Getting clarity about who you are typically makes it a breeze to figure out what to do. Many people simply head down a career path for all the wrong reasons without figuring out their own gifts as well as what a career truly entails.
Years ago when teaching a college journalism course I gave an assignment to my students that often ended with big surprises. Most of them were freshmen and didn’t have a clue about what they wanted to do. They had to pick a career and learn everything they could about it such as:
Starting pay to maximum potential at retirement and benefits.
Education and experience requirements.
Was travel or late nights expected?
Would they likely need to relocate?
How fast could they advance?
They also had to get bold and creative to secure interviews with an entry level person as well as the highest level employee they could find. (Bank teller and Bank Vice President.)
The presentations they gave were terrific. The best part was that nearly 80% of them realized they didn’t want to pursue the career they had chosen! I helped them dodge a bullet.
Some of them were following in parents’ or older siblings’ footsteps, some were looking for fame, others were focused on making a load of money. They hadn’t taken the time to learn what their life would be like and the real-life cost of how to reach success.
There are people who thrive under pressure while others do best in a relaxed setting. Some people enjoy travel and others are home-bodies.
If you have landed in a place that isn’t a good fit, every day is a struggle because you’re doing someone else’s job. It may be hard to believe but there are folks who would actually be thrilled to step into your position.
I’ve known a lot of people who’ve changed careers when they come to terms with the fact that their profession wasn’t what they hoped. It takes courage, sacrifice, determination and planning; but it can be done.
My daughter got a degree in early childhood education. After completing her student teaching requirement she knew unequivocally that she did not want to be a teacher. She felt trapped and remorseful but fortunately began to pursue a new path. She is currently finishing a master’s degree and is passionate and confident that being in medical social work is exactly right for her.
It’s never too late to make changes. Sometimes you can’t quit your job and go back to school. But perhaps you could look for another position within your current field that might be a tiny step in a different direction and keep the momentum rolling. You will feel better AND you left a vacancy for that guy who is right for the job.
Contentment can be challenging when you’re doing someone else’s job. If you could have a do-over, how would you answer this question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Is there a way you can incorporate some of the best facets of that job into your life now?
Please share what you would have liked to be or how you have found fulfillment and contentment in a position that is a strained fit. Your comments will encourage others.