THE BLOG

When Job Hunting, Trust Your Gut

10/17/2011 06:34 pm ET | Updated Dec 17, 2011

I'm in full-on job hunt mode.

I'm pouring over listings, sending out cover letters and networking wildly (in person and online).

As I mentioned recently, I love looking for work. Maybe that sounds strange, but I find this process energizing rather than enervating. Still, even as a veteran of two career changes (with a possible third in the works), I still find myself making rookie mistakes.

I realized this the other night when I was out for drinks with a group of parents from my daughter's class. I got to chatting with one of the dads, a journalist who works for a financial news outlet. I told him that I was looking for work and asked him to keep an eye out for any positions that might open up at his company.

"Do you like finance?" he asked.

"Not really," I said. "But I know something about it and could definitely do it."

He frowned. Only moments earlier, I'd confessed to the entire group that I'd almost stayed home that night to watch the first episode of the season on "Glee." And as we all know, that's normally the sort of thing I leave social engagements to do.

"You should write about musical theatre," he observed. "It's always best to do what you love."

He was right. In fact, it's precisely the same advice I always give to others when they consult me on career change: Figure out what you like and what you're good at and where those intersect. Harder than it sounds, but well worth the effort.

While I don't think a career as a West End musical critic is in the cards for me right now (as much as I would adore it), this guy did remind me that it's really important to keep my eye on the prize: not the jobs -- like financial journalism -- that I *should* apply to because I'm qualified for them, but the jobs that I want to apply to because I'm passionate about them.

In other words, as with so many things in life, beware the dreaded SHOULDs.

How fortuitous then that the following video popped into my Inbox this morning (sent to me by the very same journalist-friend in question.) It's from a new company based here in London called Escape The City, a self-described community of "talented professionals who 'want to do something different.'"

On its About page, Escape The City features a motivational video called Start Something You Love. I must have watched it about three times this morning and sent it on to a few friends as well. (You gotta love the guy who dumped his job as a hedge fund manager in London to become a Galudo Beach Lodge manager in Mozambique.)

Sounds great but how do you start? If you're one of the millions of people out there who's having trouble figuring out what it is that you really want to do with your life, here are four tips for determining your dream job, courtesy of Susan Cain over on Quiet: The Power of Introverts. I'd seen some variation on the first three ideas before, but I'd never seen the last one: Pay attention to what makes you cry.

I've been thinking about it all morning.

Sniff.