The Zig-Zag Path to your Dream Job

Playing ball with my Grandpa Ted, 1977

In 1920, at the age of 20, my grandfather took an exam, obtained high marks and got a full time job at The Bank of Ireland.  He worked for the next 45 years in the same company, and then retired on a full pension.

This world is gone.

Today, job stability is gone.

Where do I start on this new career journey?  How do I find the job that is right for me?  What job can I get when I finish my studies?

There is no longer a HR department that takes over your career development as soon as you join a company.  You are your HR department.  You must manage your own development.  You must always be training yourself for the next step up.

We are rapidly moving towards a polarised world of producers and consumers.  There are those that produce, and there are those that consume.  If you are good at producing and keep getting better, you’ll do well.

The most important thing you can do is to become self aware.  What do you enjoy?  What type of activity do you care about?

If you just want to follow instructions, robots will replace you…

Sitting an exam, Photo: zeligfilm

Today robots and AI will allow any of us to easily and quickly find answers, create products or accomplish tasks fully supported by resources available to all.

In this future, it will become increasingly important for you to know who you are, and find a place of work where you can fully develop your strengths and your passions.

If you care about your job, you’ll do well.

If you don’t care about your job, you won’t learn, you won’t get better and better… and soon a machine will overtake your capacity to produce.

The only way to stay ahead of the machines: Care deeply about your work, about the people that it serves, about the skills you wish to develop to improve your capacity to deliver.

Where will you find the work that you care about?

What Suits You?

What career is right for me? This is not a topic that often comes up in school. Careerwiki says 51% of adults are not satisfied by their career… the younger you can choose work that fits you, the more likely you will have a satisfying career. How do I do this? Repeatedly answering a few simple questions about yourself will help you see the kinds of jobs you could thrive in.

  • What are your talents? What things do you do naturally and fluidly? These are things you do without even thinking and enjoy doing them.
  • What is your working style? Do you prefer flexibility or more structure to your work environment?
  • Where do you prefer to work? Close to home? A small office or large corporate building? Do you like or hate traveling?
  • What level of social interaction do you like while working? Do you like a team environment or prefer being an individual contributor?
  • How comfortable are you with visibility? Do you prefer to be on stage in front of others or working quietly in the background unnoticed?
  • How well do you handle stress? Some people thrive on it while others struggle when challenges arise in the workplace.

The Path of Regular Self Reflection

Nobody can choose for you, nobody can know you as well as you can know you… if you take the time.

Important warning…  this reflection can only be done if you are spending most of your time out of the house and engaged in the world.  If you are sitting on the sofa all week, you have no new experiences to reflect upon…  and no new reflections.

How to begin Regular Self Reflection

1. Write a journal

2. Identify Who you find Inspirational

Author: Conor Neill

Hi, I’m Conor Neill, an Entrepreneur and Teacher at IESE Business School. I speak about Moving People to Action.

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