Because everyone should dig their job

Jobhunting target practice

By Maureen Anderson

The more you know about what direction you're heading, the easier it will be to get there. Mark De Roo is a career consultant in Holland, Michigan. He says the time you spend defining just exactly what kind of work you're after will pay off later in your job hunt. He thinks you should try to identify what he calls your career anchors. "The term was actually coined by a sociologist at MIT," he says. "It refers to the characteristics that make us unique, that we tend to want our jobs to reflect, that form the basis of who we are."

"How important is your job relative to other aspects of your life?" De Roo asks. "To what degree are you a risk taker? That's what I'm talking about. You need to decide what makes work satisfying, what kind of salary expectations you have, and to what degree do you want to leave a mark on the world."

Being very specific about your career goals is the first step in a job hunt, according to De Roo: "Narrowing your target will make all other aspects of finding a job much easier." If you still have trouble doing that, he suggests returning to your childhood for clues about what will make you happy now. He's written a book, Having a Job Just Like Recess, and thinks part of the task of being a grownup is remembering what delighted us as children. When people asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what did you say—before you decided it wasn't realistic? De Roo thinks you may have known all along what you were meant to become.