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Skills vs. Thrills

By Kelly C. Wells


Be careful when you are job hunting or contemplating a new career not to place too much weight on your current skills.  Many career tests will evaluate your skill set and place you squarely on the wrong career path. Unemployed job seekers also frequently make this mistake when looking for new work.


When you need a job ASAP, you tend to go after jobs that you think you can get, not the ones that inspire you. When bills are due and money is running out, we all tend to want the quick fix.  Employers advertise the list of skills they want, and we eagerly mask our resumes to match those skills.


The problem with focusing only on your current job skills is that they may have nothing to do with your passions or long-term career goals. Sure, no one likes to be unemployed or lacking in career direction.  However, taking a job just because you qualify skills-wise is a dangerous move for many reasons.


First and foremost, you may be feeding your pocketbook but starving your soul. As a career coach whose passion is helping others find work they love, my advice is to focus on thrills not skills.


What jobs sound exciting to you?  What skills would you like to learn or need to develop in order to have your ideal job?  Following your passions and interests will never lead you astray.


I’m not suggesting that you stay broke or unemployed until you land your dream job.  If you need work, get a job that will support your basic needs and get you out of survival mode. However, we tend to forget about our dreams once the pain subsides. We linger in comfortable misery while our dreams collect dust on the mantle.  Discontent at your job can be costly.  It can fester into job burnout, or worse into full-fledged depression or physical illness.


Your current skill-set is no doubt valuable to some type of employer.  However, if you land a job based solely on a set of skills you no longer enjoy using, your worth in the marketplace is doomed to evaporate.


The key is to always be growing professionally (and personally).  Plant new skill seeds in areas that pique your interest and fuel your energy for change.  Perhaps you are not yet skilled enough to secure your dream job, but you can certainly pursue all avenues to growth in expectancy of it.


Many employers encourage further education, even compensate you for it, and hire and promote from within.  Let your employer know what excites you.  You’d be surprised at how your enthusiasm speaks volumes about your potential and may translate into profit for the company.


Most importantly, never stop pursuing what thrills you, both in and outside of your workplace. Your passions are signposts to your true destiny.  It may take time to bridge that gap and transition to work you love, but the journey is worth it.


Yes, it takes courage to leave a comfortable job where your current skills provide an automatic paycheck. Keep in mind, however, that no job is guaranteed these days. Many work-place skills are becoming obsolete. The safest route is no longer about maintaining automatic pilot.


Since you need to continue to grow professionally anyway, why not grow toward the light of your true passions? Plant the skill seeds that thrill you and you too can harvest a career that feeds both your belly and your soul.

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