Dream Job Exercise: Brainstorm Ideas For Your Ideal Job

exercises finding your path

There are so many factors that will affect whether or not you feel fulfilled in your job that it’s hard to get a clear picture of an ideal role.

If you had a job that you hated, how do you know it wasn't the specific environment it was in? Or your boss? Or the industry?

A mistake a lot of people make is to only think about the job title and not the environment or industry around the job.

I recently found this exercise from the book Creating a Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd that accounts for this issue.

I love it because it takes into account the three main aspects of a job—the tasks of the job, the context the job is in, and the content (or purpose) of the job.


My Experience

When I got my first job at a start-up company, I was taking phone calls from angry small-business owners dealing with urgent issues. This made me think that the start-up world simply wasn’t for me. But then I got a job working with happier customers and an easier product, and found that I actually did enjoy start-up companies.

The same goes for plenty of other areas in life. If you love writing, the environment and industry you do it in will have a huge effect on whether or not you’ll feel fulfilled.

For example, being a content writer in the business-to-business software space is a lot different than being a direct-to-consumer writer in the fitness space. You might hate one and love the other.

Dream Job Exercise

This exercise involves listing the tasks you enjoy doing, the environment in which you enjoy working, and the fields and subjects that interest you.

By combining these three elements, you can get a clearer picture of your ideal job and find one that aligns with your interests and values.

The exercise in this article is taken from the book Creating a Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd. I do not take credit for creating it.

Dream Job Exercise

Get out a piece of paper and a pencil and walk through the next three steps.

Tasks: List the tasks you most enjoy doing. Be specific (writing, talking on the phone, interviewing people drawing, mixing sounds, conceiving of new business ideas, debating the interpretation of a piece of art…)

Context (Environment): What environment would you like to work in? (Describe the physical, organizational, and emotional environment. Example: in a sunlit studio in the city with three partners, alone in an office in the country, or in a small start-up company with a boss who respects my expertise.) Don’t clarify the kind of work you’re doing, just focus on the context in which the work takes place.

Content (Industry): What fields are you interested in? This includes both professional fields like fine art or business or journalism and the work’s purpose, like “creating beauty,” “destroying hunger,” or “saving the rain forest.”

Using the three interlocking circles (screenshot below), imagine jobs in which all three of your circles intersect one another.


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