How To Choose A Career That You Will Love
Finding a career path you love is akin to hitting life’s jackpot. We all have to work to live, but not everyone is fortunate enough to enjoy their daily responsibilities and routines. So how can you count yourself among those who can genuinely say they love what they do? It’s not luck – it’s a careful blend of weighing up your career options and following the steps of career planning to see it into fruition.
In the world we live in today, money is definitely a powerful tool, but choosing to chase it often comes at the price of not being able to do something you love and look forward to every day. This ancient dilemma is by no means black and white; there are many benefits to a dream job in the grey area.
It is worth noting that should you choose to pursue your passion, workdays will seem less monotonous, and there won’t be a dull feeling washing over you when the alarm clock rings. The phrase, “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,” may seem like a washed-out cliché, but it does hold some truth in it.
In terms of higher motivation, doing the job more effortlessly and passionately, you can see how that sentence got so famous. It’s true that a day of work still remains a day of work, whether you like the job or not. However, the small factors in and around it do change and ultimately have an impact on our overall sense of self.
Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you will make in life. It's about so much more than deciding what you will do to make a living. To start with, think about the amount of time we spend at work. We are on the job approximately 71% of every year. Over our lifetimes, this comes to roughly 31½ years out of the 45 years most of us spend working, from the beginning of our careers until retirement. The importance of selecting a career with which we are satisfied cannot be overemphasized.
While some people are lucky enough to just know what they want to do and end up satisfying careers without giving it much thought, most of us are not. Many people don't put enough effort into choosing occupations or pick them for the wrong reasons. Maybe they choose careers that seem secure or pay well. They then end up unhappy. The best way to make sure that doesn't happen to you is to make a well-thought-out decision.
When we ask people about the most meaningful parts of their life, family, health and work often rank as the top three. Choosing the type of work you’ll do, therefore, is arguably one of the most important decisions you can make. Selecting a career path can take weeks, months or even years as you continue learning what you want and need in a job. It’s important to note that you may have the option to change your path multiple times in your life, making the ability to choose a new career a valuable life skill.
Do you know anyone that left a great job to become an artist, life coach or perhaps, teach yoga in a quest to follow their passion? Sadly, many of them returned to their old careers after heartbreaking struggles. The worst part is when one discovers that the thing they were passionate about it first, isn’t so great when it becomes a full-time job.
Then there is this whole issue of needing to actually earn a paycheck. Not only is “follow your passion” bad advice, so are the well-trodden paths of following the money trail (not everyone wants to be a software engineer) or sticking to what you are good at (often reinforced since childhood).
The best way to find a job that doesn’t become a mediocre career is to find a line of work that fulfills three criteria: Passion, Skill and Need. What’s misleading is when people talk about just one (or two) of these dimensions being the key to success. They all matter.
Overemphasizing any one of these will lead to frustration, anxiety and dejection over the long term. I think we should all strive to find a vocation that strikes at the intersection of these three attributes. If you aren’t in a job you enjoy, or perhaps are out of work entirely, this mental model will help you sort out the best next step for you.
The Career You Love
This is where developing your own personalized set of habits can come in. It might be tempting to pick the first job that interests you, but it’s equally important to develop the qualities that will lead you to the one you’re truly passionate about.
Personal satisfaction is the key to reaching your potential and the same goes for your career choice. You should be aiming for something more than just a job that pays the bills. In a world where internet searches have the potential to start a world-ending scenario, it’s about time that we stand up for ourselves and know what we truly want.
Careers that align with our values can also be more satisfying and engaging. This is what makes it such a struggle for many of us to make a decision at some point. Although the field you are in has very different effects on our overall well-being, it seems pretty clear that the choice of work experience may have a significant impact on both our happiness and how well we feel at work.
Most likely, the hard and the easier way is the right one. Your individual career path is your unique path. To create a well-balanced approach to job searching, don’t choose the path because of the pay, or because you think it’s easy. Instead, select a career you love to earn an honest income, even if it means giving up other things.
Choosing A Job You Love
Take this example: You love cooking, which is one of the most practical and low-maintenance careers. However, you are scared that you will end up in a soul-sucking job like working in a restaurant. By following your passion, though, you could be able to do a job you love for a long time.
Maybe your potential employer is a well-established food company that has set aside a spot for chefs in their company. The boss knows you love cooking and would like to help you find your way. You wouldn’t be working in a restaurant, though, but you would still have that dreamy professional position you’ve been dreaming of. And with dedication, you could become a certified chef in the company.
“What if”? What if, instead of chasing the money machine, you decided to become a motivational speaker and give talks about all the great things that you are passionate about? After years of experience in the field, you would have a handful of skills that will allow you to start a lucrative career.
I know it sounds crazy, but this is what happened to me. I met someone through a mutual friend who worked for Motivate Australia (or Motivate for short) – the largest website that organizes motivational speaker events across Australia. After a brief conversation with the founder and CEO, Robyn Daniels, I was blown away by her passion and enthusiasm for the people and the job.
Importance Of Loving Your Career
Trying to apply oneself 100 percent, sacrificing sleep or free time to get through the day, and dragging yourself out of the bed every morning in order to give your all and feel like you’re making a difference—these feelings are what we call dedication, something that we are likely to sense as dedication when we are doing what we really want.
This is why having a passion for your work is very important. When you are passionate about what you do and find a job you like doing and find the process fulfilling, you will tend to work at a higher level than if you are forced to do something because you have to.
Understand Yourself And Your Personality
Research shows that doing a job you dislike makes us miserable. So, let’s start with the obvious question: “Do I love my job?” If the answer is no, you need to take a few steps back and really examine what else is there that you can be doing in the field. Most people will not reach the point of shying away from life.
Rather, they will stretch themselves beyond the ordinary, working hard to fit in a career they love. The key is being happy, both at work and at home. We all have different personality types, and being in a particular occupation just for the money and personal fulfillment can cause great stress. When this is a negative influence on our day-to-day, the mind’s natural inclination will always be to drift towards something else.
Your personality is the sum of your experiences, talents, goals and general character, so it may not be all that accurate to say that your job should be something that compliments your nature. It is, however, a little safer to take it that way, especially if you are just starting out.
That said, one thing is for certain, your personality is likely dictating what you are good at and what you’d like to do in life. With all that in mind, it is important to realize that every job, while not being comparable, does have something in common: you are in charge. Ultimately, this is what is driving you and what it is about. In the end, whether you choose the high-paying one or one that comes with more work hours, it is very important to know who you are and who you want to become.
Evaluate Your Skills
Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit.
- Are you an artist? Designer? Musician? Writer? What is your superpower?
- Is it creating, problem solving, originality, or all of the above?
- Now, what can you put your skills into?
- What do you like to do outside of the office? Do you have hobbies and activities that aren’t directly related to your job?
- Who do you spend time with? Is it the same crowd?
- What do you enjoy doing and what could you pursue in your free time to enhance those skills?
Start by discovering how you can make yourself more interesting by carving out a time in your schedule for personal interests. Find something you’re passionate about that is free and you can do for yourself or as a group. If you haven’t already found the answer, you can always create it.
The next thing you should do is check what skills you have and what you lack. Start by thinking about the roles you would like to fill and which skills will help you fill them. The jobs you can manage without, you should find less taxing and use your time wisely to work on your strongest skills instead.
You should ask yourself:
- What is my level of proficiency?
- What are my strengths and my weaknesses?
Perhaps you would benefit from a different job position from that of the one you currently hold. You may even think that you are not the right candidate for that job because of the required skills and personality. You may also notice that there is a skill you are already good at but could use a bit more practice.
Make A List Of Potential Careers To Explore
The most important first step is to create a list of all the jobs you are curious about. This list doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but it should include your dream jobs. Doing this exercise will help you to find out which jobs are worth your time and money.
You should be able to recognize what these jobs look like, and this will help you to narrow your options down a bit more. For example, if you already love programming, then you are probably not going to enjoy working in the oil industry. You’d probably have to change your mindset and be a little more patient since you will be doing what’s considered to be a low-status job there.
With all of the different careers out there, it can seem daunting to narrow it down. It’s a good idea to build up a mental list of some of your interests, and attempt to narrow it down to the top two or three that would be rewarding for you.
It can help to have a balance between those that would have a professional and emotional income for you, and those that could be rewarding but would be hard or involve a lot of heavy lifting. The latter ones should only be seriously considered once you’re sure you are mentally capable of enduring hard physical work.
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Understand Your Weaknesses And Dislikes
The fact is that it’s easy for anyone to do a job that they have no interest in; it takes a lot more of you to truly engage with a task and know that you’re achieving something positive, which to most people is a big switch. To bridge the gap between not having a passion for work and having the passion for work, you need to do some self-reflection, and think carefully about what you find fascinating and useful about the task, what you like and dislike about it, what you would rather be doing, and what would make you happy.
A happy employee will be a healthy and productive employee, so this is a crucial aspect in making the decision about your own career path. The more personal your analysis, the more you will be motivated to give it your best shot and do what you love.
What will you hate doing and be unable to stand doing for hours? What will you enjoy doing and constantly look forward to doing? These are the questions that come to mind when considering a job with certain tasks. We have many skills and interests, but some may be more realistic than others, depending on your skills, experiences, and aspirations.
No job is perfect, but if you think you know what you need to do to get a good job and be proud of it, then get started. Unless you have multiple degrees or a specialist skill in a certain field and have the license to practice, you will need to get it over the years. Learning a craft or a trade that is marketable in today’s world has never been so simple.
Research Your Top Choices
You’ve narrowed your choices down, but did you take the time to research each option? Even if you’re fortunate enough to have a variety of options to choose from, you can still take some time to digest and consider your choices. Think about what your ideal situation would be, and then conduct research on it to uncover more about it.
Perhaps you’re searching for a job where you’re the boss. Research the work you would be doing, and ask people at the company. What are they doing, and how much do they enjoy doing it? Perhaps you’re looking for a job where you work in a collaborative and energetic atmosphere.
The decision about what to pursue might seem intimidating, as there are hundreds of careers that span a whole range of interests, experiences, and skillsets. However, for the purpose of trying to figure out if this is what you’re looking for, you should consider the following:
- The category of profession you are seeking to enter
- The career goal you have
- The perks and benefits it can bring you
- The industry you are aiming to enter
- The field of work you would love to be doing
It may seem overwhelming, but I think a little bit of self-reflection will help you. Do you love to play with new things? Does learning something new come naturally to you? Do you spend your weekends cooking, building furniture, or reading magazines? If so, these may be the professions that match you the best.
Conduct Informational Interviews
Go on informational interviews and ask as many people as possible what they are doing and how they like it. Find out whether it’s an industry you know a little about or an area you have no prior experience in. Asking for feedback from people you know for informational interviews is definitely a nice and professional move, but don’t take it too far.
Informational interviews are just that — interactions with people who have something to give you. Sometimes, it’s not possible to talk to everyone or there are too many people to talk to. So, keep an open mind and remember to network with people who you know are going through the same industry as you. This gives you insight into what professional life is like for them.
When you are looking for your first job, the most important part of the process is to ask questions and learn about different companies. However, some people take this as a chance to blatantly come up with their own advice. To avoid this, start by asking questions that are relevant to your own situation.
Listen to what other people have to say and form a more thorough understanding of the role and its goals. This step alone will increase your chances of being a good candidate in the eyes of the hiring manager and have you getting that dream job.
Should we continue with the tradition of blindly chasing our dreams and hoping to be the most successful at it? Or are there some other routes to follow? We’ve explored the hard and soft options; in what ways can we pursue our passions, but be more sustainable in the process?
What exactly does the quote, “Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life,” mean? It may seem self-explanatory, but it’s a tricky formula to navigate. If you had to pick one or two key aspects, how would you go about choosing a job you love?
It all depends on your motives for changing your job, and whether you want to do it in an innovative way. When looking for a job, it is also a good idea to think about what the tasks and responsibilities of the position entail.
If your motivation is that you want to pursue your passion, you might want to look at job options that offer opportunities for a wide range of interests and skillsets. If you already have a lot of knowledge in the area and enjoy that knowledge, working in a career where you can have fun and excel at something you enjoy doing is highly likely to bring you satisfaction.
I trust you enjoyed this article on How To Choose A Career That You Will Love. Would you please stay tuned for more articles to come? Take care!
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Thoughts? Ideas? Questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave me your questions, experiences, remarks, and suggestions about How To Choose A Career That You Will Love, in the comments below. You can also contact me by email at Jeannette@WorkFromAnywhereInTheWorld.com.