The operative word in the definition of career is “long”. You need to find, if you have not already, the work you want to do for a long time. I know very few people who choose their career from the start. One of the funny lines about careers – “The reason adults ask young children what they want to be when they grow up is because they are looking for hints”.
Typically careers take a meandering path. Recently at the pool, our older grandson told a perfect stranger that he wanted to live on a ranch out west, design video games, and teach fencing when he is an adult. The younger grandson, not to be outdone, said “I want to be a sushi restaurant owner.” We shall see what the future holds.
You may know someone who got their degree in one thing but the opportunities took them somewhere else. We would hope that ‘somewhere else’ sparked something in them and that they enjoy what they do.
You know your job is well-suited if:
- Everything comes naturally. In other words, you know what to do next in differing situations but you don’t know why you know. It just flows out of you.
- You receive consistently positive feedback. The things you do and the results you achieve receive high praise.
- You find co-workers you are in-sync with. This is the opposite of feeling odd-man-out. Being in-sync with those you work with and your work environment is especially gratifying. You know you are in the right place at the right time with the right people.
- You are passionate about what you are doing. You are having fun because you know the work you are doing matters. Every positive impact you have on others brings you great joy.
- Pay is not the most important thing. Because you are being allowed to use the competencies and skills that energize you; the money is secondary.
- You can be you. You don’t have to pretend. It feels good because who you really are can shine through.
Kay was in the television industry. She worked her way up to managing a t.v. station, putting in long hours and great effort to make it a success. She was a high-achiever. The people she was working with loved her. But… something was missing. After great angst, she left the industry and moved to Chile for a couple of years teaching English as a second language at an elementary school. She discovered she loved working with children and loved teaching. That is what was missing for her. She completed her Masters in Education (previous degree had been in communications) while working at a predominantly-Spanish-speaking elementary school in Boston. When she graduated, she accepted a teacher position in a 2nd grade classroom in a small town outside of Boston. Her career and path to true success was launched! She has been happily teaching full-time for five years.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
“It is highly impossible for you to be successful at what you don’t love. Do what you love and love what you do.” – Israelmore Ayiyor