If you’re reading this post, odds are that at some point in your life you have spent time trying to figure out your perfect career. By this I mean the somewhat illusive concept of a job that is fulfilling, purposeful, interesting and also lucrative.
It’s also most likely that you haven’t found a job/career that fits that description 100%. It’s possible you’ve found it, but not likely.
The right career is certainly something I’ve been working to find for many years. I’ve done my share of internships, certifications, online searches, and meetings with my career counselor.
I think one of the reasons it’s so hard to narrow down and choose something these days is because this generation has so many options. Our grandfathers’ generation would simply choose a company and stay there for 40 years. These days, it is acceptable and normal to have a handful of careers over the course of our professional lives. We are encouraged to shoot for the stars, follow our dreams, and live up to our full potential.
Not that that advice is necessarily wrong, but it can be a lot of pressure too! We want to live up to our potential, but that can leave us feeling anxious and indecisive. Additionally, the hunt for the “perfect” job can sometimes get in the way of the right job.
Sometimes it is good to take a chance, do something radical and exciting, and possibly succeed. But at other times the right choice is to do something a bit boring, that allows you to take care of your responsibilities and/or family.
I do not have the absolute answer for me or for anyone else. I’m getting closer to the right direction in my own life, although I’m not completely there yet. Along the way, however, as I’ve searched and sought and brainstormed, I’ve received some really wise and encouraging advice from my career counselor and family members. I thought I would take a moment and share with you a list of the best bits of advice I’ve received.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others.
In the age of social media, when everyone is sharing the best parts of their lives (or how they hope to be perceived) through Facebook, it is easy to compare. This is true for jobs, relationships, etc etc. However, remember that nobody’s life or situation is perfect. Take your eyes off of what everyone else is doing and focus on figuring out the right path for yourself.
2. Don’t compare yourself to a storybook timeline.
In our culture, we have it set in our minds that the right path is to go to college, get a job, get married, move to a nice house, and have children. The reality is, these events rarely happen to us in this exact order. Life is unpredictable. If we constantly compare ourselves to this timeline, then we will also constantly feel inadequate or like a failure.
3. Sometimes a job is a just a job
No matter your current situation or level of career satisfaction, I think it’s important to take time to reflect on your purpose in life. What do you want to live for? What do you want to accomplish in this life? What brings meaning and joy to you? These are the important things to focus on. If you’re lucky, your job will coincide with these things. Sometimes it won’t, but that’s ok. If you are focused on what’s important and doing that outside of work, then you will be more fulfilled.
4. Your job does not define you
See above. This is a hard one for us. When we meet someone, almost the first question we ask is what they “do”. This is for a good reason – it tells us a lot about them. However, I personally think it’s more important to consider who you are and what matters to you so that you are comfortable in your identity and purpose outside of work. Then if you somehow lose your job, you won’t have a major identity crisis to accompany the stress of job hunting.
5. It is OK to switch careers
As mentioned before, these days we change jobs much more often. This can be a good thing, because it takes some pressure off. Just because you are working somewhere right now, doesn’t mean you will be working there for all eternity. You might need to be there for a couple of years and use the time to save money towards your more risky venture in the future.
I hope these bits of advice help you in the same way they have helped me! Keeping these things in mind has given me a lot of encouragement.
If you have any advice of your own or thoughts on this subject, feel free to comment below as I would love to hear what you have to say. GOOD LUCK!!