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Article: How to Discover Work that Matters Related Resources

How to Discover Work that Matters
by Raymond Gerson

This article is an excerpt from the book, How to Create the Job You Want: Six Steps to a Fulfilling Career, by Raymond Gerson.

"Raymond Gerson's How to Create the Job You Want offers straightforward, to-the-point gems of practical advice for those who would like to create a fulfilling career. His advice and exercises reflect the hard-earned wisdom of experience." - Dan Millman, author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior and The Life You Were Born to Live.

What follows is one step for creating a fulfilling career in which you can make a positive difference.

Step Two:

Identify needs you want to fill or problems you would like to solve.

There are millions of problems in the world needing your energy and creativity to solve them. Every job attempts to fill certain needs or resolve particular problems. What problems do you feel deeply about? If you had the power to fulfill a particular need, which one would it be? What do you feel passionate about? What brings you joy?

There are many different jobs using a variety of skills to solve the same problem. Say you decide to contribute to the need for affordable housing in your community. Do you have the skills and interest to contribute as a carpenter? Would you prefer to be a builder-developer of houses? A real estate salesperson? All of these jobs can help solve the problem of too little affordable housing.

Perhaps you want to contribute to helping young people grow up to be healthy and strong adults. You might consider teaching, coaching, or counseling, or becoming a health care practitioner or physical fitness instructor. There are many different jobs, dealing with similar needs, to consider when seeking a match for your skills.

To determine which problems are of greatest interest to you, ask yourself: What contribution do I want to make? If I were wealthy and didn't have to work, what would I do? What type(s) of people in the work force do I admire? When I solve a problem or fill a need, which ones bring me the greatest joy? If I had two years to live and decided to work, what would I do? Answering these questions can put us in touch with our deepest interests.


Positive Actions to Fulfill Needs and/or Solve Problems

  • Reduce crime
  • Increase affordable housing
  • Improve technology for persons with disabilities
  • Build better teams and relationships
  • Improve the economy
  • Match people to appropriate jobs
  • Design better technology
  • Reduce illiteracy
  • Provide relief for victims of national disasters
  • Improve quality of products
  • Enhance physical or mental health of others
  • Reduce costs
  • Improve efficiency
  • Provide recreation or entertainment
  • Improve the lives of children
  • Improve communication
  • Develop training and development programs
  • Enhance the educational process
  • Raise funds for worthy projects
  • Organize and improve work flow
  • Devise ways people can save time
  • Improve transportation services
  • Identify potential problems
  • Provide financial planning for others
  • Increase sales
  • Reduce environmental problems
  • Expedite services or products
If the foregoing list leaves you uninspired, think of other positive actions for the specific problems that interest you. List below at least ten needs or actions that you consider to be challenging and enjoyable tasks.

Determine which of your motivating skills (skills you enjoy using and do well) are the best matches for the actions or needs you consider important. Then prioritize these needs or actions in order of importance. Consider creating a job that will enable you to contribute to the fulfillment of the need that is most important to you.

Copyright 1996, 2007. Raymond Gerson.

Raymond Gerson has over 40 years experience coaching and teaching personal and career development. He is the author of five books, including Create the Life You Want. Two of his how-to career e-books are available as free gifts. For more information go to

Raymond Gerson may be contacted at


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