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When Looking For A Job, Trust Your Gut

I’m in full-on job hunt mode. I’m pouring over listings, sending out cover letters and networking wildly (in person and Online). As I...

I’m in full-on job hunt mode.

I’m pouring over listings, sending out cover letters and networking wildly (in person and Online).

As I mentioned last week, I love looking for work. So I find this process energizing rather than enervating. But even as a veteran of two career changes (with a possible third in the works), I still find myself making rookie mistakes.

I realized this the other night when I was out for drinks with a group of parents from my daughter’s class. I got to chatting with one of the Dads, a journalist who works for a financial news outlet. I told him that I was looking for work and asked him to keep an eye out for any positions that might open up at his company.

“Do you like finance?” he asked.

“Not really,” I said. “But I know something about it and could definitely do it.”

He frowned. Only moments earlier, I’d confessed to the entire group that I’d almost stayed home that night to watch the first episode of the season on Glee. And as we all know, that’s normally the sort of thing I leave social engagements to do.

“You should write about musical theatre,” he observed. “It’s always best to do what you love.”

How right he was. In fact, it’s precisely the same advice I always give to others when they consult me on career change: figure out what you like and what you’re good at and where those intersect. Harder than it sounds, but well worth the effort.

While I don’t think a career as a West End musical critic is in the cards for me right now (much as I would adore it), this fellow did remind me that it’s really important to keep my eye on the prize: not the jobs – like financial journalism – that I *should* apply to because I’m qualified for them. But the jobs that I want to apply to because I’m passionate about them.

In other words, as with so many things in life, beware the dreaded SHOULDs.

How fortuitous then, that the following video popped into my Inbox this morning (sent to me by the very same journalist-friend in question.) It’s from a new company based here in London called Escape The City, a self-described community of “talented professionals who ‘want to do something different.'”

On its About page, Escape The City features a motivational video called Start Something You Love. I must have watched it about three times this morning and sent it on to a few friends as well. (You gotta love the guy who dumped his job as a hedge fund manager in London to become a Galudo Beach Lodge manager in Mozambique.)

Sounds great but how do you start? If you’re one of the millions of people out there who’s having trouble figuring out what it is that you really want to do with your life, here are four tips for determining your dream job, courtesy of Susan Cain over on Quiet: The Power of Introverts. I’d seen some variation on the first three ideas before. But I’d never seen the last one – which is to pay attention to what makes you cry.

I’ve been thinking about it all morning.



Image: vacancy by digitalpimp via Flickr under a Creative Commons license




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  1. daryl boylan September 26, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    I liked best that you remember hard what you really wanted to be/do when you were a kid. I wanted to be the girl Lone Ranger — or possibly Batgirl (never Catwoman). Wild make-believe adventures — so maybe I should have grown up to be the female Michael Chabon. Didn’t, but I can still dream.

  2. Delia Lloyd September 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    ha! I wanted to be the person (I imagined) who sat at the bottom of the toll booth collecting and organizing the coins…don’t know quite what to do with that…

  3. Howard Baldwin September 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Delia, we were having this same conversation at our writer’s group meeting last Friday, as one of the members is in a similar position as you — great credentials, great talent, but what to do? His question was, do I go for what I love or go for the money? Our answer was to try and do both.

    The big question is: are you the major breadwinner in the family? Or can you really take on the life of an arts critic? Or can you find a great income and do the art critiques on the side? Several of us noted that after spending the day writing for the income, it was really hard to switch gears and … start writing again.

    People say, do your personal writing in the morning, but those of us who have clients and contacts in easterly time zones don’t always have that luxury.

    We await updates on your search eagerly.

  4. Delia Lloyd September 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    ah, love vs. money – the eternal question. I don’t think I could ever take a job just for the money. I have to be engaged or it just doesn’t work. And no, I’m not the primary breadwinner, though we definitely need 2 salaries if we are to stay in London (as we would like.) So both things will likely come into play. Whatever I do, I hope to keep the blog alive so that I’ll have a creative outlet. Thanks for your support, Howard!


  1. Delia Lloyd: 5 Tips for Job-Hunting - May 10, 2012

    […] me to think about the following three things when deciding whether or not to take a job: a. Are you passionate about what you’ll be doing or do you at least find it sufficiently interesting? b. Does the job fit your lifestyle vis […]

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