Here’s some bad career advice: follow your passion. Here’s some more bad career advice: follow the money. Both pieces of advice are bad because they are too simplistic. Careers are complicated because humans are complicated. We don’t just want money. We want money plus enjoyment plus time off plus a corner office plus remote work plus free lunch plus a napping pod. At least I want those things.
Finding what you are meant to do is about understanding—and admitting—that complexity in yourself and navigating through it to find something that fits. It takes time, sometimes years. It’s mostly a process of trial and error, which I fully support.
But I also think a little introspection can do a long way in helping you figure out what you want to do for a career, or at least what your next move is. Basically, it comes down to where you believe you are at your best—your “high yield activity.” It’s a concept that helps you understand how to invest your time. Your high yield activity is a function of ability, enjoyment, and relevance:
By thoughtfully considering these three things, you’ll understand how to best serve your current organization. Or maybe you’ll realize that you need to change organizations. Either way, you’ll be one step closer to figuring out what you were meant to do.