When I worked as a recruiter, I often interviewed people who went into certain careers “because mom and dad told them to.” Or, society led them to believe a job made good money.
Because of these pressures, they took out a ton of loans to go into fields they didn’t like to begin with. Think they regretted either of those decisions?
On the inside, these people may have felt pulled toward different professions, but all that noise overwhelmed them. As a result, they ended up in an existential-type crisis, having no idea what they want to do in their careers.
When it comes to choosing your career, you can’t give that power away to other people—you need to keep it in your own hands. Here is how you can do that.
Recognize What Other People Want For You
Mom and dad may have a lot of say in our lives, but ultimately, it’s still our lives. Sit down and think about the career path you’re on. Are you there because you actually wanted it or was it was your parents’ idea?
The sooner you become aware of this, the sooner you can tune out all the noise around you. This is a huge step in figuring out what you want out of your career.
Avoid Being A People Pleaser
Look, coming into your own in your 20s is awkward. You truly start to blossom into your own person as you start navigating your independence. However, people often put that independence in the back seat to please others (mom and dad again, but also mentors, managers, and others).
Do not choose a career path just because it will make someone else happy. Instead, realize that it’s your life and assert your independence. (Check out this article on how to talk to your family about career choices to help you do just that.)
Forget About The Money
Do we need money to do stuff? Yes. But cash is not what makes a career worthwhile—and it won’t be what makes you happy either.
Trust me: I’ve interviewed plenty of people who went into a certain career path just for the money. They were miserable and up to their eyeballs in debt. If you do something for the money, it won’t turn out well. Period. And now, as a business owner, I can say with confidence that if you do what you truly want the money will follow.
So, do yourself a favor and put money aside when thinking about your career path. Instead, think about what you would do all day even if you weren’t getting paid for it. This exercise will unlock some major clues to figuring out a career path that works you.
Take The Pressure Off
We drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out the perfect career for ourselves. Relax.
You’re not marrying your career. Remember: If one thing doesn’t work out, you can always change it later.
Did you confidently choose your own career? Let us know the steps you took in the comments.
(Photo: Abhijit Bhaduri)