How to find a career that loves you back (even when you’re not sure what you want to do)

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Meet Wellness Collective, our new, immersive curriculum with Athleta that hooks you up with actionable advice from the smartest experts and brand founders in wellness right now. Get the goods at our monthly event series in New York City, plus our online one-month wellness plans. Here, Well+Good career-advice columnist and author Amy Odell divulges her four-step plan to get you closer to your dream gig. 

Study. Intern. Climb the ladder. It’s the pathway many of us have followed into what’s now our careers—but if you find yourself suddenly looking around and not loving the view, it’s time for a gut check.

And maybe a literal one. Being stressed out at work can have ripple effects across the rest of your life, from the quality of your sleep to the time you have to squeeze in a workout to your tendency to phone in takeout after you’ve put in long hours (ahem, aforementioned gut-health nod).

So when you find a career that gives you room for balance and the opportunity to grow, it’s the ultimate happiness hack. The hard part? Actually finding it. Whether you’re confused about your path or want to shift gears into something that fuels your well-being—rather than hinder it—we’re bringing in the big guns to help you do just that.

As in, Well+Good career columnist Amy Odell—former editor of Cosmo.com and media maven—who’s sharing the surprising strategies that can bring you clarity, stat.

Keep reading for your four-week plan to land a full-time job you love—and still maintain your wellness.


First, start with the basics: AKA, your interests back in school. “For me, it was writing papers, so I chose journalism because I always loved researching and writing,” Odell says. If everyone in your dorm came to you for meal-time advice, a career in health coaching or culinary nutrition might be in the cards.

After your initial brainstorm, seek out wisdom from others. “Family and friends are always great for advice, but sometimes it’s also nice to get feedback from an unbiased third-party source,” says Odell. Talking through your unique interests and experiences with a career counselor or life coach just might trigger an aha! moment.

The secret to squeezing the greatest amount of joy out of your future full-time or part-time gig is knowing your non-negotiables by heart. “Think about the kind of life you want to have outside of work,” Odell says. “If you know you want kids, for instance, and time to spend with them, you might not want to go into a line of work where you’re expected to travel four or five days out of the week.”

While every job comes with some level of compromise, try to commit to your basic outline rather than talk yourself into a position that feeds your desire to appear successful over your desire to be fulfilled.

“People who are happy at work don’t blindly chase money or power,” Odell says. “They don’t operate out of insecurity. They take risks, like working for themselves versus a soul-sucking corporation, because they know they’re happier without a manager. It takes a lot of confidence and support from loved ones to approach a career in this way.”

While you’re preoccupied with finding a new career, don’t forget to spend time doing the things you love. Maintaining your relationships will help keep your spiritual tank full and put things into perspective as you undoubtedly face obstacles in the road.

“Don’t give up on the people and things you love outside of work while you focus on your career,” Odell says. “Try that new air yoga class with your neighbor. Plan your friend’s baby shower. Go to Miami for the weekend on a whim. There is so much more to life than landing a job, and when the job is over (because no job lasts forever) you don’t want to feel like you have nothing else going on.”


Sending out 50 cover letters and only hearing back from a couple companies is tough. But according to Odell, getting rejected is an opportunity to prove yourself or further zero in on what you really want.

“I always tell people if you get rejected, try again,” says Odell, who reapplied to a company after not getting the position the first time. Ultimately, her tenacity paid off. “The person who rejected—and later hired—me was so impressed I had the gumption to try to get her to hire me again that she gave me a second chance.”

And remember: An interview isn’t just about whether you’re right for the job—it’s about if the job is right for you. “With any new opportunity, I look for two main things: an exciting role that will challenge me to do things I haven’t done before, and a company that seems like it’s heading in the right direction,” says Odell.  Rejection? That’s just your jumping off point.

Want more Wellness Collective? Hit up our monthly events at Athleta’s Flatiron flagship in New York City, and click here for more wellness intel.

In partnership with Athleta

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