Picture this: You are sixteen, and browsing through college courses and catalogs. You start asking yourself what exactly you’ll be spending four years of your life studying; what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life. And maybe you think it was no big deal at the time, you can always change it later. But also, it’s kind of, like, a major deal.
Welcome to the real adulting world.
Two-thirds. That’s how much of our lives we’ll be using up doing whatever it is that we’ve determined to accomplish in our careers. But so many young people (including us) have been driven crazy by the “not-knowing” in terms of career direction. But there are some things that- when we think about it- are really no-brainers.
Here are a few tips if you’re one of us career-confused millennials:
- Focus on what you want to do instead of who you want to be
It’s surprising that sometimes who we want to be and what we want to do don’t actually match. You want to be a doctor because it sounds really impressive (especially to your traditional parents) but what you actually want to do is become an artist. So you become a doctor instead of an artist. Even though it’s an important job and it pays well, you don’t get the same amount of satisfaction that you would have gotten if you’d become an artist instead. Forget about the titles. Choose a career where the work can actually make you happy and fulfilled. Ask yourself “What do I want to do?” instead of “What do I want to be?”
- Remind yourself that it’s okay if you end up doing something unrelated to your course in college
Some people don’t get to practice what they take up in college. If you decide to do something entirely different from your major, that’s completely okay. You could end up in a job completely unrelated to your course and still end up loving it. Don’t think of it as a waste of your education. Think of your job as a continuation of your education because you’re learning things you didn’t learn in college.
- Decide on what kind of lifestyle you’d be comfortable with
Not all jobs pay the same. Not all people live the same way. To some people, how much they get paid matters more than doing something they really love. To other people, it’s more important that they’re happy with what they do. While some people get to do jobs that they really love while getting paid a lot, it’s not always the case for everyone. You have to pick what’s more important to you because it’d make choosing between two companies that offer the opposite things easier.
- Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses
Sometimes what you love isn’t actually what you’re good at. Know where your strength lies; this This will help you pick what careers you’d best be suited for and what careers you could possibly not excel in.
- Consider what kind of work environment would be best suited for your personality
Some people don’t belong in cubicles. Some people don’t like being in the field. Are you the more laid back type or do you prefer working at a formal office? Consider what kind of environment you would thrive in. Look for companies & which environments would best suit your personality. Also take into account the people you’d be working with. Working would be a lot less boring and a lot less stressful if you’re with people you like.
- Consider the amount of free time you’d have left for your personal life
How early do you want to retire? Do you plan on getting married and having kids? Ask yourself these questions. Think about the things you want to do in life outside of work; your hobbies, your social life. Think about how much free time you need and want and whether you could get that in the career you will choose. This will help you decide whether you should work in an office or from home; whether you should sign that 2-year contract or just work freelance.
- Weigh the Pros and Cons of all your job options
There may be dream jobs, but there is no perfect job. When you commit to a career, make sure the pros outweigh the cons. Make a list; there are lots of things to consider when it comes to choosing what you’re going to do for a living.
In the end, while our careers are a big deal, they’re not our lives. Remember to live out your life constantly creating, serving, and doing what it is you do best. And if you’re lucky, your career will just be one of the ways you accomplish these things with your life.
This article was originally published in The Smart Filipino.