Every May and June it’s the same: hordes of fresh-faced, terrified graduates are unleashed upon the workforce, caught between trying to find a job – any job – and trying to land a career that allows them to express the best of themselves.
If you’re in this situation – whether you’re a new graduate or someone just trying to make a career change – here are a few things you can think about when finding the right career for you.
#1 Trust your instincts.
The world is speaking to you all the time, in a language that only you can understand. Pay attention to the things that draw you in, as much as the ones that bore you. If certain subjects, situations, or tasks peak your interest, pay attention to them. Your instincts are wise.
#2 The “what” trumps the “why.”
Many people choose their jobs because they believe in what the job is trying to do. They think that the “why” of the job is the most important part. And I’m not saying that it’s not important – it’s just not the most important. The most important part of any job you take is actually the “what.” What are you doing at 10 o’clock on a Monday morning? What are you doing at 3 o’clock on a regular Thursday afternoon? While you might choose a job for the “why,” how long you stay in that job, how fulfilled you are, and how effective you are in it depends on the “what.” So if you’re considering a certain career, go talk to someone who is already doing it and ask them what they do during a regular week. If their answer doesn’t excite you, it’s probably not the right career for you.
Your career isn’t some static destination that you’re trying to find, it’s something that you create out of the choices that you make today. You need to get started, pick a job, and then trust your instincts and pay attention to the “what” of the job to create the career that works best for you. The only way you can build your intelligence over the course of your career is to start now.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to find that perfect job, especially right out of the gate. All you can do you is start, see what life can teach you in the context of that job, and then use that intelligence to pick the next one, and the next one, and the next one.