Do what you love.
The dreamer in us agrees: “Yes! Life’s too short — follow your passion.”
“Whoa, hold on there,” interrupts your inner realist. “Let’s read some of the fine print first.”
Fine print? You mean it’s not as simple as picking out your favorite hobby and basing your career path around that?
The phrase “do what you love” is riddled with complexity. Factors like income, work-life balance, status, and several others come into play, and carry some weight when determining a career path.
Regardless of the set of work values you hold, here are some tips and considerations if you're grappling with the concept of finding your true love in your career.
Map it out.
Making a career out of what you love should include a carefully thought-out plan that you develop and adapt across your lifespan. What role/s do you ultimately see yourself in? What education, experience, and skills are necessary to get there? Don't just focus on your ideal job; think of what you want to accomplish along the way. (A position in management? Advanced degrees? Your own business?)
Fully understanding the steps (and commitment) required to achieve your career goals may determine whether a given path is or isn't right for you. How much time/money are you willing to invest? Perhaps attending a four-year institution isn’t financially feasible. Is your choice of career future-proof? Be sure to research whether there's a demand in the job market for your chosen occupation.
Do some climbing.
Your dream job won’t be knocking on your door as soon as you step into the workforce. So it's important to keep in mind that gaining experience in entry-level jobs is a necessary first step. But don't think of it as drudgery. In a Fortune Most Powerful Women Insider commentary, Malala Fund co-founder and ambassador Shiza Shahid says a fulfilling career can only be attained by focusing first on your creative core and understanding your purpose. In other words, take time for personal growth, and your dream job will come.
Step foot in uncharted territory.
Your dream career could be out there — somewhere in the near future. According to the World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Index report, approximately 65 percent of children entering primary school today will be working in jobs that don’t even exist yet. And check out these 10 careers that were nonexistent in the job market 10 years ago, from app developer to drone operator. If you're especially forward-thinking in your choice of an emerging occupation, start your path by gaining traction in growing fields like technology or engineering. Pay attention to new jobs popping up in these high-demand fields and make sure they align with your interests and skills.
Do all you love.
Who said you can’t do it all? Choosing a career path shouldn’t limit you from doing all the other things you’re passionate about. In her TED talk, artist and writer Emilie Wapnick coins the term “multipotentialite,” describing individuals who pursue many different passions at once. She notes three different resulting effects, including idea synthesis, rapid learning, and adaptability — all sought-after traits in today’s ever-changing job market.
Don’t think you’re ready to be a multipotentialite? You can still do all you love by choosing a single career path and pursuing other passions in your spare time. Like to make jewelry? Start shop in Etsy. Enjoy acting? Volunteer at your local theater group.
Your inner dreamer doesn't have to sacrifice passion for a career that's attainable. Continue to push the boundaries in your career path while following your road map. Stay mindful during your journey, and you will find yourself doing what you love.
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- goal setting
- professional development
- work-life balance