One of the most important decisions we make in life is the career we choose to follow. Sometimes our career is the result of us following the path of least resistance. Sometimes it’s the result of doing what our parents want us to do. And sometimes we luck out and somehow end up with a satisfying career.
With so many careers available to us, you’d think it’d be easy to end up with one that’s just perfect; but reality hardly ever turns out that way.
You probably already know someone who doesn’t like their job. In fact, you probably know several people who are like this. It’s more common than it should be, which is unfortunate. Question is – are you one of those people?
Do you wish you had taken a different path all those years ago? Do you wish you took the risk and accepted that job in another country? Do you wish you opened up that cookie joint you’ve wanted all your life? Or is it more simple, and you just wish you weren’t so low on the corporate ladder?
Well it’s not too late. There’s still time for you figure out what career you want from life so you can finally start feeling satisfied with the work you do. How so? By finding a fulfilling career path.
There are many ways to figure out the best career path for you, but it first requires that you accept the fact that you want something more. It can be frightening, attempting to move beyond what feels normal and safe. But if you ever want that feeling of satisfaction after a hard day’s work, then you need start taking action towards your ideal career.
So without further ado, let’s figure out how to find that satisfying and fulfilling career.
1: Find Patterns In Your Past
The first clue to your fulfilling career can be found in your past. Take a second to comb through your upbringing and think about all the recurring things within it.
Did you join a lot of clubs? That’s a sign that you love social interaction. Did you get stellar grades? That’s a sign that you love improving and/or competing with others. There’s so many things to find in your past, you’ve just got to think of the actions you constantly found yourself doing to clue you in as to what careers would work best for you.
2: Envision The Lifestyle You’d Like To Have
A simple method for determining your ideal career is just envisioning what you’d like your life to look like in the future. For instance, if you envision yourself at home, working on your laptop with an open window nearby and nobody around, then you want a career that lets you work at home. If you imagine yourself chatting it up with co-workers while working hard on a project you feel invested in, then a job with a startup might be your thing.
Just let your imagination fly – there’s no wrong here. The great thing about our visions is that they can fulfilled by several different careers, so long as it fits in with what we envision.
3: Define Your Version Of Happiness
Rather than envisioning your ideal career, you can get specific with what you’d like out of your career.
For instance, you might define happiness and fulfilment as strong sociality; being laid-back/carefree; engaging work. What jobs fill those roles? Maybe a tech startup or a relaxed corporate role. What if you define happiness simply as solitude? What careers fill that role? Freelance writing, computer tech work, online secretarial positions, etc.
This technique is just brainstorming a bunch of jobs that fit in with your idea of happiness and fulfillment. It can be fun, and will open your eyes to how many options have to choose from.
4: Consider Your Passions
Passion is very strong sign of the type of career you choose. The question is – can your passion/interest be turned into a career option?
Think about it… Do you like to sew? Can you make sewing into a business of some kind? Sure you can, plenty of people have sewing businesses already. But what about something like… twirling pens in your fingers? What if you love that hobby? What if it’s even a passion of yours? Can you make that work? Probably not (though I’d be happy if somebody proved me wrong).
Following your passion can work, but it’s not as flexible as the other methods I’ve listed. And it’s because your passion might not have a market to work with. So this tip should be followed with a logical head. Really think of whether or not people need your passion, because there’s more to a satisfying and fulfilling job than it simply being your passion.
5: Find The Overlap Between Your Skills And Interests
This tip is similar to the last one, but it adds a nice logical touch to it. The idea is to see if you have any interests that you’re actually good at. If you have the skill AND the desire, you’re in a much better position to turn it into a fulfilling career had you simply followed your passion.
For instance, you might enjoy playing guitar, but are you any good at it? Would people be willing to pay you money to hear you play? If the answer is no, then that is a bad path to follow. Let’s flip the idea now; what if you’re incredible at the violin because your parents forced to learn it when you were growing up, but you have no passion to play it – is that a good path to follow? Once again, the answer is no. Skill is not enough to bring fulfillment to your life, you need interest as well.
A good combination would be being a good writer while ALSO loving to write. Or being a computer expert, while ALSO loving to work on computers. The question is, where is the overlap between your skills and what you love to do?
6: Think Of What Others Love About You
Has anybody ever said “I love how sociable you are,” or perhaps something like “you’re so smart when it comes technology”? These are clues, and they can help you determine what career would fit your personality best.
What you should look for are the patterns of comments. What do people in general say to you? Do you mediate arguments well? Do people love how well you plan the financial aspects of trips? Think about it, and then consider if you’d like doing it for a living.
7: Experience Your Options
The best way to learn about career options is trying to experience them the best that you can. Are you interested in a position that involves a lot socializing? Volunteer somewhere and see how much you love socializing. Do you want shoot for job a few steps up the corporate ladder? See if you can do some job-shadowing for a few days.
What else can you do? Take a class that a career requires. For instance, if you’re interested in counseling or therapy, take a psych class at your local community college. There are many approaches to take here, all you’ve got to do is find out how you can best experience potential careers, and then do it.