Your Bad Job Is a Clue To Your Dream Job.

Princess and Frog

What does a bad job and a frog have in common?

Let me take you on a journey down memory lane.

Think back to your single days.  

Ever notice you had to go on a lot of bad dates in order to pinpoint what you DIDN’T want in a partner?

Perhaps your frog-of-a-date….

  • didn’t hold the door open.
  • was rude to the waitress.
  • talked about himself the whole time.

Mental notes noted.  

I do NOT want THAT in a future partner.

The truth is…. it’s tough to imagine what Prince Charming looks like, until you’ve kissed a lot of frogs first.

The same goes for bad jobs.

You have to go through the bad jobs in order to learn what you DON’T want.  To learn what you are no longer willing to tolerate.  

I Challenge You…

I challenge you to try the below exercise…

  • If you are unfulfilled in your job right now.
  • If you catch yourself on a hamster wheel of bad jobs, to the point where you start to think….Is it ME?

Ready… Set… Unpack Your Job History

Pull up your resume or LinkedIn profile.

On a blank Google Doc list out every job you’ve ever had.  (Maybe not every job you’ve EVER had…. But at least your last 5 jobs.)

Underneath each job title I want you to list out:

  1. What you LOVED about each job.
  2. What you are no longer willing to TOLERATE about each job

1. What You Loved About Each Job

Even if a job was painful….. Even if you were miserable there…. There is usually SOMETHING you loved about each job.

Let me give you an example.

In my earlier career coaching days, I had a client who was an Executive Assistant.

She swore up and down she was miserable in that role.

I asked her to examine what she loved about her last role as an Executive Assistant.

“Nothing,” she stated.

As her coach, I challenged her to DIG.  

“Think about the tiny moments.  The moments of your day that you ACTUALLY look forward to.”

As she thought through this, she admitted…. 

“I really enjoy when the CEO asks me to rearrange his office.”

“Tell me more.”  I inquired.

“Well, I love Feng shui.  I love setting up space so that it’s aesthetically pleasing.  I love the feeling I get once it’s complete.”

This was the beginning of a rabbit hole that she and I explored…. It was a major CLUE on what types of things bring her joy.

At the conclusion of our coaching process….she had a lightbulb moment.

She decided to start her own Personal Organization business. 

A role that would allow her to focus the majority of her time on that one tiny portion of her previous role that brought her joy.

You see where I’m going here?

Dig deep and list out all the tiny moments that brought you joy in each previous role… even if they don’t SEEM important.  If they brought you joy, they WERE important.

Think about the job functions you performed that put you into a state of flow.  Where time seemed to fly by because you enjoyed what you were doing so much.

List them all out.

2. What You Are No Longer Willing To Tolerate About Each Job

Alright, now flip it.

Now underneath each job, list the things you are no longer willing to tolerate about each role.

Some will be large non-negotiables.

  • I won’t be micromanaged.
  • I won’t work in a toxic company culture that values the bottom line more than people.

Some will simply be elements of that role you DISLIKED.  Others may be elements of the role you DREADED.  

I will no longer be in a role that…

  • requires me to be an extrovert.
  • has me buried in spreadsheets the majority of the time.
  • I have to create powerpoint decks.

Some may even be the reason you left the role all together.

3. Look For Patterns

Perfect, now you have a list of 5 previous roles.  What you loved about each.  What you disliked about each.

Now I want you to bust out a highlighter and look for PATTERNS.

There will be certain elements that no matter the job, you loved about each.

We want to find you a role where you get to do MORE of that.  Where that is one of your primary job functions.

There will be certain elements that no matter the job, you disliked about each.

We want to find you a role where you AVOID that.

4. Paint the Big Picture

Congratulations.  You now have a major clue towards what type of role you should move into next.

Now we need to look at all the other elements that make up your dream role.

Your Strengths. Values.  Personal mission statement.  Life plan.  Job function flow areas.  Personality type.  Non-negotiables.  

Once we have gathered all these touchpoints, we can then begin to cross-reference your “Career Best Bets” with your Career non-negotiables.  

And the next thing you know…. Your frog-of-a-job will be kissed right into Prince Charming.


Start the discovery process to learn the 5 steps to transition into a career you love.

CLICK HERE to download a free 4 part video training series:  “5 Steps to Transition into a Career You Love.”

Let’s do this.

Betty Kempa, CPC, ELI-MP, is an executive career coach helping mid to senior-level corporate women transition out of unfulfilling jobs and into their dream careers. 



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