What Do I Want To Do When I Grow Up?

The question, "What do I want to do when I grow up?" and its brother, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" are usually asked tongue-in-cheek. Adults that are clearly old enough to be considered "grown up" are said to be "not sure what they want to do when they grow up" by friends and family when they describe why they made a job or career change. I grew up in a household where I wasn't often asked what I wanted to be, or do, when I grew up. And I don't remember having a passion around any specific job when I was a young child. When I got older and started working I learned there were jobs that I loved and jobs that I didn't love. Inevitably, there would be parts of every job that I loved, and parts of every job that I didn't love. There was no job that I loved 100% of the time, and none that I didn't love 100% of the time.

As adults, especially those in a job or career transition, we are trained to think of work in terms of a job. Instead, we think of tasks. Work is, after all, the sum of many tasks.

What tasks truly energize you? Jot down a list of these tasks.

Need some help identifying what those things are for you? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What tasks bring you the greatest sense of job satisfaction?
  2. What tasks are you never late on?
  3. What tasks or talents do others say you are an expert in?
  4. What tasks seem less like work and more like play?
  5. What were you doing the last time you totally lost track of time?

Once you know what tasks you really enjoy, it's time to assess your job-search. Are you applying for jobs where these tasks are present, where the skill to do these tasks are needed? Use your list as a guide. Look for jobs that have more of the skills you enjoy.