How to Find the Work You Love – Even in a Down Economy

In today’s economy, most people who are employed are glad to have ANY job – even if it is one they hate or feel unfulfilled in.  Because having ANY job is better than having NO job, right?

If this describes you, do you just resolve yourself to wait until the economy gets better before making a career switch?  Or is there something you can do now – TODAY – to find the work you love?

And if you’re unemployed right now, do you just take ANY job that comes your way, or can you really find your dream job in today’s environment?

Here are Four Things You Can Do TODAY to Help You Find the Work You Love in a Down Economy – whether you’re currently working or not:

1.  Build Your Personal Network – Today, with all the social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace, it is easier than ever to build your personal network.  That old roommate from college, whom you haven’t talked to in 15 years, just may know someone who has open positions that you’re looking for.

I’m not sure if it is still true today, but a few years ago, I read that only 12% of the jobs that are available are advertised.  The rest are promoted, and found, by word-of-mouth.  I know that’s been true in my own life.  Several of my previous jobs were not advertised.  In fact, some were created just for me.  I’ll tell you more about that another time.

So take the time to connect with old friends and acquaintances.  Let people know what kind of job you’re looking for.  Chances are, someone you know knows someone who is looking for you!  In fact, I just called a friend a few days ago to ask if they knew of anyone who could do some work for me.  They immediately had a person in mind, and I connected with them right away.

2.  Volunteer for a Cause or Organization You Care About – If you’re unemployed, or under-employed, a great way to build your network, use your skills (or learn new ones), live your passions, and find your dream job, is to volunteer for an organization or cause that you care about.

It could be your place of worship, a community or civic group, or another non-profit or non-governmental organization.  There’s always a chance that you might be hired by the organization you’re volunteering for.  That has happened to me on four occasions!

But even if that doesn’t happen for you, you’re now in a place where you’re doing what you love for a cause you care about.  You feel good about yourself and have a renewed sense of energy, making it easier for you to do the job that pays the bills, but you’re not so excited about.  And you’re meeting interesting people and building your network of connections.

3.  Take a Good Look at Yourself – Now is a great time for a little self-assessment.  What are your unique skills and abilities?  What are your personality traits?  What are your values, dreams, and passions?

Taking the time to know who you are and what you want out of life will help you in every aspect of your life – not just your career search.  Don’t make the mistake of just settling for the job you went to school for (if you don’t like it anymore), or the one you thought would pay the most money.  There is no lasting fulfillment in that.

Check out my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design for strategies to help you assess your current reality, identify your skills, abilities, and personality traits, and clarify your values, dreams and passions.

4.  Start that Business You’ve Always Wanted – If you’ve aspired to start your own business someday, either full or part-time, that someday is TODAY!  It has never been easier to start something small and grow it big…whether it be retail sales, consulting, Internet sales, services like cleaning or cooking, etc.  Lots of websites offer help in how to do this.  Even the government does, through the Small Business Administration.

Which one of these tips, to help you find the work you love, have you tried?  Or which one sounds like something you want to do? Why or why not?

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