Finding your dream career may take a few tries, and here’s why that’s okay.
At the age of 27, I have changed career paths six or seven times. I have two degrees and it still took a total of 8 years to find my true calling and to really immerse myself and find ultimate work fulfillment. Many will judge that I have had no direction, wasted valuable time and money; and that I should have been more responsible and knuckled down. That’s a very fair opinion to have, but I have to disagree. I have gained immeasurable experience and met some incredibly talented people along the way.
Yes, I have fallen down a few times on my journey and had to dust myself off, but I can now safely say that I absolutely love getting up each day and doing what I do. I’m not saying that you should flit from job to job for the fun of it. On the contrary, if you know exactly what it is that you want to do then go for it. Grab it with both hands and enjoy it. But, if you are like I was and you feel a little lost and unsure of what your true calling is, then read on as I tell you why you will be just fine.
1. You’re Young
Thirty years ago people were married, had their first child and had been in the same job for years already; all at the ripe old age of 25. Today that sounds completely crazy to most. Purely because job fulfillment is so much more important than it used to be. We are no longer driven to tick the proverbial boxes of marriage, kids, owning a home or staying in the same job in hopes of getting that promotion. Young adults today are inspired, adventurous and determined to get the most out of what they do for a living, before settling down and starting a family.
2. Increased Happiness
According to a survey in Forbes Magazine in 2014, adults in their twenties change careers about five or seven times. This is due to the need for job satisfaction and a continual learning curve. Young adults are no longer satisfied with one position that inevitably has them reaching their full potential and hitting that ceiling hard when there’s no further room to grow. They want change, they want excitement and they want to persistently learn new things. Refusing to “settle” for anything less than a daily challenge at work is an admirable quality, as young people actually want to reach their goals and keep improving themselves.
3. Higher Productivity
If you know that you are on your way to the next big thing and you have your eye on a potential position that you just know you are perfect for, you’re going to do your very best in your current job. You’ll ensure your resume reflects every possible positive attribute about you as an employee. When the realization is there that something better is on its way, there is an increased urgency to put everything in and get as much out as you can, before moving on. Let’s face it, you need a fantastic recommendation to get ahead. Ultimately hard work and productivity is the only way to attain that.
4. Learn to know You
Much like how we learn about ourselves when in relationships, we do the same at work. We figure out what we do and don’t enjoy, as well as what we would like to achieve. We test ourselves, attain new skills and sometimes surprise ourselves with our own abilities. If you do not push yourself, then you will not grow. If you find yourself in a position that has you miserable each day and you finally get up the courage to quit and move on, you are in fact showing that you have guts. You have what it takes to want more and to go after it. It takes determination and facing your fears to make that next step and by doing so, you will learn your own strengths and respect yourself so much more for doing what you truly feel and believe in.
5. No Regrets
Think for a minute about the following: you chose a career in your early twenties that pleased both your parents, appeared to be the best choice at the time and provided a stable income. You have earned a good salary and moved up the ladder and your family has been taken care of. But, hang on a second, you’re forty five now. You suddenly find yourself increasingly unhappy and dreading heading off to work in the mornings. It is as if you have woken up inside a bad dream and you find yourself gasping for air as you drown in the murky waters of the same old mundane work life every single day. Ok, that may be a bit dramatic, but the point is this: do not settle. Do not allow yourself to ever regret what you have done with your life. You only have one life and you should enjoy it. If changing careers a few times leads to satisfaction and not having to ever face regret over your choices later on, then it is well worth it.
6. Don’t ever lose Hope
It may seem rather scary right now and you may not know how or where your future is heading, but the journey there is well worth it. I promise. You are on your way to finding the perfect job and it is out there. That dream career could pop out at any moment and from the most unlikely of places, but it is there waiting for you to find it. We all have an amazing purpose in life. We simply don’t all find it at the same pace.
7. Finding that Perfect Job
When it comes to finding that ideal job, it can be seriously overwhelming. Here are a few ways to make it a bit easier.
- Make a list of what your strengths are
- Also note your weaknesses and the types of jobs you would like to avoid
- Hit up the internet and start researching what appeals to you: if you like to design clothes or love working with numbers, research it. You will be amazed at the opportunities that pop up
- Make use of a recruitment agency, such as Key Recruitment in Cape Town to unlock your potential.
- Sign up for an internship at a place that piques your interest. If you have a passion for cooking, spend a few days at a restaurant or a culinary school and let your mind explore!
- It is easy to become despondent about finding the right fit, so why not put your skills to work and earn some money while you are on the search? Join a tutoring agency, such as Gutsy Tutoring and make a difference to another person’s life by sharing your own special set of skills. You may just find your true calling is working with others.
I hope this has helped calm your nerves and perhaps shed some light on the fact that you will be okay. It may take a few stumbles and mistakes, but you are on your way to success and there is absolutely no harm in attempting things a few times before you reach your destination.
It’s becoming more and more common for people to change degrees and careers multiple times as young adults. Choosing what to do with your life is an extremely difficult decision and sometimes the only way to find out is by trial error. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps try job-shadowing or volunteering in the area you’re interested in before going all out with that career. That way you can avoid starting 4 different degrees or having 10 different jobs by the time you’re 25.