Finding the right career for you


It’s hard to figure out what you want to be when you grow up. Ideally, you attain that perfect balance of finding the perfect job that also enables you to support yourself and your family.

It’s a tall order and generally falls on the shoulders of young adults who are simultaneously bombarded with so many new challenges. The elderly typically lament that youth is wasted on the young, but who better to roll with the punches and tough out the rough patches that life can dole out than young people?

While they may not have garnered all the wisdom that decades of experience can generate, their optimism, energy, and capacity for learning should be a recipe for success.

There’s an enormous amount of pressure to determine some kind of career path at a relatively young age. Many young adults head off to college right after high school graduation, where they select a major that influences their future prospects.

It’s a different transition period, as many teenagers can develop a greater sense of independence while still retaining family support. But then, this rite of passage isn’t for everyone. There’s no denying that it’s a fun environment and full of self-discovery.

A college degree and the networking opportunities that universities provide open doors for job seekers. However, it’s also a significant financial investment that could haunt students and their parents for years to come in the form of student loan repayments.

Vocational or trade schools are a viable alternative. The so-called blue-collar jobs that these institutions prepare students to perform are the backbone of society. The country would come to a standstill without a skilled workforce to repair cars, plumbing, or heating and air conditioning units, to name just a few.

Many people enjoy working with their hands and being able to see the fruits of their labor immediately. These jobs often allow employees to work in varied circumstances and locations, continually interacting with new people.

In both instances, individuals that have sought out additional education and expertise have an edge as they look for employment. People without any discernible skill set are at a disadvantage once they leave high school and try to join the job ranks.

While there are always employers who are hiring, the available roles typically pay less, and there’s limited flexibility to choose a path that appeals to you.

You may not know what exactly you want to do once you graduate from college or trade school. Even armed with the tools to secure a job in your field of study with competitive pay, you may ultimately discover that the role is less than fulfilling. Figuring out what you want to pursue as a career over the long term could take quite a bit of trial and error. It isn’t uncommon to change directions once you’ve joined the workforce and have a better sense of the opportunities that are out there.

Not having a passion for any activity is the toughest hurdle, often leading to depression and anxiety. If you don’t have the luxury of working at a company that allows you to shadow different teams to see if there’s a different niche that may be a better fit, another route is to volunteer or try several hobbies on your own to see if you identify any promising job possibilities.

Inevitably, you’ll discover you don’t enjoy every endeavor, and you may not initially feel like you have the time or patience to learn more about another discipline. If you’re persistent, you’ll eventually find something that intrigues you enough to investigate the potential for employment seriously.

Sitting back and doing nothing is never the answer when you have no idea what you want to do with your life. Pounding the payment to look for a part-time job can have a motivating effect on people. You may not enjoy your current job and believe your skills are under-utilised, so harness those feelings to conjure up a sense of urgency to find your calling.

Knowing that your valuable time could be better used elsewhere can stimulate your creative juices and give you that nudge you need.

In a perfect world, we could support ourselves in virtually any career. If you look hard enough, there’s probably a way to make a living in a field that has some association with your favorite activities. You just need to connect the dots. For instance, some people spend their youth partying rather than take on hobbies like art or fitness.

Unless you’re a celebrity, you probably won’t be getting any endorsements to attend parties, but there’s a career path you can investigate. You can check out businesses that make or supply alcohol, learn how to set up systems that blast music through an entire house party, or even work with nightclubs and bars. It may not be the straightforward path you expected, but maintaining a presence in an industry that appeals to you while getting a paycheck can still be rewarding.

If you still don’t know where to begin, taking personality or career tests can prove helpful. Once you see the results, there’s no harm in going out and trying some of the recommendations on for size. Remember that before taking the assessment, your future prospects were a blank slate, so this is as promising a starting point as any. It’s easy to get discouraged along the way, but anything worth doing takes time.

Sometimes, passion may elude you altogether. You may struggle to find anything that would realistically qualify as your dream job. In the meantime, don’t discount the advantages that come with having a job you’re good at. Being proficient and highly experienced in any field comes with its own rewards, getting you far in your career and enhancing your reputation as you continue your search.

It doesn’t matter how old you are. You should never give up on your dream. If you’re entrenched in a career and tethered by financial commitments, making that leap to pursue your passion may seem like a pipe dream. Salary calculator sites can be the first step in determining what your budget can accommodate when you’re willing to make that fulfilling career move.

Think outside of the box to kick-start your new career. For example, internships are an excellent introduction to an industry. Even if they are typically reserved for the younger crowd, there are opportunities for more mature and experienced individuals to get their foot in the door. You may have to be a little unconventional relative to your previous roles to finally achieve your goal.

In the meantime, don’t despair if you start at the bottom or in a completely unrelated field. As you work toward your goal, you have to meet your financial obligations and buck the disturbing trend of moving back into your parents’ house.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you may need to get a second job temporarily and forego some of the extravagances you’re accustomed to. Sacrifice builds character, and it’s certainly worthwhile if you have set your sights on your dream job.