As you begin to consider potential career options, there’s a good chance you’ll have friends, family and even teachers all try to persuade you to pursue certain paths. Sure, their intentions are likely good. And their reasoning is probably sound. However, while you should definitely take their opinions under advisement, it’s important that you ultimately follow your gut. Explore what excites you, fulfills you and taps into your passions.
All too frequently, people choose jobs/careers based solely upon the money they’ll earn, the prestige or the security. For instance, accounting jobs provide a nice paycheck. What’s more, they are seen as safe and dependable. After all, most companies (regardless of the industry) have an accounting department. If that career path interests you – great! However, if you’ve hated every math class you’ve ever been in, this is probably not the best avenue for you. Even if you have demonstrated a talent for numbers!
Moreover, for many individuals with full-time employment, their jobs consume the majority of their weeks. And that’s a lot of time to spend feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. Additionally, a number of positions that pay well demand that their employees work far more than the traditional 40-hour week. Hence, the amount of time you’d have to enjoy your hard-earned paycheck or pursue extracurricular interests is fairly limited.
Perhaps more importantly, if you choose a career path that you’re passionate about, you’re much more likely to succeed. To begin with, you will probably feel excited to tackle your workload. Indeed, it will be easier to sit down and apply your energy and focus to the tasks at hand. You’re also more apt to be diligent and stay late (if needed). After all, working hard at a job you enjoy won’t feel like a sacrifice. And it’s quite likely it’ll be less draining (at least emotionally).
Further, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll better relate to your job if you work within an industry that excites you. For starters, you will certainly be eager to learn all you can. And that zeal might make it easier to see connections or think up creative solutions. You’ll also approach your job with a positive, can-do attitude, something your boss and your co-workers are sure to notice and appreciate.
Of course, exploring your passions still requires a modicum of pragmatism. You may love spending your time playing video games. However, that’s a difficult activity to monetize for most people. You need to be strategic with regard to your pursuits.
For example, say your studio art course is your favorite class, and you know you’d really love to land a career that’s art related. Well, it can be rather difficult to make a living as a painter, no matter how amazing the work you produce. Fortunately, you can find a number of ways to apply your artistic skills and passions to a more concrete career path. As an alternative, you can consider becoming a graphic designer, an art director (for advertising, film, etc.), a book illustrator, interior designer – you get the gist. There’s often a way to connect your skills and interests to a job; you just need a little patience, creativity and forward thinking.
Choosing a job or career by default or because someone tells you it’s a “smart” move is not a recipe for success. Sure – there is a lot to be said for gigs that offer a solid paycheck and security. And we’re not saying you should discount those factors completely. However, if you allow yourself to really follow your heart, you have a greater chance of landing a career that you find enjoyable and rewarding. You want to look forward to the work day, not loathe it!