How can we ensure to choose the right career in life?… Are we too young or too old to choose/change a career path?
One of the causes of dissatisfaction in life is the job that we choose to do every day. I used to believe that once you choose your study field you will be stuck in one domain for life. This is the worst thought people can ever have regarding a career. I recently had the opportunity to work with a young intern in the company and he pointed out a few times that he wasn’t really sure of what he would do next. He wondered many times if he would really like to make a living on the field he was developing -which was consulting services. I thought: “this is completely normal, he is so young”. I know I am not working in the field I used to work during my first internship. When we are young and we hit our first job experience, we often have the feeling of being lost and we are not so clear about the future.
However, a few days ago, I had a great conversation at lunch with one of the Senior Recruiters in the company I work for and he told me his amazing career story- which included a change of domain at least 4 times. He expressed that during these four times he felt a “need to change”, even though the entire world kept telling him that he was making a mistake. He is one of the happiest people I know by the way! So, this got me thinking that the feeling of confusion and dissatisfaction can appear at any time in life. But amazingly, there is always something we can do about it.
Your career path is never written in stone, any road can be split. Regardless your age or field of study, and even your years of experience, you can always opt for a change. There are a few things that I consider to be important, in each experience and in yourpersonal life, that can help you make your career decision:
1. Analyze and understand the company’s culture
Whether you are doing a 6 month internship or you are working for the same company during the last 5 years, there are a few signs that you cannot miss: The know-how, the attitude of the employees, the type of management, the type of products/services, etc. All these elements constitute the culture of a company. If you do not feel connected with most of them it is very likely that you don’t like the company’s culture, even if it is an amazing well-known company! Pay attention to those details and evaluate if you would like to make a career in such a company.
One more thing that you can squeeze from a company’s culture is the type of industry. Even though each company makes a huge effort to differentiate itself from the rest, when we compare several companies from the same industry, we find many elements in common. This is a great data for you, because if you really don’t like the industry you are working today, it is very unlikely that you would like to work for a competitor (even if they are offering something good). So, use this information at your advantage, this will help you rule out those industries you did not like to work in and keep looking for opportunities in those you did like.
2. Learn from your boss
In every career, every country and every industry, we meet many types of bosses. Those ones who make very obvious what we can learn from them like: be organized, respectful, team player, thoughtful, proactive, productive, result oriented, etc. And there are those managers that make you wonder: how did they ever make it to this position and what did I ever do to deserve a boss like that?
When you have the rich experience of having a TERRIBLE manager, you usually forget that there is always something that you can learn from him/her. So, if you have a terrible manager today, this is actually good news for you because in life the best lessons are the ones we learn the hard way. From the bad managers you can learn: How not to delegate, the consequences of not prioritizing, the results of a self-player, what can make you lose a good client (or a good employee), and most importantly, how can you end up being a bad manager if you conceal with a job that does not meet your values.
Imitate the good practices and avoid the bad ones, but always squeeze the experience that every type of manager can give you.
3. Your values and dreams
When choosing a career you always have to take into account your values and dreams. Regardless the type or size of the company you are working for or applying to, you need to be clear about your values. What is it that you really love to do? What is that thing that you can do for hours and you never get tired off doing it? What are you good at? How do you see yourself in 5 years? (This question applies to ALL ages) What inspires you every day?
Follow your intuition, trust your instincts… Only you know what you really want…
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