January 17, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Project Managers – How To Find Happiness In Your Job

By Ryan Sauer

How to find your dream jobToday’s article is about matching your work style with a dream job. It shows how you can assess your strengths and skills; then how to create a transition plan to move you towards your new job.

Working in a field and within a work setting that matches your own instinctive abilities and workplace needs can make a world of difference in how you perceive your job and your goals.

The Conative Connection

When people place themselves in a role that matches innate work styles then the job feels right. You know the feeling even if you have never heard of the theory.

When people are most unhappy in a professional situation it is often because the job they are doing doesn’t match their inherent talents or desires. The Kolbe Index made me re-consider my career path and also see co-workers differently. Someone I perceived as stubborn in my other part-time workplace, I began to see as having a different way of problem-solving as me, and so I needed to shift communication tactics when dealing with that person.

Overall, the assessment provides insight into four main categories of instinctive “action modes” that people inherently use for creative problem-solving; these are:

  • Fact Finder – addresses the innate process an individual uses to gather and share information.
  • Follow Thru – addresses the “arrange and design” part of the work process.
  • Quick Start – addresses the way “risk and uncertainty” is interpreted and acted upon.
  • Implementer – addresses elements of dealing with “space and tangibles.”

The test then matches those indicators on a continuum of workplace strengths such as being able to: “specify, maintain, modify, and imagine,” among others. For each area people have varying degrees of innate tendencies; working with a team that is balanced across the continuum makes for a highly effective workplace.

Work Style and Happiness
Knowing your work style can help you narrow down the sorts of jobs that best match your conative ability (and also clarified for me the type of work environment or team that I was or was not willing to collaborate with in the future).

It also gives you glimpses of what your perfect job would be and lays a foundation for getting there. Here are some job ideas in growing fields based upon a few highly simplified work style tendencies:

If your passion is being analytical and seeing a problem through until its completion then these areas might be a good fit:

If you are more inclined to work on a sustained problem alone and in general feel the need to interact with people less, then here are some growing career fields would allow for that flexibility:

  • ROI methodology;
  • forensic accounting; and
  • IS security.

If it turns out that working with big ideas and using your innate charisma to influence teams and sustain growth is your passion then these areas might be a good match:

  • Six Sigma Leadership;
  • HR management; and
  • Business administration leadership.

Transitioning Smoothly
By and large everyone I have ever known that took the Kolbe Index found long lasting insights that are directly applicable to life at the present moment. You might feel that overwhelming sense to jump boldly on over to new meadows. Channeling some of that energy into creating a plan first is a great idea. Consider the following before your take the leap on over to your dream job:

  • Take a few online classes while you are still employed at your old job to be sure you have what it takes to be competitive for the transition.
  • Attend a few of the local chapter meetings held by professional organizations in the field(s) you are considering.
  • Attend a regional conference to learn more about key topics in the field, career growth, and employment opportunities.
  • Join LinkedIn and participate in forums related to your prospective field.
  • Explore volunteer or paid internship positions (most professional organizations have lists of opportunities on their homepage).
  • Identify an affordable and knowledgeable career coach and create a more detailed time line and action plan for the transition.

In a tough economy competitions for jobs is fierce; passion for a job is not enough to secure employment. Creating a strong transition plan will keep you focused on you dream, but also able to feed yourself in the meantime.

Ryan Sauer is a writer and editor for Bisk Education in association with University Alliance. He actively writes about project management and leadership in different industries and strives to help professionals succeed in getting their PMP certification online.

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