Finding Work You Love (or at Least Getting Through the Week)

The Dream Job

Rachel Barrie
Photo from

There are some people in life who seem destined (and perhaps lucky enough) to find the job that they really want. Take Rachel Barrie, who has the privilege to work in her dream job as a master whiskey blender. She loved dark spirits since the age of 12 (really), and along the way took up chemistry. She then took her knowledge of whiskey, a naturally good sense of taste/smell, and made use of her science and technology training to make her way to becoming a Master Blender. It’s not surprising that Barrie loves her job and is quite happy with it.

An Inspiring Story

Photo from

Another interesting article from Forbes addresses the belief that to be impactful and create change through your career, you would be better served by working for a corporation. The author, who works as a recruiter for corporate sustainability, saw in the loss of her children’s pre-school teacher the far-reaching, life-changing impact an individual outside of the corporate world could have. The parents and community who joined together to celebrate the teachers life were greatly changed and effected by the efforts of this one person. I would say he had found a career he loved, and the impact he had on others was evidence of that.

So while it’s always nice and heart-warming to hear these great stories of people that found work they love, and that make a huge difference in the life of others, how do you translate that in to making sure your work is fulfilling as it can be? If you are having problems with your job, and might be thinking of doing something different, a first step could be thinking through these 5 questions to answer before you make any career changes.

(The highlights)

1) Is the problem you’re having at work a recurring one – one that keeps happening to you over and over, and crushing you down each time?
2) Is the problem you’re having due to a toxic boss, colleagues, or corporate environment?
3) Is the problem you’re having that you dislike what you do (functionally), or dislike what’s happening to you as you do it?
4) As you fantasize about a completely new career, do you have what it takes – in terms of energy, money, commitment, support, courage, and fortitude — to reinvent yourself, at this juncture?
5) If you left your job or your career today, how confident are you that your problems would go away?

Answering these questions honestly can help you figure out if the problem is actually within you (something in your head, attitude, behavior, reactions) vs. something inherently wrong with your specific job or career path. While we certainly shouldn’t spend our time in jobs or careers that make us unhappy, aren’t inspiring, etc., it is also important to realize what is the root cause, and figure out what needs to change to make things better. From my own career progression and change (almost 10 years at a large company cycling through ~5 different jobs to now being an entrepreneur), I know these honest self-conversations can be hard and can take a long time.

Tips to guide you through each day at work

And for something that could help all of us (and won’t take the weeks, months, or even years that job happiness can take to find), here are some tips to help you out on your workday routine to start your day right every day of the week. Some of these could even help improve interactions with your boss and colleagues, and help you to figure out what needs to change to make you happy.

Two tips that I added to the discussion on the article were starting each day with your top three things you need to do in your mind (and then doing something for each of them), as well as writing on Friday afternoon what you need to take care of, so that it is waiting for you on Monday, and you can give your mind a break over the weekend.

Do you have more tips to share for these busy men and women at work? Please fill in the comments form below. I’d love to hear from you.

About Tamra Johnson

I’m an entrepreneur and a recent MBA graduate from UCLA Anderson. I have 10 years of experience in IT Management and Systems Engineering. I love learning, helping others, exploring the world around me, running at the beach, going to concerts, and visiting family and friends. I grew up in Helotes, Texas, went to undergrad in Cambridge, MA, and now live in Venice, CA.
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