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Professional fulfilment - how to find a job that suits you

Only 16% of workers in Germany love their jobs. The considerable proportion of 68 % merely do their job by the book and no less than 16 % have already quit inside. That is a statement. The Gallup Engagement Index reports these fairly constant figures every year. Which group do you belong to? And when did you decide to take this path?

The topic of "work" has a very negative connotation here in Germany. Job dissatisfaction has unfortunately already become the norm. We think it is normal that work is no fun and exhausting. Yet it is not that far to the group of people who love their work. But we have never been taught how to tread this bright path.

When frustration rises in our current working day, there are usually two different ways we go about it.

Maybe we stay where we are. We tell ourselves that we earn quite good money, that our colleagues are nice and that the way to work is not so long. We think maybe things will get better again somehow at some point. After all, we chose this profession. What would the others say if we suddenly wanted to do something else? Besides, do we have to start all over again?

Hand on heart: Do these thoughts sound familiar to you?

If not, you probably belong to the second group: you rarely stay in your job for more than 2-3 years. As soon as you notice that you are becoming dissatisfied, you open the most common job portals, scroll through them, set up the newsletter in which you are informed about all newly published jobs. You regularly apply for jobs that look familiar to you: "Yes, I studied that, I did that training. I can do that." Sooner or later you get lucky and land your next job - which is unfortunately the same one in green as the many before.

Whether you identify better with the first or the second group, one thing is clear: you belong to the 84% of Germans who don't love their job. Not yet!

In most cases, this is because your job does not suit you as a person. There can be a number of reasons for this, e.g.

  • You can't use your strengths, but have to constantly do tasks that don't "flow", that are very difficult for you or that bore you.

  • Work gives you no meaning. In the worst case, you work against your convictions.

  • Conditions are difficult. Your needs are not being met.

The consequence is that you have to adapt, fight against yourself or the circumstances and that costs an incredible amount of energy and time. This in turn leads to discontent, frustration and, in the worst case, illness.

The perfect foundation for finding a job that suits you is to get to know yourself better and decide based on that. Like most Germans, you probably decided on your current job when you were still under 20 and very unreflective. Often our career choice was determined by our environment, such as our parents. And that's perfectly okay. We didn't know any better. It's just as okay to rethink that choice later and make it again. No, it is not only okay, but good and important. Why? We spend an average of 40 years in our working lives. How fulfilling can your life be if you settle for something that doesn't suit you or even have to fight against it every day? Life is far too short for the wrong job!

I'll show you here how to find a job that suits you:

Reflect on your status quo

In the first step, it is important to gain clarity about your current situation. Get an overview of what you like about your current professional situation and where you would like to see change. Here you should be radically honest with yourself. No sugarcoating, no people pleasing. It's about you.

Take a close look and rate your overall satisfaction on a scale of 0 - 10 and also in the following individual aspects: Company, commute, field of activity, working environment, development opportunities, work/life balance, fulfilment of purpose, scope of work.

Recognise your strengths

How fulfilled you are in your job depends to a large extent on how many of your skills and strengths you can use in your work every day. In every job, there are tasks that you are not so good at. However, if your daily work routine is characterised by activities that are difficult for you or completely bore you, it is time for a reorientation.

To identify your strengths, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I do particularly well and with pleasure?

  • In which activities am I in flow?

  • What do other people ask me to help with?

If you are brave, ask a good friend what they think your strengths are.

Discover your values

Your value system is like an inner compass that works mainly subconsciously. It tells you what is important to you and your life. You certainly know this: If you act against your values, it doesn't feel right for you. If, on the other hand, you decide and act according to your values, your life will feel predominantly happy, fulfilled and meaningful. That is why it is important to know your own values. If your values do not match the values of the company you work for, you will never find meaning in your work.

You can find countless lists of values on the internet. Download one and find the 8 values that are most important to you.

Find out under which conditions you can work best

All your tasks and activities are embedded in an environment that shapes the conditions under which you work. These conditions can give you strength and allow your potential to blossom or they can rob you of energy and time and demotivate you. What needs and expectations do you have of your environment? Do you prefer to work alone or in a team? Do you need peace and quiet or exchange? Do you need clear instructions? Do you need security? Clear structures? Flat hierarchies? Are you an owl or a lark?

To get a little more clarity here, take a pad and a pen and write down what your perfect working day looks like: What time do you get up? What are you looking forward to? Where are you going? Who else is in the office? What do you do? How do you feel? Who do you work with? How long do you work?

The path to a job you love is not made overnight. It takes patience, time, self-reflection and self-awareness. If you don't want to or can't walk this path alone, it makes sense to get support. It is your life. What do you do with it?

About the author

"Life is too short for the wrong job! Job dissatisfaction is not the normal state."

As a systemic coach and trainer, Stefanie Fink supports women in reorienting themselves professionally and finding a job that suits them. She offers workshops, group coaching sessions and 1:1 coaching sessions.

In addition, Stefanie is involved with REDEZEIT free of charge as a listener and impulse giver.