Finding your perfect job

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Filling out a job application

Job application.
Photo courtesy of

What kind of job would you most like to do?

Looking for work in the best of times can be frustrating; in times of high unemployment, this becomes a horrific task.

There are some things that can help you do better at finding that job and result in a job you might truly enjoy showing up at.


Are you looking for a job doing anything?

You are in the largest possible group of job seekers. Look in the newspaper – under “anything” do you see any jobs listed for people to do “anything?” I don’t see any. If you really want to find a job you need to get a whole lot more specific.

How do you narrow your search and increase the chances of finding a job?

Consider getting help from a career counselor. Career counselors help people find jobs they also help you plan careers. In many areas, Professional Counselors or Clinical Counselors are trained in job placement in addition to their other duties. I do some of this work, especially when seeing co-occurring disorder clients. If you can afford to pay for career counseling think of it as an investment in your financial and emotional future.

If you can’t pay for career help right now, look for online sources, many of which are free. Also, investigate the services of governmental agencies and nonprofits in your area. Some very good suggestions can be found at those free services.

There is a difference between jobs and careers. One puts money in the bank now and pays for food but it may not lead anywhere. A career should have a path that takes you to more responsible and better-paying duties. One is not automatically better than the other though I encourage clients to think in terms of careers.

For today you may need a job to keep the bills played but eventually what career will you really want to do and how will you get there?

One job selection theory (Holland Self-directed search) thinks of jobs in terms of 6 basic functions. Figure out which type of job you would like, maybe a combination of two or three and then look for a job that uses those skills you have or would like to develop.

Say you like working with your hands. You might get a gardening job working outside mowing lawns, or you might become a trained landscape designer. More training, more pay, but it may still involve the same field. Or, still working with your hands, you might get trained as a diesel or aircraft mechanic.

Which gets paid more? The guy who puts tires on your car or the guy who fixes a jet engine? More specialized training and you get more money.

Another skill is working with people. You can work in fast food and say “Want fries with that?” or you can get a master’s degree and become a therapist. Either way, you work with people, but one pays more than the other.

So think about the various jobs you have had, which did you like best? Then look for ways you could do that sort of work but get a degree or advanced training and advance to having a career.

There are things that get in your way when you are looking for a job. What if you have a mental illness or a history of substance abuse? What if you have been convicted of a felony?

Coming up soon in this jobs-as-a-way-to-create-your-happy-life series are posts about those two problems.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at

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