When we think of the Perfect job most of us know this part intuitively, but ask any success trainer and you will hear that there is great power in putting pen to paper. I would suggest you write this out INSTEAD of typing it, at least at first. Type it later if you want.
The perfect job is like the perfect you, an ideal to strive for, an unreachable target, and the ultimate result. Our lives can be a journey in this direction. This is an opportunity to set the direction of our work life and establish some dreams and ideals that will sustain us on the journey. It is something you would love so much that you would probably do it for free if you didn’t need the money! These results will also provide a valuable tool for deciding between the various jobs that appear. We will ask “Which of these choices of jobs will take me closer to my Perfect Job?” And the answer MAY NOT BE the one that pays the most or is closest to home.
A good exercise to get ready for this is to expand some of our favorite achievements to discover the underlying threads that will hint at the elements of the Perfect job. We have created a special exercise that will help you discover several of the very important things about yourself. This exercise is included at the end of this part of the program.
Get prepared with a pad of lined paper and writing instruments and most importantly, time when you will not be disturbed. Before you write anything you are going to let a picture form in your mind. We are not in a hurry on this. It could easily take 20 or 30 minutes to see all of the details. without any regard for how I would ever achieve such a position, no worrying about what education I would need or where I might have to go to get there. Let your mind dream of the perfect job for you.
There are no limits. Imagine a Genie from a bottle granted you a wish to have the perfect job and now all you have to do is let your mind paint the picture of what that might be for you. It could be anything and anywhere. Indulge yourself in allowing your mind to answer the question fully and completely. Or, imagine it is where you will be in 25 years, nice and far into the future, long enough that nearly ANY dream could come true.
Now, the first step is to write this out in your own words. Be descriptive; give details where possible and “Paint a Picture” The more details and information you paint, the better.
These questions may help:
What kind of work am I doing?
What industry or focus is involved? What kind of product or service?
What technology am I using or creating?
How big is this company? Is it a world leader head office, or a smaller family owned business?
What kind of culture? (professional, family like, casual, driven, money and success oriented, job satisfaction oriented, loosely organized, tightly structured, rewarding individual success, rewarding team success?)
Do I have a Mentor? (teacher, coach)
Am I a Mentor?
What am I learning? How am I growing?
What am I teaching? To whom? How? (by lessons or by example?)
Am I in charge of something or well placed on a team?
What is my main role? Why do I love my work?
What happens every day that interests me?
What makes me proud of what I do?
If another job came along that paid more money, why would I probably stay anyway?
Do I get bonuses for my performance? Is there travel involved? How much and to where?
When I tell people what I do, what do they say? Do I care what anyone says?
(The last question is exactly where it belongs in this exercise – LAST!)
How much money do I earn? Are there bonuses or incentives? How many weeks of holidays?
Congratulations!! You have created a powerful tool! This is also a never ending document as it can change with time and be added to and improved on a regular basis.
However, what we have now is a picture of an eventual GOAL for yourself to aspire to and achieve.
Let me show you how it will help you.
Firstly, you now have a lot more questions to ask prospective employers.
You will be much more able to recognize the right job when it comes along.
If we are not ready for this Perfect Job, it will be much easier to decide which jobs will lead you in the direction of the Perfect Job.
I would also like to deal with an issue that this exercise may bring up and that is DESPAIR. The job hunting process is challenging and can be very hard on the job hunters spirit. You may have been looking a long time, no one is calling, you are too old, too young, too experienced , not experienced enough, under qualified, over qualified, too good looking, too plain, too skinny, too fat etc. etc.
I am here to tell you that you have to look past these things. If there are obstacles, you have to overcome the one at a time. You may have to start at a job that is not anywhere near perfect.
How do you use The Perfect Job?
You can now more easily deal with:
What jobs can I search for right now that will lead towards my Perfect Job?
Do I need more education?
Where do I start? What work environment will lead me in this direction even if it takes years?
Comparing jobs is now much simpler. Which job is closer to or will lead me towards my perfect job?
You use it to keep our dreams alive, one of the most important elements of life in general. No dreams – No Hope, no Hope- no reason to go on, and this is more important than anything else.
You may accept the same job without doing this exercise, but you will be happier about your new found focus.
When you start to see targets, a lot of questions get answered. An example from my own life was about massage and healing. Now, it will never be a full time job with me, but it could be a part time or volunteer one! I had been interested in Reflexology, the study of foot and hand massage. I had a few sessions with very good practitioners and I was fascinated. So, I read books on the principles, I talked to people who knew more than me about it, I got the “How to ” book and followed each step when applying it. I worked on family members, and a few close friends, who had problems I thought Reflexology could help, which it did in most cases. Then I met a woman through on of our friends who actually taught the practice and graduates were certified at the end. It’s hard to describe my surprise when she told me I had done everything in the program! If I wanted to be certified, I could come to three finishing classes and once my practical work was done (fairly lengthy field work) I could consider applying for certification.
It works the same when you want to change the focus of your employment. You have to re-educate ourselves somehow. We need to acquire new skills. When all of these little things add up, we start to look and sound like Insiders not outsiders, and it is much easier for hiring managers to imagine us in the job.
Here I was just following my interest lines, and it was leading me to possibilities I had only dreamed of.
It is the same in every part of our life.
Expanding a few of our Favorite Achievements (Five Stories)
There is another use we are going to put these results to. This is going to be repeated in the Perfect Job exercise, but it could be valuable to do the work here and now.
I want you to pick five of these achievements, ones you really liked or are most proud of or that appeal to you above the others. If you were to make a list of the achievements in order of importance to you, these five would be on top of the list. Now, you are to write a paragraph or two describing each of these in detail. I mean “Gory Detail” Take your time. Relive the experience, remember the challenges, the problems, the difficulties, the solutions, the final results, or the elation or proud moment or maybe even recognition or sense of achievement. I want you to be very descriptive. This is your life, let’s be proud of the moments that we shone the brightest. A good strategy is to explain them to a friend before you start writing. This often opens the flow and allows detail description to come easily. They will even see how you are different while you are explaining them. Then, write it all down.
It is important that you complete the descriptions of all five achievements BEFORE you move on to the next part. Don’t even PEEK!!
Have you done all five? Are you sure? Fine, then let’s continue.
I want you to have a look at each story and see if you can find a common thread that runs through them. These are called your Motivated Skills. Look carefully, or ask a friend to help. These “threads” are very important to recognize. It is going to help you a lot to discover the underlying building blocks of the things that motivate you and ultimately give you pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. We will see that these threads will probably also run through the jobs you have liked the best and will also appear in your “Perfect Job”.
In my own case, one of the accomplishments that was on top of the list was coming first or winning on the debating team in Grade nine. I remembered the topic, how I worked hard to research, how scared I was to go on stage and debate, after all EVERYONE was watching. It was an assembly at school. Then I did my presentation, had to think on my feet to do the rebuttal, and then I sat down and waited for the verdict.
They announced the third place person first, then the second place person, which left only two of us, and then the winner, which was me! I recounted how I was at once proud and nervous walking across the stage to get my little trophy, shook hands with the presenter, listened to the applause, looked out at the audience and walked back to my seat. I even recalled my friends congratulating me later and the sense of fun and pride it was. I kept that little trophy for a long time.
My perfect job revolves around sales and teaching. It was easy to see the “threads” of public speaking, defending or presenting an opinion or belief, overcoming my fears, and winning. My career has taken several twists and turns, and I have done a considerable amount of volunteer work, and when I step back,
I can see what is common in the stories that point me in certain directions when I consider what I want in a career.
For those who do this exercise, and none of these stories point at work related things, you may want to consider how you can achieve these types of things outside of work. Then the job is not the primary focus. I know that is true of my Kung Fu Instructor. His passion and thrill in life, his calling and unquestionable commitment is his Kung Fu School that he works on every night and Saturday. His “Job” is something totally unrelated that provides him with the needed income to live and provide for his family, and still run the school. However, he brings the same mastery and focus to his job that he practices in Kung Fu, so in reality, his passion and calling in action always. Cool.
Here are some questions that may help the process along:
How did you get attracted to this place or event in the first place?
Talk about the feeling around the event or the situation itself, the people, the other factors or other side details.
What did you find you liked the most? Enjoyed the most?
What was the main achievement for you? Any others?
What was going on with the other people, were you leading, supporting, following?
If you had to give the event a title, what would it be?
In what way did you do your best or really stretch yourself?
What risks did you take?
What fears did you overcome?
Who else benefited from this, who and how?
There is a form you can download to help summarize your observations. In this form, you get to list the elements and skills or strengths you demonstrated and do this for each of the five stories, then tally of the common elements. You will see what I mean instantly when you see the form. Click here for the Story Summary Sheet.
My hope is that things are starting to take shape for you. Many people resist doing the work. This gets in the way of developing a good plan, idea of the next step, and fuel to discover a good long-term target for yourself. When the target clears up, as it will through these exercises, the going get a LOT better. The reason this is true is that you will have an internal picture that you know you are working on as well as towards a bigger picture for your life. It may mean that you have to take a step or two that are not altogether satisfying, BUT, when you have a good long term picture it is much easier to work through these times, because you know you are working on a long term goal.
Two people may be doing the same mundane job. One has no goal or picture and lets the job pull them down. The other knows why they are here, that it is not permanent, and it is leading them in the right direction. Which one of those do you want to be?
Case History 44-yr. old Male 11 yr. business owner – return to industry
Jeff arrived with a four-page resume, a very complicated cover letter and an article illustrating his volunteer work raising money for children. His image was 10+, he looked like he came out of the GQ magazine. Fit, slim, tall. confident, powerful, looked like a “driver” in business. He had a friendly but a little cocky air about him that is fine by me. I like drivers and salespeople confident and a little cocky.
In addition, he has been doing the preparation for this transition for about a year. After we discussed Achievement Inventory he explained he had a wall at home he called his “Life Wall”. When people would see it they would ask “what the hell is that?” and “Why have you done so much work on this?” It turns out his Life Wall is our Achievement Inventory as wallpaper! He had certainly done a large chunk of the preparation, now lets review what he did with it
We began the process. First, I confirm company names, titles, dates and primary duties. Jeff had chosen a functional resume style instead of reverse chronology and it took him a few minutes to get over it when I told him it was an “Old Man’s Resume” Stunned and hurt I would guess. It was two pages of Highlights and the third page made it difficult to detect where the holes were. However, I have had a lot of practice!
Jeff had owned his own businesses for the last eleven years and they were all in related commercial areas of building services. Before this he had been very successful in the Information Technology area. It was immediately obvious to me that the key achievements he had sprinkled throughout were IT related. I asked him why and he responded that was the area he thought he might be able to go and be happy with a position in big business. He was proud of the fact that he was making himself look like a successful business person with strong IT achievements, and his plan was to get a chance to “get in front of the decision makers” and once there, they would see his value and he would “sell” himself through any problems the deception developed.
So I translated this into “Practical Reality” for him. The hiring manager would soon learn that you achieved this interview by deception and modification of the truth. Further, you were expecting him to forgive this little pretence based on how powerful and dynamic a person you turned out to be. -NOT LIKELY!!-
He would invoke the first rule of interviewing and compare your behavior to:
As he is in the interview EQUALS as he is on the job
This would result in the conclusion that you are quite willing to bend the truth, misrepresent actual facts to get an opportunity and then expect our customers to forgive this little indiscretion.
Second assessment compared to the rules:
As he is in the interview EQUALS as he is on the job
He will rightly conclude you will be a wheeler dealer, great image and good communicator, who probably would happily misrepresent the truth, bend it or changer it to get his opportunity and then expect us to forgive this little indiscretion because you are so nice a guy and so valuable. – NOT LIKELY-
Jeff was getting in his own way. Not because of skills or experience, but because he was trying to bend the situation to his best advantage. He was just going about it the wrong way.
After pointing out these small problems, Jeff and I discussed The Perfect Job. He had a very good handle on this too. Although he was targeting Information Technology because it seemed to have the money in it, there was one element that really appealed to him. As a matter of fact, his perfect job began to crystallize in the conversation. He LOVES to put deals together. The presentation, the jump big hurdles, get hold of decision-makers, persevere to completion, enroll all parties, solve daily problems. He loved it. THAT is what he would wake up every day and do for free.
We then made the jump to what kind of job in business should we look for? Answer: DealMaker
There are lots of examples in business, setting up new distributors, getting new suppliers or new lines, negotiating for rights, working as a manufacturers rep encouraging distributor sales forces to sell more, pull through business with key accounts that are eventually turned over to others. What happens to Jeff is he gets bored with the maintenance phase of the work, and the daily detail of running the business.
We then started to look at how he would position himself. The cover letter was much simpler. ” I am a very successful negotiator with both big business and entrepreneurial experience. I have demonstrated this in progressively more successful ways as indicated on my resume. If you are seeking a driven, don’t let the obstacles be a problem type of leader for a segment of your business, then a few minutes of both of our busy scheduled will be well spent”, or similar conversation.
Then we looked at the resume. Revise to:
Name and address
Objective: To obtain a key role in a business team that requires the unique combination of drive, determination, and commitment to success. I bring a great track record of successes to be applied to their specific goals and problems in an environment that requires independent thought and action as a part of the overall team. I will make significant contributions to our short and long term success.
Education Confirming he is an engineer and from one of the best schools and the year of graduation so they can easily calculate he is 41.
Last Company, honest title, small description of what we did
Five or six bullets outlining DEALMAKING and results
Second Last Company, honest title, and small description of what we did
Five or six bullets outlining DEALMAKING and results
Third Last Company, honest title, small description of what we did
Five or six bullets outlining DEALMAKING and results
A couple of IT jobs and examples of dealmaking
We reviewed the purpose of the resume, which is to get him an interview, It is still full of true achievements, but it has NO LIES or misdirection. It comes at the problem head on. The reader will see you have the education, you are the right age group, and you have excellent dealmaking experience, in both corporate and private business. Imagine further that this hiring manager is in big business but he SELLS to independent operators, or builds his distribution through them. You would be ideal. And it’s honest.
But what about all the stuff we are leaving out. There will be time for that. They will discuss it at the interviews or they won’t. We now have a targeted rifle type resume we can distribute to that kind of job, we also discussed a pure sales achievements resume for potential sale manager type roles, and we discussed a combo resume that would be aimed at General Managers type positions. He thought he would like to run someone else’s business if he could primarily focus on dealmaking.