Choosing A Career That's Right For You

On the surface, choosing a career is merely selecting a means of livelihood through which you can support yourself and your family. But in a more profound sense, it’s about deciding the role you want to play in society, and how you prefer to contribute to the synergy of humankind.

It’s been said that a meaningful and rewarding career is doing work that:

You’re Good At

Something that for you comes naturally easy, that it baffles you when you see other people struggling with it. It can be a talent like singing, writing, dancing, acting, or painting, or a skill you have honed through years of study and practice, fueled by your passion for it. Skills such as teaching, selling, marketing, trading, or computer programming, to name a few.

Gives You Fulfillment

It doesn’t matter if you sing like a pop diva. If you don’t feel fulfilled when you do it, you will have a life that’s short on happiness and sense of purpose.

Is Useful To Society

You have the uncanny ability of burping at will and it gives you fulfillment when you do it. But other than maybe a fleeting feature on America’s Funniest Home Videos, society has no use for that specific skill, so it’s not really something you can build a career on.

Pays Enough To Live Comfortably

You may be good at something you’re fulfilled by doing, and society finds it useful. But if it doesn’t pay enough for your living expenses, then it’s not a good career choice.

You will have a career that has all these qualities in varying degrees, like maybe a job that pays well but gives little fulfillment, or you may do something you’re exceptional at but won’t get paid enough. A job that has the four traits in equal parts will be hard, if not impossible to find, and it’s hardly necessary anyway.

The career you choose will probably lean heavily on the trait you consider as the most important.

The difference between a career and a job is the same as the one between a building and a brick: You build the first one by carefully laying down pieces of the second one. Think of your career as a journey, your jobs as the roads that make up the path, and your professional fulfillment as the destination.

Corporate career paths are usually straightforward with the job positions you have to go through: from Salesman, to Sales Supervisor, to Sales Manager, to Vice President for Sales, to Chief Operations Officer; or from Accountant, to Regional Chief Accountant, to Area Finance Manager, to Chief Finance Officer; or from Copywriter, to Copy Manager, to Creative Director, to Chief Content Officer.

Some examples of freelance paths are: from Backup Singer, to Solo Singer, to Headliner, to Recording Artist, to Pop Star; or from Extra, to Bit Player, to Supporting Actor, to Starring Actor, to Movie Star.

If you chose to start a business as your career, a path could be: from food stall, to fast food joint, to franchised restaurant, to worldwide fast food chain; or from computer repair shop, to software developer, to hardware manufacturer, to electronics conglomerate.

Sometimes, you have to devise creative strategies to support yourself long enough to reach your goal, like working as a waiter while you’re striving to become an actor, or getting part-time jobs to get yourself through law school.

There are positions that some might refer to as dead-end jobs, meaning they don’t offer opportunities for growth, advancement, or promotion. But it’s a fairly subjective label.

You may consider being a waiter as a dead-end job if you’re an aspiring actor, but not if you’re planning to be a maĆ®tre d’.

There may be no chance of promotion with your current boss, but the work experience you’re getting could be what your next employer is looking for, and you could be hired for a higher position in your new job.

Like Leonardo da Vinci, Ronald Reagan, or Dwayne Johnson, you may also opt to have more than one career. But a caveat: most people who pursue more than one career at a time end up spreading themselves too thin, not being able to give enough time and effort to either, or all of their pursuits. No matter how passionate, diligent, driven, and talented, you are still just one person, and there’s only so many hours in a day.

A better strategy would be to pursue multiple careers one at a time. Set aside a specific time frame for each endeavor and focus your efforts.

But just as we have but one life, one heart, and one body, living one day at a time, we will have the best chance of succeeding if we have but one career, one quest, one goal.

Choose your profession. Set goals. Be good at your job.

Your career is the main adventure of your life.

Read more about making career choices in Life Basic Strategy Guide
Available on AmazonSmashwords, Apple Books and other leading eBookstores. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels