Choose a Career that Fits
Choosing a career is a primary choice that you have to make in life. These choices aren’t easy, they typically aren’t made quickly, and most people revise them as they go forward. What this means is that whatever job or career you choose in college or your 20s, which change and be different as you move toward retirement. What most people find as they go through life, is that what they thought they wanted to do early on, just doesn’t excite them as they thought it would. And let’s not overlook, that most of our waking hours are spent at work, or our job, trying to learn how to make money. So, given that a career is such a huge investment of time, you’ll want to make a wise decision and choose a job that makes you happy and excites you.
High School & College Years
In those later teen years or early college years, a lot of our career planning is based on what our parents, family, or counselors have directed us towards. A lot of people find their parents recommending the career that they wish they had done, or even the exact career that they are currently in. So, my dad was and accountant and it worked well for him, so guess what major I entered in college? Yep, I was on track to be an accountant and that’s exactly what my undergraduate degree was in. Now I can’t totally blame this accounting degree on my father, I too was interested in it, and I felt at the time it would lead me towards a career that I was interested in…being an FBI agent. LOL. So my dad wanted me to be a number cruncher and I wanted to join the Marines and be in the FBI. So, you see I was driven at a young age to make the decisions that my parents thought were right for me, and ultimately I tried to tailor those decisions to fit what I wanted to do.
So what is the lesson here? The lesson that we should take from this is to follow your dreams, and follow what excites you and interests you in your career. This isn’t to say that you should ignore the suggestions of your mentors or parents, you definitely should follow the advice of people who have been there before. But with this said, you’ll want to question and challenge their suggestions to hopefully come up with the suggestion that is right for you.
After College – Choosing the Right Path
Getting through H.S. and College are two monumental tasks for a teenager or 20 something…right? Let’s not forget that these years are full of parental pressure, peer pressure, relationship drama, school challenges and friendships. Even with all of these challenges we are expected to know exactly what we plan to do for the rest of our lives. How did we do this? Well the idea here is that you probably made some good decisions and bad decisions. As you work your way through college, and graduate, you’ll want to stop yourself and assess just what path you are working towards, and reassess if this path is right for you. In my example, I graduated with a degree in Accounting, and upon graduation from University I needed to choose just what type of job I wanted to go after and if this was going to be right for me. These early years in your career are very important and so you’ll want to make good decisions.
My cousin graduated from college also with an accounting degree about 15 years after I finished. We were all discussing the career choices that he was about to make. He had just finished the CPA exam, and was in the process of choosing between these two jobs:
- Auditor at a CPA firm
- Public Lifeguard at a San Diego Beach
So, with my background and experience combined with his Uncles and Father, we all suggested that he pursue finishing the 2 year requirement for finishing his CPA designation. Then at the tender age of still 24 he could pursue being a lifeguard once his designation was completed. This is the exact type of good decision making that you’ll need to make when you are faced with a difficult choice to make. The opportunity to have a good job that may allow you a prestigious designation is not easy to come by, and may not have been something that he could return to complete at a later date. So at times, you will be best suited to listed to other people who may guide you in the right direction. With that said, if he was certain that he hated accounting, or wanted a life of being a lifeguard, that is still his choice to make.
Early Career in the Workforce
As you begin an early career, this is the best time to realign your interests if you feel that you’re going down the wrong path. Maybe you’ve chosen a degree or started into a career that you quickly find that you aren’t interested in. Now remember, what you do as a entry level person, or a beginner, will certainly be different that what you do 5 or 10 years later. Let’s not loose site of the fact that we are starting the career that we hope to have for a few decades right? The process here is to start by looking not at what you are doing now, but look at what the managers, owners & directors are doing at the company. These are the people that you aspire to become, and these are the people that you need to think about working into their jobs.
In some cases, you will realize that you are in a situation with a career that you love and want to continue in. But in some cases you don’t see that there is upward mobility for you at this firm. In this case, you will want to network, look for other job openings, and research other firms that you can move to. This is really important that you don’t give up on a career that you are enjoying, just because of a specific situation.
Getting Good Job Experience
When you start out in a field, but aspire for so much more, you’ll need to ensure that you are getting experience that you can use as resume filler in the future. You can do this be requesting certain projects, or other duties that will fulfill the job requirements for your next dream job. For example, if you want to be in marketing but you are currently in the accounting department, you can look for tasks in your area that may lead to getting a job in marketing department. Trust me, these fringe opportunities exist, you just need to look hard and let me brainstorm with you some examples:
From the Accounting Department to Marketing:
- Worked closely with Marketing Department to devise metrics for new Christmas marketing brochure
- Made mail merge with Microsoft world and Excel for shipping marketing materials
- Assisting and writing product descriptions for new products added to the system.
- Worked closely with Marketing Director to complete Annual report for Board of Directors
- Helped Sales team to create monthly sales reports
As you can see from these examples, all of the projects or tasks focus on the department that you hope to move into. So, when an opportunity comes up that has to do with either sales or marketing, your hand should shoot up faster than any of your other peers to take on these special assignments. So, that whether you move departments in the same company or look outside of the company, you can point to real examples where you assisted or did direct work in your sough after career.
Also, don’t leave a job too early if you are getting good long term experience even if the company you are at isn’t the exact company you want to stay at long term. For example, you may be at a smaller company and be able to obtain a higher title that you would be able to at a larger company. However, you may be able to get great experience at the small company by wearing more than one hat. So, you’ll need to do some analysis to make sure that you are making wise career decisions.
Mid Career Job Changes
Many people decide after many years that they just hate their career. Sometimes a person may find that no matter what they do, the characteristics of their chosen career will never suit them. In these cases, you’ll need to do some careful analysis of your current life requirements. If it is still relatively early in your career and you are less than 30 and without a family or dependents then you may be able to make drastic changes in your job or career. The creator of Minecraft, Markus Persson, quit his job and went off onto his own to follow his dream and passion. This was a bold and crazy move, but he had great experience in game design before he made this move. After a couple of years of hard work, Minecraft was well on its way to be acquired by Microsoft for around 4 Billion dollars. But in order to make a jump like this, you’ll need to assess your financial situation, dependent situation, and run a detailed budget to see just how you can afford to follow your dreams.
Let’s not overlook that most entrepreneurs fail at their dreams despite their best efforts. So never take on too much risk, and make sure that you do your homework and analysis, and only take well thought out and calculated risks.
It’s never to Late to Be Happy
After all of these suggestions and tips about finding the perfect career, don’t loose sight of your dreams. Make sure that you never give up trying to achieve a career that you love and a career that makes your feel whole. You’ll find that even if you have to suffer at the beginning of a career, as long as you pick the right one, you’ll be much happier in the long run.
As always, comment down below and let us know if we can improve this article in any way.