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Creating a Job by Design

By Julie Fuimano
Posted Thursday, October 7, 2004

Conducting a job search is a wonderful opportunity for you to discover more about yourself, clarify what you want in a job, and determine where you're career is heading. Most people however, get so wrapped up in the actual job search tasks that they neglect important step. Writing your resume, looking for work, and interviewing, are all important steps for finding a new job. But without doing the necessary inner work of assessing and identifying what you really want, you may wind up in job that doesn't maximize your strengths, move you forward in your career, or bring you joy and professional growth.

In order to take control of your career and find the right job, you need to know who you are, what skills you have to offer, what skills you might want to develop, and what you want in a job. Your job is an opportunity for you to express yourself and develop your talents and skills so you can achieve some level of mastery, earn more money, and enjoy yourself. Knowing what you have to offer an employer and being clear about what you expect in an employer, puts you in a place of confidence and power.

Use the following steps as a guide to help you define what you want and to keep you focused in your job search. Take the time to write about what you're looking for and enjoy the inquiry. The more you know about yourself and what you have to offer, the clearer you'll be about your career path. For a Job By DesignT worksheet to assist you in designing your ultimate job, visit ( under the Resources section.

Step One: What are the elements of the perfect job?

This is a critical question because it asks you to define what you want. If you don't know what you want, how will you know when you've found it? Some of these elements will be negotiable for you; others will not. As you define what you want, make sure you identify which elements you are unwilling to compromise.

Who do you want to work with?

What kind of people do you enjoy working with? Do you need a manager who gives you lots of autonomy or do you prefer someone who provides more specific instructions and guidelines? Do you enjoy working independently or in teams? If you enjoy working in high-functioning teams with lots of autonomy, you'll be very unhappy if you find yourself working in an environment with a hands-on (micro-) manager where people keep to themselves.

What do you like to do?

What do you want to be doing during your time at work? What skills do you want to be using and developing? What types of instruments, tools or technology do you want to work with? How do you like to be dressed? Do you enjoy wearing a suit or more casual attire? Do you want travel to be a part of your job? Do you enjoy doing repetitive tasks or something different each day?

These questions are critical because you want to choose things you'll be doing that are fun for you to learn. Work doesn't have to be a chore; it can be fun if you do what you love in the environment that supports your strengths and personal style.

Where do you want to work?

In what kind of environment do you want to work? Do you want to be in a high-rise or does the thought of tall buildings make you cringe? Do you want to work in a cubicle, in an open space like a factory, from home, in a corner office, or outdoors? Do you like the fast pace of the city or the suburbs? How far would you like to commute to get to work? Do you need to access public transportation? You also want to identify what benefits you want in a job.

When do you want to work?

What does your perfect schedule look like? What hours do you want to work? Do you want to be able to earn overtime? Will you be available holidays, weekends, or be on call? Do you need flex time or job sharing?

Why do you enjoy doing this kind of work?

How is this type of work meaningful for you? What difference do you want to make in the lives of others? Is there something you want to accomplish in your lifetime through your work? You need to identify this so you can choose positions that will build your skills enabling you to achieve what you want through your work.

You also want to identify how much money you want to make and what benefits you might want.

Step Two: Given what you want, what opportunities are available to you?

Opportunities abound. If you can dream it, you can do it. In step one, you design a vision for the perfect job, one that brings you joy and allows you to be your best self. In step two, you take the components of your ideal job and search for those opportunities that fit what you want. This is a little different than the traditional job search where you look at the job opportunities and determine where you fit. What this step suggests is that you take the list of what you want and see what opportunities fit that. In this way, you go after what suits you, rather than what you fit into.

This means that you only interview at places that meet your qualifications. This also means that in an interview, you are interviewing them as well. This puts some control in your hands. You spend time determining whether this job fits your ideals and in what ways it doesn't. If it doesn't fit the ideal you discovered in step one, then you need to decide whether you are willing to settle for less than what you've determined to be the perfect job. The perfect job from step one is what will bring you the most joy, satisfaction, and professional fulfillment. Why settle for anything less?

Step Three: What skills do you need to master?

It's very possible that the dream job from step one is a few steps beyond the current reality of your skills set. What skills do you need to gain for you to be able to enter that job? Do your research. Then, find a job that will teach you what you need to know so that you will qualify for that position in a certain period of time (set a measurable goal to transition from learning to practicing). You may also need additional education.

Searching for your next position should be treated with care. This is your life! And while your job is only one part of your life, it is a huge part. Your job is where you get to express yourself and add meaning and purpose to your life. By taking the time to discover what is most important to you in a job before you go looking, you can achieve the results you want. And by empowering yourself by using these steps, you will stay motivated to go for what you want. Happy job hunting!

About the Author
Julie Fuimano, MBA, BSN, RN is a personal & career coach working with people and organizations that want to break through the ceiling that keeps them from the success they desire. Creating clarity and a vision for success, eliminating obstacles, designing nurturing environments, and developing effective communication skills are some of the areas she works with clients to bring about the results they want. Call now to explore how coaching would work for you (484) 530-5024. Sign up for our e-newsletter at ( or write to


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