BLUF: How do I figure out what I want to do and where do I look?

I am in Australia and I have worked in the same industry for over 25 years. I lost my job last year and I have been looking for work for some time. My problem is I am not sure what I want to do and where to look. I therefore have been looking for advertised positions which are similar to my previous positions and applying for these positions.

Although I have been listening to the Manager Tools podcasts for few years, I do not have a network in place. I applied to register with an employment service (I was informed that it will take several weeks to process paperwork and I am waiting for the paperwork to be processed) and listened to the Interviewing Series and the First Job Fundamentals. I signed up to see a counselor/mental coach (and I am on a waiting list).

Early this year, I took a web-based test to see what sort of jobs I may be suitable for. At the moment, I am doing a similar thing with another website.

I had a look at the book review section of the Manager Tools website. Is there also a good book which will help me figure our what I want to do and where to look?

Thank you very much.

buhlerar's picture

I believe MT has given a thumbs up to Now Discover Your Strengths, and Strengthfinders 2.0 is the updated version.  You have to buy the book new (don't buy a used copy), because inside is a code to take an online test (you can't reuse the code).  You get back an assessment of your top 5 strengths, and the results (along with the book) describe a little more about what that means.  But the main idea is that you'll have more success if you focus on leveraging your strengths rather than focusing on improving your weaknesses.  This isn't a job-search book, but knowing your strengths may help you get a little more focus.

More broadly, sometimes you'll be lucky and find that what you love to do (and are good at doing) is lucrative enough that you don't think too much about career choice.  However, in each case the employer (or client, etc.) is paying for something THEY need -- they're not paying you to do what YOU like to do.  If they're the same thing you've hit your sweet spot.  But every job has a range of responsibilities, some of which are energizing and some of which are a pain in the rear.  Think back to the aspects of your past jobs that you most enjoyed.  Those aspects might be shared with a variety of other jobs.

Good luck in your search!

time's picture


Thank you very much for the suggestions to the two books and wishing me luck. I had a look at reviews of the books and the books seem to be exactly what I was looking for, amazing. I will get a copy.

Your second paragraph made me think that having some ideas on what I want to do with my life may guide me what I want to do. It was very helpful.

KTatley's picture
Training Badge

 This is an interesting technique from a site with some overall good advice:


But I suspect you might be a little tired and jaded which is totally understandable after 25 years - if you have the luxury of not needing a job straight away I suggest you do some pro-bono/charity work in the interim - when I left my last role I was jaded about the corporate world so wasn't interested in rushing into another job. In short my mojo levels were low.

If you are in the same place, employees and recruitment companies will sense this and could impact on your job search.


I started using my skills to help other people (ended up working pretty hard for free!). I've had a few months of doing something very different but where I could choose what to do and understand exactly what my skills where and use how to use them.


Now I'm totally amped about my opportunities that have arisen because of this and have a clear goal about what to do.


Good luck

time's picture


Thanks for the link and your suggestions. The site is interesting and helpful. I went through the process.

I need a job straight away or several months ago. Up to now, I have not included pro-bono/charity work in my job search. However, I now am planning to include those. It sounds that they will be very helpful for me to figure out what I would like to do and they may help me find a job.