A note from our founder and CEO:
For many of us, growing up is a time of exploring ideas and our relationship to life – to others around us and the universe in which we live. It’s a big and complex universe with an enormous number of choices to be made. Many of us spend the first 25+ plus years of life just figuring out which choices will aid our survival the most (and which ones are most harmful).
Most schools emphasize getting to college as soon as High School is done and that often means entering the full time workforce at the age of 22, 23 or later. And it can be a big parental (and personal) disappointment when you discover that you actually dislike the kind of work for which you have been trained – at enormous cost. And if you graduate with debt the shock and disappointment can be personally devastating.
How can you know what you love to do, until you do it?
So finding the job, the work you love, is a bit tricky. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem. How can you know what you love to do, until you do it? You may find that even the greatest job at the best company in the world can send you into your pillow crying if your boss is mean. Or you may find the menial tasks of your chosen profession drive you to a boredom not experienced since Middle school.
The days of going to work for one employer in one city, in one trade or profession are gone. The odds are very good that you will not work any one place for 30 years.
Job sampling, and temporary work, in today’s “gig” economy is the most beneficial way for you to find out:
- Where you want to work
- What kind of work you really enjoy
- How your skills can be best deployed to help an employer
- How and where you get the most personal job satisfaction.
Work is no longer just about the paycheck
For the first decade of working, I had no idea what kinds of jobs I loved, so I sampled multiple jobs, employers, and job types. From highly technical and precise map making, to highly imprecise and social sales jobs.
Prior to creating Peak Performers, I had jobs in…
- A car wash, making dirty cars clean (until the next time it rained)
- Mapping possible hydroelectric dam locations
- Selling Persian, Turkish and other exotic rugs and expensive carpets
- Selling electronic stereo equipment and home electronics
- Mapping the back side of the moon
- Analyzing the right level of staffing for large plywood manufacturing plants
- Grinding steel plates in a machine shop (that lasted one day)
- Selling insurance and annuity products to elderly people
- Helping people with disabilities develop work skills
- Helping minority and women owned small businesses get government contracts
- Helping low income and minority workers get re-trained and placed into new careers
- Helping older workers get trained to change occupations and helping minority youth access the workforce
I finally settled on helping people with disabilities develop work skills as my ideal type of work. That was after having 15 jobs! Some lasting years and some only months.
To give another example: our family dentist began his post-university career as an electrical engineer. He is a highly social person who likes talking to patients. Electrical engineering was not a good fit, to say the least.
No one really knows what they LOVE to do until they have done some various things.
No one really knows what they LOVE to do until they have done some various things. Employers are no longer expecting you to give them your whole life and they are no longer guaranteeing you a lifetime job. That’s a good thing for people seeking a well-balanced, happy and prosperous life because you don’t want to commit for the next 30 years either.
So, looking at the reality of today’s job market, all jobs are, in effect, temporary. And you as a candidate can make the best of this opportunity to look around and sample different jobs, in different sectors for different employers until you find the job you LOVE.
The whole box of chocolates might look inviting, but there will be one in the box that’s better than all the others. It’s up to you to find it.
-Charlie Graham, founder and CEO of Peak Performers