Why Is Finding The Perfect Career For Me So Hard?
"Why is finding the perfect career so hard?"
Had I really said that out loud? I saw her turn around and knew that I had.
"You are right. Finding the perfect career is hard. Why do you ask?" she replied.
"I heard somewhere that over 80% of people are unhappy with their job and only 5% feel they have found the perfect career and love what they do." I must have looked serious about knowing more, because she continued.
"I can think of five common reasons why people all over the world are not doing what they love for a living. If I was talking to someone who was having problems with finding a great career that inspired and thrilled them, here would be my top five guesses why. See how many you think apply to you or someone you know ...
First, you were not well prepared to choose from thousands of careers.
"For much of human history, your tribe and family ... as well as what you inherited - a farm, a guild membership or an estate - determined your profession and lot in life. So there was little need to preparing people to make career choices, when it was pretty much in the bag.
"But now, with the rise of specialization and globalization - there is growing explosion in freedom and career choices. With that freedom comes the need to be able to recognize and evaluate thousands of career options ... as well as the opportunity to have multiple jobs or careers over a lifetime. Our cultures have not adjusted yet and few traditions address making that choice, so most of of us are inadequately prepared to do make good choices, let alone identify the perfect career. Most government systems only predict the professions going to be in demand or decline, not the ones perfect for you.
Second, you had to make career decisions before you had fully explored what you excelled at.
"There is intense social pressure to decide "what you want to be when you grow up", choose a well paying profession, and start preparing for it as early as possible. And in some families, there is intense economic pressure to quickly obtain paying work to ensure the family's survival.
"Many parents rely on schools to help you figure out what you excel at and love to do and then provide the career education, counseling and training you need. But many schools were never designed to do that and they have too few resources and experience to help guide thousands of students on making one* of the most important decisions of their life. Many are at a loss with how to cope with thousands of careers, many of which did not exist when they went to school ... and stay primarily focused on helping students achieve high test scores and prepare for additional academic training.
Third, like many people, you view work as a heavy burden instead of a labor of love, so you have never looked for work you could love.
"Many cultures give the impression that work is an activity so burdensome that you must be bribed with money to do it. This belief is supported by the evidence most kids see growing up -- their parents and most of the adults around them are unhappy about their work, fighting with coworkers and mad at their boss. Like many of them, you may have assumed that this reality must also be yours. So instead of actively seeking the perfect job, you followed in your parents footsteps ... and focused on finding a secure, good paying job.
Fourth, even if you wanted to find work you loved, you lacked the resources and support to find the perfect career.
"Most job hunting resources measure your aptitude, interests and personality to help steer you towards well known jobs and fields* predicted to grow in the future. These are good tools if that is what you are looking for. But they were never intended to help you discover your dream job.
"Standardized tests and fill in the bubble scan forms can not measure the gleam in your eye, the enthusiasm in your voice or the scope of your dreams and aspirations. They can tell you generally what you do better or worse* than others, but they can not tell you what your gifts* and talents are -- there are a million of those and no test lists them all, let alone can tell you what your top five or ten are.
"And even if you did discover that, few career counselors, teachers or parents know how to help you turn that list into a plan that leads you to the perfect career. There are a thousand choices between you figuring out a job title and getting the job of your dreams. And very few tools exist to help you find your way. Or show you how to successfully create your own unique career and a path to it.
Fifth, even if you found what you love to do, you may not have figured out how to make a good living at it.
"Transforming your ideas into a paycheck takes a set of skills few people have learned. Most schools focus on teaching you academic and entry level job skills -- instead of how to create and earn a good living doing your dream job. Few resources provide the information you need -- like what you are really paid for --- or how to turn your passion, skills and expertise into a successful business startup or free agent career. Unfortunately, a lot of the people who did it have a hard time showing you how to do the same.
to be continued
* = green language