9 to 5 Culture, Job Misery Support

Job Comparisons: Before and After

The following is a great exercise for those who are miserably employed. I want you to do the following: (only if you are less than thrilled with your job)

1. Draw out two vertical columns on a blank sheet of paper (or computer screen.) Label the left column “current career” and the right column “dream career.”

2. Make a list of some traits related to your current job or career in the left column. Let’s say, for example, that you are a fire-fighter. You could list things like “unpredictable”, “a regular salary”, “high job security”, “dangerous”, “exciting”, “decent pay”, “work closely with other people”, “high stress level ranging to low-stress level, often within the same day.” You don’t need to go completely crazy. Just list between five and fifteen things. Also, make sure to number each item.

3. In the right column list traits that your dream career would possess in relation to your current career. You don’t need to have a specific dream career in mind. Just imagine which traits you would like to have in your dream job. Make sure that they correspond to the traits you listed on the left. For example – if you listed “unpredictable” for the first trait in your fire-fighter job in the left-column, list either “predictable” or “unpredictable” corresponding to this in the right- column. In other words, the traits should loosely correspond to each other. Do this for each item on your list. You may find that your current career has some traits that match your “dream career” traits.

4. When this is all done, look at the number of traits that matched.


If at least 70% of your traits match, you are doing quite well professionally and probably are in the right line of work.

If 50%-70% of your traits match, you might want to consider a different line of work, but within a similar field.

If 30%-50% of your traits match, you should probably quit your job when you get the chance and consider another line of work. This one doesn’t seem to be cutting it for you.

If less than 30% of your traits match, get out now!

My Story

I used to be an Administrative Assistant at a financial company downtown. I hated my job, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to pursue instead. I just knew that I hated being trapped in an office all day.

My list would have looked something like this:

How many of these 11 traits matched for me? Perhaps number 2 “kind of” matched. I don’t mind detail work as long as it’s the right kind. Repetitiveness when I don’t have creative control of a project drives me bonkers. That’s a bad kind of detail. So really this isn’t much of a match.

Basically my administrative assistant job would score about 3% at best for me!

And how about the occupation that I’m going to school for? (I’m working toward becoming a Flash developer) How much of a match would that be? Almost 100% actually. I suppose I don’t get to work outdoors, though I could always bring my laptop outside if I wanted to and work on projects from there.

What I want you to do is look at your right-hand column and try to find a career that fits a majority of those traits. Your dream career might just actually exist!


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