Although I was originally a major in musical theater, I realized that I was not meant to be a stage performer when I entered college. Before I found my calling in Marketing, I had dabbled briefly in psychology.
My friend started her career as an entrepreneur. After picking up running, she decided to go to school to become an aspiring physical therapist.
A friend of mine was a software engineer by profession and education and recently moved into data science.
What was the one thing that we shared in common? We thought we knew everything, but then we realized our dream job wasn’t what we were looking for.
So we had to start over again to decide how our careers should look. If you do not have a career plan it can be overwhelming to think about the future.
These are the questions that we asked ourselves to help us not only find the right path but also to plan for our future careers.
What am I passionate about?
Psychology was my first choice when I decided to change my major. I love the mind and psychology is what I chose. But the truth is that I am not as fascinated by people’s emotions and a career in psychology would likely mean becoming a counselor.
After identifying what I love about the mind, which was the way our brains form memories and make connections, I realized that a career as a marketer, which is all about understanding people’s motivations, would be better for me.
Similar to my friend, she started running thinking she wanted to be a trainer, but she realized she was not passionate about helping people get into shape.
She was more interested in making the body run like a well-oiled machine. This led her to physical therapy, which is medically based.
When you are considering your next career move, think about what motivates you to get up each morning. But don’t stop there.
You should really think about what makes you excited about each passion or interest. You can also try new things that will allow you to explore your interests more, such as side hustles and volunteer projects.
You should pay attention to what drives you and what might not. It is important to continue digging until you find the passion.
What does my “dream job” look like?
This doesn’t just refer to the job title and compensation. You should think about all aspects of a job when you are considering your ideal career.
Do you prefer a highly structured, controlled environment or one that is more open to creativity? Are you comfortable wearing a suit, uniform, or jeans to the office?
Are you looking to work remotely, move to other cities, or stay in an office? These questions have a significant impact on the type of role you will be applying for.
It’s also important to think about what the role could look like in a year, three years or even ten years. Consider how you would like to progress in your career.
Do you prefer to stay focused on a single skill or topic or do you prefer to be more general? Do you think that managing others will be necessary and that you may have to give up producing your own work? This is particularly important for creative professionals.
Do promotions and increases in pay rely on experience or specific skills and credentials such as going back to school?
You never know what your job will look like in the future, or how it might change over time. It is important to understand how your role changes as you progress.
What does this job fit into my life?
Rikki Rogers, a Muse columnist, explains in her article ” Does Your Dream Work Fit Into Your Dream Lifestyle” that a job that makes you happy does not always mean a happy life.
It is important to consider your career choices within the context of your other life activities, such as relationships, hobbies, family commitments, and even fitness and spirituality.
A ” life satisfaction sheet” was created by me. It ranks the five most important things that have made me happy and healthy and allows me to calculate my satisfaction in these areas.
This is especially helpful when I’m considering a career change. It allows me to see how it would impact me in all aspects of my life.
After you have answered the big picture questions about your career, you can put them into practice. It’s a good idea to try out a career path before you commit to it. Here are five easy ways to do this.
Find out what qualifications and education you need to move up the ladder, talk to people in the field for their tips and advice, and request specific assignments to help you build your resume.
Although it’s impossible for anyone to plan for every step, asking big-picture questions about your career goals can help you map a course.