So you’re probably at that stage where you’re asking… What career is right for me?
Your Current Situation
You probably hear people tell you all the time. Your parents, your friends, your relatives, they have all influenced you at some point in your life. You parents might have advised you to focus on certain career paths – whether it’s a doctor, teacher, engineer, lawyer, whatever it is. You probably dislike most of them, but it’s what they feel is best and safe for you. They don’t mean any harm. That’s why you’re probably pressured into thinking “what career is right for me”. It’s a thought that we all inevitably have.
And then you have your friends, where they seem to know what they want, and you’re chasing something close or similar to them. They might’ve told you what is good and what isn’t.
You also may know people working certain jobs, and they’re giving you advise on what you should do. What’s good in demand, what’s stable, what gives you the most income, you get my point.
But let me tell you, none of that matters.
So How Do I know?
The truth is, you’re not going to find out until later… OR, you may never find it. That is, the perfect career for you.
What I truly believe is, there isn’t one “career” for you. There are multiple. Or it could change, from time and time again. I’ve seen it happen.
Why do you see people changing careers or jobs even when they’re in their late 40s, 50s or 60s? Shouldn’t they have it all figured out by then? That’s the thing with life. It’s ever changing, and you adapt to it. But don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you in the dark. I will give you some actions steps you can take.
How often have you spoken to someone, and they tell you – “Oh, I knew what I wanted to do ever since I was 6 years old, and I’ve never changed since”.
The Perception Of Career And Money
When you listen to people’s stories, do you realize a common pattern? It’s never as simple as – “Oh I did X and here I am today”. That’s too much of a straight line, which is practically impossible.
It always goes something like this – “Oh I tried this first.. and didn’t work so I ended up in X. I then knew this person and he recommended me at Y. From Y I worked 5 years and realized I was better at something else, so I moved to Z instead, and I’m loving it so far”. Isn’t life more like a maze?
My point is, you think you “know” what your career is. But we truly never know. We always end up in places we’d never imagine. Life’s a little funny like that.
In my opinion, people only choose careers because of 2 reasons – for work and (stable) income. Maybe that’s not entirely true, but there’s some truth in it. For example, you might think – “I should be a lawyer because I get paid $150,000 a year. That’s enough to support me and my family, buy a car, buy a house, and live a comfortable life.”
Most people, or students per se, get into colleges/universities to study for a career. And without actually realizing it, they’re doing it for the stability and income to survive in the future. While that’s not their fault, it’s just how the world works. You can’t survive without money. You might be in that situation right now.
It’s time for you to decide what you want to study, so you can have a good career and live a successful life.
If you were given the choice to not work for the rest of your life and do whatever the heck you want, would you take it? Or would you rather work a career for the rest of your life?
Why People Work Jobs or “Careers”
You see, majority of people I believe work all their lives not because they know it’s their career, but because it lets them live. It pays the bills, feeds them, provides a roof over their heads.
Some people work because they have no choice. Some work because it gives them a reason to wake up everyday. You’ll be surprised some work just because they are bored. For some people that I know, they feel it gives them purpose. For the majority, they work because it allows them to live a comfortable life.
So you need to ask yourself – “What is my purpose for choosing this path? Is it for the money? Fame? Passion?”.
So you’ve said all that, but what do I choose?
Don’t worry. I just want to let you know if you feel this way, you’re not alone. When I started out in University, I changed courses three times. I thought I knew what I wanted, but I was so wrong. Even when I started working my career, I changed 2 jobs. And now, I’m doing my own business (and this blog too).
So without further ado, here are some steps you can take to help you get started:
1. Find and know what you are naturally good at (this could possibly be your passion)
This is something that will help you in your journey, especially picking a starting “career”. For example, if you’re good with computers, learn some coding, learn about software development, learn about hardware, etc. If you’re good at numbers, perhaps learn some accounting, how basic ledgers work, how to calculate finances. If you’re naturally good at teaching others, maybe education or being a teacher is for you. Don’t limit this to one thing, but make a list of things you are good at. This will come in handy later. Prioritize your talents from best to worst.
2. Find a course/degree that offers a study in your “talent”
So from the example above, if you’re good at computers, find courses related to it and break it down. You could study App development, Computer engineering, Computer science, etc. Because what you’ll find later is that it’ll be easier for you to land jobs. If what you’re good at is not found in education, look for places where they offer practical training. This could be something like cooking, or some labor intensive job.
3. Research potential jobs in your market
So once you know what you’re going to be studying, you need to know what kind of jobs are out there. You can’t simply pick a study just because you like it. You have to be realistic. Know what job titles and roles you can pursue once you are done with study. Try to be as niche or specific as you can.
4. Always, always have a backup plan
Especially if the field you want to get into is very competitive, you need to prepare for a backup in case you miss it. Keep in mind that no matter what you want to do, there’s always going to be competition. The tougher the competition, the harder it is to get in. It’s usually only a small percentage of people that get in. As mentioned from the list in number (1) above, you need to do research on other fields of study as well. The last thing you want is to be stuck and clueless when you don’t get into your first preference.
5. Know the value you can provide to companies
Have you ever thought about it this way.. When you work for someone, you are offering them a service, and you’re helping the company. The employer is your client. They are hiring you because you bring great value to them. The reason why people feel so powerless is because they feel companies are doing them a favor by hiring them. Know what you can bring to the table, know your worth. Be confident.
6. Lastly, enjoy the journey
Look, chances are, you’re not going to end up where you think you will. But, you’ll end up in a place far better than what you imagine. Don’t stress about failures. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get your first preference. Take it all as a learning experience. You are growing each step you take. To enjoy a fulfilling life, you need to embrace the journey, and be proud of what you do. Don’t be so fixated on “one” destination. Enjoy life as it comes.
I hope this has helped you some way or the other. This isn’t just for students looking to get into a job. If you’re already working and feel you want to change, just do it. It’s never too late. If you ever find yourself asking “What career is right for me” again, know the purpose of why you even consider it in the first place.
“Change is the law of life” – John F. Kennedy.
Geoff is a blogger, social media consultant, influencer and loves to motivate people. Ever since venturing on his own journey, he has acquired many skill sets in business, blogging, self-development and more. From faith, podcasts, books, mentors and personal experiences he believes in sharing the knowledge gained with the intention of helping other people.