Monday, May 04, 2015

Finding Fulfilling Work (by Jaime Grimmett)

A couple of months ago, I started my trip down under on the couch of people I didn't know. There was a link, they were friends of friends, but it was my first experience of couchsurfing. I love the idea of a growing culture of welcoming people into our homes. Clearly here I wasn't a complete stranger because we had a common connection, but common connections open up an incredibly wide world when the people we know start scattering. I wasn't brave enough yet to test out my Scott Jurek Minnesota Winter Chili on the four flat mates, but I did cook my tried and tested bolognaise for them on one evening and it was great to get to know them. One of the flat mates was Jaime, who had recently moved up to Auckland from Christchurch where our common connection stayed. Here, she shares some of the choices and thoughts that that move involved.

Jaime on top of the world

Finding Fulfilling Work
by Jaime Grimmett

How to Find Fulfilling Work? This seems to be the burning question of my peers as 29 year old professional.

I recently had the opportunity of having a ‘soft release’ trigger which forced me to reassess my job options… but allowed me the luxury of time to carefully consider my decisions.

To explain further, due to personal circumstances I knew I needed to move cities within the next 6 months. No matter what, my job needed to change, but I wasn’t going to get forced into anything that I did not want to do.

How did I get into this position?

Having graduated in 2006, my first job out of uni was the job that someone gave me. Roll on 2008, instead of going travelling after 2 years as I had always planned, I was happy to just have a job. I spent my time working, getting promoted, feeling thankful that I graduated at ‘just the right time’.

While this was great in theory (it gave me some awareness, skills and financial security), when I eventually got around to reassessing the job market, I found myself in a odd place. I was unsure whether the career ladder that I had steadily climbed was one that I wanted to be on at all. It turns out that I am not alone in being in this position. Many friends have raised similar thoughts with me,  in particular high achievers who ‘can do anything they want.’ Many, many people are let loose on the world with no idea what they want to do. So they try something, anything - usually whatever job they get offered. And they are good at it. They keep going… and going… and all of a sudden they are trapped - it feels too late to make a major change.

Back to my trigger – suddenly – for the first time in several years I had the time to consider the question: ‘What am I going to do when I grow up?’

Enter, ‘How to Find Fufilling Work’ by Roman Krznaric, published by The School of Life. Read more about them here.


This is hands down the most productive tool I have ever used to  assess my career options. I had dismissed the ‘what would you do if money was no object?’ question years ago – that just doesn’t inspire me. My interests are too broad and too varied. I always have the feeling that my answers wouldn’t entertain me for very long.

By initially outlining factors that create at feeling of meaningfulness (Remuneration, Prestige, Challenge, Making a Difference, Following a Passion), my world expanded exponentially. Then, by matching these factors to current and prospective job opportunities, I suddenly understood why certain jobs, while attractive,  just didn’t seem worth the leap! They would not create enough ‘meaningfulness’ to keep me on board. Next, there was the revelation that actually staying on one career track ‘forever’ is not necessary – the option of being a serial careerist or poly-careerist is totally valid, and do this is not to be a failure. Some of the most celebrated individuals of all time are included in these categories. The book had seriously good ideas to try and broaden ones horizons when it comes to potential jobs. Be prepared to undertake exercises.

However, what it actually gave me was the confidence to recognise that the career I ‘fell into’ satisfies my needs. During this introspective period I realised that my skills have developed into a passion. My industry challenges me, lets me use my natural abilities and use the skills that I have developed. One small change was all I needed to do away with the parts I disliked, and retain the benefits of my field of experience.

All I needed to do was accept my career as my choice to make me happy. So I did.
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