Confucius: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
How many of us choose a career because it is what our parents or teachers expect of us? Perhaps we don’t know what we want so their choice is better than no choice at all. It is an incredibly daunting moment to be walking away from High School or university and have no clue what we want to do. Inevitably, if we choose a career for someone else, it will rarely fulfil us and you may find yourself in 20 years asking how you ended up here.
Growing up with the sex appeal of the corporate world, a world introduced by my father, I saw the trips to Switzerland, fancy dinners and wanting for nothing and made the decision that that was what I wanted. This is hardly a foolproof way to decide, everything is sparkly from the outside. Big corporate is about these wonderful things, but it is also about playing the game, serving one master after another and sacrifice. Maybe you are willing to walk this line, just make sure you are aware of the road to be travelled before you drink the Kool aid.
There is often a certain pressure from home to be successful, and success is often measured in terms of $$$. Parents want the best for us, but sometimes miss the mark because the priority is often stability and financial security. This expectation, albeit well intentioned, can lead us down the wrong road.
Teachers at school have their own expectations. I don’t remember being aware of much more than the expectation that we would be Lawyers, Accountants or Doctors when I was at school. Maybe you were told that proceeding past year 10 was pointless. Teachers encourage certain avenues, that aren’t necessarily right. Often, a decision to do and Arts degree when you have received a 99.99 UAI had people questioning whether you should be committed. Here is the thing, if that what you want, then go for it.
The question we constantly get asked growing up, “what do you want to do when you graduate?” leads to us feeling like we are failures if we don’t have an answer at 16! To take time is okay! The expectations of parents and teachers will matter less as time moves on and what will matter is you and what you want.
When choosing a career, it’s important to listen to those who have more experience than us, but it is more important to remember these key things:
5 things to remember when considering your career options.
- It doesn’t have to be for life. It is okay to make choices and change your mind, to take a different path or even a hundred of them.
- Strive to find a career in something you are passionate about. You spend more than half of your life working. Which means if you are doing a job you don’t love, you spend more than half your time here either unhappy or in purgatory.
- Make sure what you do and where you work aligns with your values and needs. Like a long term relationship, you are going to struggle to be happy if you aren’t in a role or company that aligns with what you fundamentally believe.
- Think big! If your dream is to be an expert in Shipping Law, and you live in Alice Springs, it may be time to consider re locating. Having to move is frightening, but if you want something, it is time to take the plunge.
- Happiness at work matters!