for example being able to live in the place you choose
  • having a short commute and family life
  • gaining security & earning money
  • using your current skills, abilities and talents
  • developing your skills, abilities and talents

Which three do you think are the most important and think that you would miss if you didn’t have the same opportunities?

You can also be more specific in thinking about what you like about your job. For example, you might enjoy:

  • The ability to leave work at the end of the day without it bleeding into home life so you can spend quality time with your family.
  • The way you are pushed out of your comfort zone to learn new things.
  • Having you think on your feet when things go wrong.
  • Being part of a company that values your need to progress and develop new skills formally.
  • Being able to put your talents to good use and being seen by others as having a unique expertise.
  • Seeing new talent that you are mentoring grow into something you never expected.
  • Seeing a project through from beginning to end, and the satisfaction it gives you on completion.
  • Being able to bring people’s ideas into something tangible.
  • Seeing people getting better and recovering.
  • Encountering people from all walks of life.
  • Working for a company with an ultimate goal which underlies any work they do.
  • The ability to work on your own, organising your own time, with trust from your line manager.
  • Working in a team with lots of different skillsets, where there’s value in what everyone has to offer. 
  • A flexible working day.
  • The ability to travel and see the world.
  • A varied, fast-paced environment.
  • The challenge of encountering problems and working to solve these. 

Thinking through what you like about your current career and job gives you the ability to assess new opportunities later. For example, if you are thinking about a complete career 180 and you currently work in publishing, your favourite aspect might be nurturing the relationships you have with authors and developing new relationships. Equally, you might not enjoy sitting at a desk in an office and working your way through your never-ending admin pile. These insights might lead you to consider a career in counselling, with seeing clients improve their mental health and nurturing relationships with them being your main focus.

It can also help you answer the questions you’ll ask yourself when thinking about whether a new position is right for you. For example, does your new position give you the ability to manage your time and workload flexibly around the needs of your family?

In this way, you should also think about what you don’t enjoy in your current career and job. This can also help you filter jobs and careers that may be unsuitable for you. What do you like the least about your current job?

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