The relaxed feeling of summer is a great time to work on a job search. With longer days it seems like there's more time to do those "extras" like gardening, catching up with some reading, spending time with friends -- and thinking about where your career is headed.
My philosophy is this: if you know what you like to do, then you can gain all the skills you need and find a job that makes you feel fulfilled -- and pay the bills. The secret is to find out what you like to do -- and that can sometimes be a huge challenge. For many of us we've been told since childhood what's good for us, what won't work, to follow the family trade, etc., instead of being encouraged to do what we like.
In the current economy you may feel you have to find a job right away, even if it's something you never thought about before. There may be a mortgage, family issues or big credit card bills to consider before taking the plunge to do something you've only dreamed about. And if you're older (40-50+) you may be facing other life issues: recent divorce, college tuitions, health problems, etc., that make you think twice about leaving the job you have or finding one that really has been only a thought, not a real consideration.
But take a little time this summer and indulge yourself in your dreams (and memories). Think about those things you did when you were a child -- what you did when no one told you what to do. It might have been playing school with your stuffed animals as students. Or building buttresses and ditches with dirt and sticks for your GI Joe and gang. Or drawing, reading or caring for a pet. Think back to when you were 5, 6, 7 and 8. Did you like to play alone? with 1 or 2 close friends? with all the kids on the block?
For every activity you did in childhood, there's an equivalent adult possibility. Take some time to reconnect with your younger self. Remember what you liked to do -- and then think about what new job you could have that would make you as happy as you were "way back when." Sit with a cool drink in the evening twilight and plan your future based on your past dreams. Summer is a great time to work on your job search. Just take it easy... after all, it's summer.
Dr. Jan Cannon, Job-Hunt's Mid-Life Career Expert, is author of Now What Do I Do? The Woman's Guide to a New Career, Find a Job: 7 Steps to Success, Finding a Job in a Slow Economy, co-author of Exceptional Accomplishment, and a career professional for 20 years. Visit her website, JobSearchDoctor.com, and circle Jan on Google+ for more career advice and help.