Our careers take up such a large portion of our lives that it is of utter importance to be in a career you absolutely love.
There was a time when people believed it is okay to do whatever pays the bills, they believed even though you may not necessarily be happy in your career, that happiness does not pay the bills. Yes, happiness will not pay your bills, you cannot walk into the bank and cash in your happiness (wouldn’t it be great though if you could, we’d live in a world of totally happy people). You are guaranteed only the life you live now and you should make the best of it.
If you find yourself in a position where your education and experience only qualifies you for a field you are no longer happy with, there are things you can do to change that career into one you will love, I will address this in more detail in my next article. Some people may be fortunate to have little or no financial obligations or be young enough to go back to the drawing board and rethink their path, if this is the case the tips below will help you find the career that is right for you.
First things first
Start by making a comprehensive list of things you enjoy doing. Then cross out those things you really enjoy doing but totally suck at. Next cross out things you enjoy doing, are great at, but cannot earn money doing, e.g. being the best beer-pong player fun as it may be, may not the best option for earning a living.
Once you are left with only realistic options in terms of talent and earning potential, map your skills to potential careers. Then make decisions on what you are willing and able to do to get into those careers. Example, if medicine is on the list are you willing to go to school for 7+ years? If not cross it off the list if yes do you have the means to do so? If not cross it off. By now your list should be significantly shorter.
Of the items left on your list rate them by allocating points based on what is important to you. You decide how many points each factor is worth. Example points system:
Money – how much can I earn in this career.
Flexibility – working hours, work from home.
Work Hours – would you have to work shifts (night, weekends), is a workday 8 or 12 hours.
Non-monetary Rewards – Do you get free accommodation, or free studies, or staff discounts, or incentive trips etc.
Enjoyability – the whole purpose of this exercise is to find a career you will love so, how much do you think you will enjoy the said job based on role requirements and overall responsibility?
Keep it real
Now that you found the right career it is time to consider if it is right for you. I believe I am a great listener and I love helping people but I tend to carry people’s burdens so a career in psychology would be terrible for me. Look at the pros and cons of your choice based on personal preference and ability or limitations.
How bad do you want it?
Are you ready to make some personal sacrifices to attain your goals? Nothing worth having comes easy. You may have to make some financial sacrifices if your new career requires further studying. Another sacrifice might be time, so sleeping a little less, or substituting your free time with learning time, temporarily giving up your favourite TV show or social activities. In order to gain experience in your chosen field you may need to do some voluntary work as some companies are reluctant to have an inexperienced person on their payroll.
- Research companies that you are interested in and are hiring.
- Update your résumé with your newly acquired skills and experience.
- Brush up your interview skills.
- Send your résumé out.
Go get it
You have worked hard to get to this point, you deserve this. You are well prepared and ready for this new chapter in your career. Having achieved what you did to get to this point makes you an asset. You have earned the privilege of being in a career you absolutely will love. Now, go be happy.
Remember, a positive attitude goes a long way in attaining happiness.