When I ‘grow up’…? How to find your perfect career path. Part 1
Sam Wilson, January 27, 2014
At some point or another we all had to get over that crushing realisation that we can’t all be astronauts, there are very few sheriffs out there (even fewer that actually ride horses) and no matter how much time we spend playing air guitar in front of the mirror the majority of us will never be rockstars.
At this point how do we decide what we’re going to be when we ‘grow up’?
Over the next couple of weeks I will be putting forward some ideas to help those that are still unsure of where their paths lie. Unfortunately there is no magic formula, no secret tricks but what you can do is take small steps to ensure that you are as informed as possible when the time comes to make your career choices.
Mistakes are ok
A valuable piece of advice when looking for a ‘career’ is that it’s ok to get it wrong and to change your mind. Don’t be afraid to go out and make some mistakes, in fact I’d recommend it!
There are many things to be learned from mistakes and it’s all useful information. There is a stigma around mistakes, that mistakes symbolise failure however this is completely the wrong way to look at it. A famous quote states “mistakes are proof that you are trying” and when looking for the right career all we can do is try.
Most of us don’t get it right first time
Want to feel better about making mistakes? Around 5% of people find a good career match on the first try. This means that the other 95% had to make some mistakes to get there.
Career changes are very common. Some of us fall into jobs without much thought and then reach a point where we would like to pursue passion, some jobs are more suited to a younger person and some people simply want a new challenge.
Variety is the spice of life and the person who has experienced a number of different jobs is in a more informed position to know when a job is the right fit.
The fact is that kids don’t really understand the way the world works, shocking I know. If we all became what we wanted to be when we were young then the world wouldn’t function or if it did it would be due to the fact that an extremely large percentage of the population would be up in space. You would worry about the child that dreamed of being an accountant or an insurance broker. The people that have ended up in those roles have done so, not because it’s all that they’ve ever wanted to be but, because they found that these roles matched a certain set of skills that they had developed and (hopefully) they found satisfaction in applying these skills to this profession.
There are obviously some people who ended up fulfilling their childhood dreams, my sister always wanted to be a doctor and sure enough she’s gone from fixing her teddy bear’s broken leg to a real hospital ward. She is part of the exception rather than the rule and for most of us our childhood selves didn’t have a lot of realistic ideas. My brightest ideas included cowboy, ghostbuster and archaeologist/adventurer, unfortunately in reality all were slightly beyond my reach.
In conclusion though it’s all going to be ok.
Not having an immediately clear of idea of where your future professional path is going is perfectly normal and something that can be rectified in time. Most of us have either been where you are or are still there. Just remember that those that found their path straight away are unlikely to have experienced a rich variety of professional experiences…or at least that’s what we’ll keep telling ourselves.
The next instalment will focus on what you can do to put yourself in the most informed position possible when searching for your perfect career. It will be out on Monday 3rd February.