Most people must work. It’s just a fact of life that becomes obvious as we reach adulthood. Landing the right job for you is not an easy thing to do. As everyone knows, millennials are a digital generation. Most of them are media-savvy, and many have significant technical skills. These are both huge advantages when it comes to entering a modern workplace.
But millennials face many more challenges than even their own parents did when they decided on their careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many current job-seekers have a college education. But along with that come student loans. Increasingly, graduates are leaving their parents’ homes and pursuing careers later in their lives due to economic concerns.
The modern work environment is not as structured as it used to be. Most careers have a more unconventional road map than they used to.
When plotting a career path, it’s important to take some time to reflect. Answering the following questions may help.
- Does the job inspire you? If you hate your job, salary and advancement potential don’t matter. Lots of people dread going to work, usually because they don’t have the right job. Being in the wrong career can have negative effects on your attitude and on your health.
If you’re in the right job, you will feel energized and inspired. So try to discover what it is that excites you. What is it that you feel passionate about? Try to pair what you’re passionate about with a job. If you enjoy people, consider careers with personal interaction. If you have environmental concerns, consider a career in advocacy or science.
Excitement about your career is a big plus. You’ll be more effective and will work harder if you are loving what you do. Being inspired and engaged at your work will reduce your stress and increase your happiness.
So, are you awed at the possibilities of this job? Are you excited and inspired? You don’t have to make a difference by setting the whole world on fire. It’s more about enhancing your own life and making differences in other people’s lives.
- What are your own personal gifts, talents and skills? You’ll find more satisfaction in a career if it highlights your abilities and skills. Your career should match your skills; this is why professionals in career counseling and human resources attempt to match peoples’ aptitudes with specific jobs.
If you’re good at something, you generally like to do it. Job success usually follows when people are placed in position for which they’re especially qualified.
Creative people are drawn to careers in design and art. Techies should consider coding or engineering. Sales and marketing are good fits for people with strong interpersonal skills.
But remember, being good at something does not necessarily mean you should be doing it every day at work.
- Will the job pay enough? Personal talents and passions are definitely important, but the financial side of careers needs to be considered, too. Salary shouldn’t be the most important aspect, but it must be considered.
Everyone needs enough money to pay their bills. Be sure that the career path you’ve chosen will provide enough income for you to financially support yourself.
- Does this career involve growth opportunities? Is “climbing the ladder” a possibility in your chosen industry? If your answer to the previous three questions was “Yes,” then upward mobility may not be the most important thing for you to consider.
Often, the prospect of future promotions in your career will be motivational. Sometimes the promotions are the result of your own personal expertise in the position.
So, analyze the direction your industry is heading, as well as the potential for personal growth in your career. Check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections to see which industries are likely to have the largest future job growth.
It’s important for you to seek a position that allows you to be optimistic about your future. You should be happy when you go to work. You should also be able to look forward to a future of contentment and satisfaction in your chosen field.
- What will you be doing in 10 years? Personal reflection, visualization and meditation may help you get an impression of what your future holds. Try this “10-year meditation” to help you focus.
Choose a time and a place when you will not be interrupted. Sit comfortably and relax. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply. Now, think about your career path. What do you see? Let your future open up. Think about what you see yourself doing in 10 years.
If you see that you’ll be inspired and using your talents, that your future self is secure and prosperous, and that your future is intertwined with your current career, then you’re on the right track.
But if you’re seeing frustration, uncertainty and insecurity regarding your finances, you may need to start considering different options. If you can’t visualize yourself happy on your current career path, you’re on the wrong track. You need to trust your own intuitions: there is a career path that’s a better one for you than your current one.
While most people must work, a career can be a source of personal validation and satisfaction. Professional success isn’t a matter of luck. Take advantage of the opportunities that come into your life. Focus your energies in the direction of a career that will make you feel content and fulfilled.