In college I was always told that I should choose a career based on what I was passionate about. The problem was I was 18 years old and had no idea what I was passionate about. In fact, I knew very little about anything. The paradox of choosing a career based on your passion is that you may not know if you like it or not until you jump into it.
Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychologist explains a different approach in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”. Frankl, who grew up in central Europe, was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. Spending time in that camp was not what he had expected to do with his life, nor was it his passion. However, out of that experience he decided to become a psychologist and study human suffering. His advice was to not ask what you want from life but rather what life is offering you. Allow your experiences to shape you and lead you to a place where you can be happy.
This advice can be applied to a career. It is never too late to find something better. In fact, the experiences you have had up to this point may have prepared you for your next step. Here are some things to keep in mind while searching for the right place to work.
1. Think about your current career. What is it that you like or don’t like?
If you are unhappy with where you are working now, make a list of the things you don’t like about it. As you’re looking at different options make sure they don’t have the same problems. Making a career shift can be hard and you don’t want to end up in another job you don’t like.
2. What are your hobbies or personal interests?
What types of things are meaningful to you? A large reason people become dissatisfied with their work is because they feel their work is insignificant or meaningless. If you can find something you would enjoy doing every day, you will be much happier.
3. Do you believe in a product you might sell?
It’s always better to work for a company that sells a product you believe in. I recently did work for a start-up company that was putting out a running app for I-phones. This app allows runners to connect with their friends, as well as receive personalized training plans based on their skill level. As a runner myself, I wanted to use this product in my own training. I believed it could really help people improve their skills. As a result I had a greater desire to go to work every day.
4. Have you talked to people who are where you want to be?
Who are the people you look up to? What kinds of qualities do they have? It may even be helpful to meet with these people to learn the details of their lives. Ask them how they got where they are. Then, follow their example.
5. What kind of lifestyle do you want?
How do you want to live? This may change over time. Maybe when you were younger you wanted to travel, but now that you have kids you want a career that will allow you to work from home. Whatever your situation, your career will largely determine what type of lifestyle you will live.
Whether you just graduated from college or have been working at the same company for 20 years, it’s important to remember that it’s never too late to make a change. We as humans are creatures of habit and change is scary. You’ll never know where you could end up however if you’re never willing to try.
About the Author:
Robert Cordray is a former entrepreneur/consultant. With over 20 years of experience, he has seen his fair share of career changes and new beginnings/adjustments. For more information on who can help you make a career change, or feel comfortable in your work, visit noomii.com.
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Good luck in your search.