Six Steps to Finding Your “Ideal Occupassion”

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 21, 2007

By Marlene Wallace / Guest Columnist

What do you want to be when you “grow up?”

Somewhere between our childhood aspirations of becoming superheroes, professional athletes or ballerinas – and our college graduation – we’re expected to make this major life decision.

The Department of Labor’s latest studies tell us that employees change positions every two years, companies every three years and even industries every four years.

Apparently, we can’t expect to remain with one company forever anymore.

Additionally, company paid pensions are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, so we may as well use the considerable amount of time we invest in our careers doing something we enjoy.

Po Bronson, author of “What Should I Do With My Life,” offers a few pertinent tips in finding your true calling or “occupassion.”

Don’t wait for clarity. Epiphanies are rare and your “big moment or sign” may never come. Sometimes the obstacle isn’t that you don’t know what makes you happy, but that it’s hard to imagine that what you love could be a profession.

If you aren’t happy, don’t stay. Does the job compromise your core values, impinge on your quality of life or impact your health through constant fatigue or insomnia?

These are signs to begin a career search.

Ask yourself these questions to get started on finding your “occupassion.”

How do I spend my leisure time? List the community and volunteer activities you are involved in. Note: If you’re so overworked that you don’t recognize the word “leisure,” list the ones you were involved in or would like to be involved in, before your life became so unbalanced.

What achievements have I accomplished in these activities, and what skill sets did I use in these achievements?

A good example would be a fundraising committee chairman which involves sales, customer service, project design, public relations, etc. – you get the picture.

List separately which skill sets you used the most and enjoyed the most, and then consult the Dictionary of Occupational Titles at your local library or visit a career management firm to identify occupations where these skills lie.

Now, your wheels are turning and you’re on your way