How to tell whether you and your work are a good fit

Ask yourself these questions:

“Do I like this work?” This question is of limited use. You might like some features of the work (e.g. the pay, your coworkers) but not others (e.g. the hours, your commute). Even if you “like” your work overall, you might still be able to find work that suits you better.

“Am I good at this work?” Whether you are competent is relevant, but not all-important. On the one hand, if you’re not already good, you might become good by practicing. On the other hand, you might be very good at something, but not like it or care about it at all. 

“Do I care about this work?” It’s a good question in theory, but a difficult one to answer in practice. You might care about doing a good job on an accounting project for a client, because you committed to doing it. That’s very different than, say, a musician who feels it is her mission to put her music out into the world.

“Would I do this work even if I didn’t get paid for it?” You might have heard someone say that you should be able to answer with a full-throated “Yes!”—or else you’re not doing the work you are meant to do, or something. But chances are you have to make a living doing something—not being paid is not an option for most of us. Then again, it’s possible that you would do some of this work for free just because you care. The devil is in the details.

“Does this make me feel proud?” This is the best metric I know of. If you feel proud of your work, that probably means that you care about it and that you are doing it well. It’s hard to trick yourself into thinking that you feel proud.

So, does your work make you feel proud?


— Peter

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