4 tips to create your dream job in the social impact sector

A wake up call for many to look for a job with more impact and purpose.

All around us, we have seen that the pandemic and multiple lockdowns have been for many a massive wake up call, in particular regarding their professional life. During this period, as many of us found ourselves in isolation, there was a new opportunity for introspection and with these existential questions to ponder. Questions such as: “Am I happy with my current job?” ; “How can I have more meaning and purpose in what I do?” ; “Should I change careers? ; “If I should, when, where should I start looking, and how can I find what I want?”

Oftentimes, these questions remain unanswered for two main reasons:

  1. It is difficult to find the perfect job. Otherwise, you’d have already switched, wouldn’t you?!

  2. The next job needs to be worth it! If it isn’t, what’s the point in taking the risk to change?!

The problem is that this thought process often leads to analysis paralysis, meaning you stay stuck in a status quo as you can’t take decisions or make a move.

How about making some small steps to get you on the right track instead?

Here are 4 humble steps you might find useful!

  • 1) Look for the “problem to solve” rather than the “field to work in”

I imagine you want to work in a field where you can have an impact, be happy and find more meaning. However, the search for that ideal sector can be overwhelming.

What if you started to look for that problem you’d really like to solve instead? This will necessarily lead you to the right field. For instance, if you get irritated each time someone throws away a plastic wrapper on the street, delve into that. You are probably not the only person irritated by this problem and it could lead to something more!

It is easier to ask yourself which problem keeps you awake at night - be it social or environmental - than to look for a broad field to work in. So start thinking about situations that drive you crazy and that you would get up in the morning to solve.

Group session during the Discovery Programme to find out the field you’d like to work in by letting your intuition reveal the problems you are driven to solve..

  • 2) Focus on your “natural talents” rather than your “competencies”

Usually, when transitioning to a new career, we generally assess our “assets” or our “worth” in the market and the hard skills we have developed, asking ourselves: What have my experiences so far brought me? Which areas do I have amazing knowledge or expertise in?

However, we tend to forget to look at ourselves: Who am I? What are my natural talents? What do I do with great ease and love doing?

Really we should focus on these, because, let’s be honest, competences can be learnt and built overtime and concentrating on our skills when making a career change can lead us in the wrong direction. What if you don’t want to use the competences you’ve built anymore? What’s the point of joining a fantastic company while continuing to do things you don’t enjoy?

That’s why you have to dig deep inside to find out where your natural talents lie! This will enable you to transition wherever you want :)

  • 3) Be clear on your constraints & needs

When we crave change, we want to be ALL IN. We feel like it’s a fresh start and we should wipe the slate clean!

However you need to be wary of making too many changes at once. For example, 2020 was a year of great shifts for me. Not only did I leave my job to launch Snowball Effect, but I also moved to Lebanon, changed lifestyles, made new friends, etc. Overall, it was a huge change both on the professional and personal level!

One of the learnings I took from this experience is that you should determine how much change you feel you can handle in your life, and this should be in accordance with your own constraints - whether they are financial or geographical etc. Which life changes and above all, how drastic a change, do you wish to make? On the other hand, what are the ties and obligations you have and need to honour?

Most of the time, we don’t want to acknowledge our constraints as we feel they might hold us back. Yet, in the long run, really facing them and honouring them is the best way to actually transform your dream into reality as you are aware of what you can allow yourself to do versus what is beyond your limits. For instance, if you have debts, you know you can allow yourself to change jobs as long as you can cover those debts and your search process will differ from that of someone who is debt free.

  • 4) Find a path that fits your working habits (entrepreneur, intrapeneur, freelance, replicator, employee... )

As employees, we tend to think the main alternative, when we crave autonomy and freedom, is to become an entrepreneur. Mmm… Breaking news: you have many more options!

You should ask yourself what is the right framework for you to work in: what level of autonomy would you like? What level of ownership? Of responsibility? Do you prefer being guided and surrounded by a team, or would you rather work alone?

Based on your answers, you can explore the different career paths that exist. Admittedly, entrepreneurship or being an employee are options but so are freelancing, intrapreneurship or even becoming a replicator*!

[Read this article if you want more details on those different options and find out what path suits you best!]

*A replicator (or ‘multiplier’, ‘spreader’, etc.) is an entrepreneur who replicates a company or a concept that already exists elsewhere.

Be demanding with yourself, but take one step at a time!

Making a career change can feel like a massive decision and a daunting step to take. Rather than viewing it as one monumental task, break it down into small chunks to move forward, one step at a time!

If you are looking for support to take the first significant steps in your career shift and would love to be supported by peers in this lonely quest, check out this programme!

At Snowball Effect we’ll help you identify which path is the right one for you, and if you’re eager to replicate a successful social business in your region, we’ll help you make it happen!