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Whether you seek more flexibility, a career change in meaning or focus, or find yourself at a key career and life transition point — perhaps returning to work after a career break or from maternity leave — the key to finding work that truly works for you is to be in touch with what exactly it is that you want.

Sounds obvious, but taking the time to connect with your wants versus needs will help you make good decisions.

To help identify those wants, life and career coach Laura Riordan put together a list of questions to get you there, focusing on the ins and outs of how you want to work, how you want your day to look, and more.

Getting Started

Before tackling the list of questions, it’s important be in the right frame of mind.

Riodan advises: “Start by carving out some uninterrupted time and get specific and creative with your terms. Imagine a time when you felt empowered and engaged with your work. You can reach as far back as childhood or perhaps a recent project to find a time when you felt a sense of flow and all other things seemed to fall away.” See Riordan’s full guide to making the change you want.

10 Questions to Define the Work You Seek

With your terms and sense of flow in check, work your way through these questions:

1. What does you ideal day look like?

2. What is your ideal work environment?

3. Who do you want to work with/for/in service of?

4. Are you more inspired working in a group of people or by yourself?

5. Do you prefer working in a natural setting or a posh office?

6. What kind of time commitment are you interested in?

7. How much flexibility to you need and want?

8. How far are you willing to commute?

9. Do you want to work on projects or a contract basis?

10. Do you want or need to leave work behind when you get home?

Completing this exercise won’t necessarily make the perfect situation appear magically, but it will provide a compass to refer back to and guide you as you navigate your career.

Après is a career resource for women returning to work after a career break or transitioning within the workforce. Reconnect with you professional self by searching job opportunities, getting inspired and finding resources, and refreshing your skills.

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