Lately, I’ve been reevaluating my purpose after a decade-long career in media. I’ve just quit my job as a Community Manager at GOOD and right now, I’m on a solo trip, letting go of what I’ve been doing for the last two years.
After spending so much time invested in one company, I’ve lost touch with my long-term career goals, so it’s time to reflect alone, disconnected from technology. It’s a tip I’ve taken from social entrepreneur and author Dev Aujla’s free interactive website, 50 Ways to Get a Job That Makes Good.
Part career coach, part job search strategy
To really understand how I can become a leader and revitalize my desire to connect people in the impact space, I’m using tools from Aujla’s self-guided prompts as a motivational workbook. I’m not looking at it as a quick-fix or simple how-to; it’s going to be a process, like mastering an instrument. It isn’t a place to get a job, but rather a resource that will direct me towards ways to make myself more desirable to recruiters in the future. For the job seekers out there, consider it free career coaching, but with multiple sessions that could possibly take 50 days to a year or more because self-discipline is the only thing that will get you through it.
I’m starting out my process by diving into the section “Finding My Purpose,” where I’ll write creative nonfiction about myself, rethink the industry of community management to brainstorm how I can change it, and create a fictional mentor with the goal of understanding future possibilities and what I need to do to become what I’m envisioning. I’m creating a vision board in a way, preparing what could happen if I open myself up to asking, “What if?”
Why you should dig in
An idea that evolved out of his free e-book Occupation: Change the World, later becoming the Penguin book Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money, and Community in a Changing World, Aujla’s site aims to guide others towards careers that will align their values with their work.
And Aujla is no stranger to giving practical, useful advice. From 2003 to 2008, while running his charitable organization Dream Now, he helped over 50,000 young people volunteer, organize, and start their own community projects. But throughout this success, he realized that after youth understood how to make change, many of them wanted to figure out what social businesses were providing jobs already.
So, he set off to research social enterprises and their needs, documenting it all in the books he’s written. Guided by what he was learning, and then taking action on those findings, Aujla created multiple ways to tackle the problems he was noticing by founding recruiting agency Catalog two years ago. He’s now figuring out what the gap is between employers’ needs and employees’ skills so that he can help social impact businesses recruit the right people for their open positions.
“A lot of young people have a lot of mission, but no skills, or they have a lot of skills, but no mission. The first step is realizing where you are, what you have more of, and what you need. You don’t necessarily have to take an online course or go back to school to learn new skills. You can take a job just to learn new skills. You just need to make sure you know why you take the job, what you’re learning, and what you’re going to get out of it,” Aujla says.
How to use 50 Ways no matter where you are in life
Just starting your job search?
You may want to Map Your Career Path to document all the milestones you’ve already accomplished, and write down the milestones you’d like to tackle. If you’re like me, I found that an outline of questions in Describe Your Dream Job was a great way to break down how those milestones could manifest.
“You shouldn’t follow a company’s mission to find your purpose. You need to look at industries that are being rethought and redesigned. There are startup companies that are hiring, but can’t find the right people. We give you the right questions you need to ask to find the entrenched players and the disruptors,” Aujla says.
Overwhelmed, stuck, applying for jobs, or all of the above?
You can find out the steps you need to take towards making your purpose clearer on Aujla’s site. For example, if overwhelmed, make easy commitments to get sleep, eat right, exercise, spend time alone, and treat yourself. Start writing down all the commitments you make to yourself and others in a journal so that you can hold yourself accountable and mark down when you get things done. If stuck, release yourself of commitments that aren’t serving you. Reconnect with mentors and send a “Looking for a job” email to five friends. Then, once you start applying for jobs you find or the ones people suggest to you, make a spreadsheet of who gets back to you and who doesn’t.
“You may want to be a social entrepreneur because you think there are no jobs, but there are jobs that do good and we need people to do the work,” Aujla says.
With three years of user testing, Aujla has proven that each step on 50 Ways works. If you’ve found a path towards a job you enjoy in the impact space, Aujla would like to read your story and how you got there. If there’s one tool on his site that does or does not work for you, let him know.
For those who want to start the process, know how to tell your story first. “You’re in control when people ask you what you do. So practice three ways to introduce yourself, one that you end up talking about what you’re learning right now, one for what your last job was, or one for what you’re doing right now- but choose what you’re most excited about. It’s always about choice,” Aujla says.