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How To Choose A Career and Find A Job

Would You Do It If The Pay Was Rubbish?

The job: you will be doing it for a minimum of eight hours a day, five, maybe six days a week, for at least eleven months a year, every year for the next thirty or forty years of your life. It better be something you enjoy, something that is your passion.

What do you WANT to do?

If you can't fathom calculus it's unlikely that advanced maths research is going to appeal to you.

Write the List

Write a list. Don't write a shopping list of careers you think you should be doing. Write a list of activities that make your heart sing. And here's the thing, write this list every five years. Constantly reassess where you are and where your heart wants to be.

What if you don't have a passion but you need to get a job?

The worst thing you can do is adopt an attitude of entitlement. Some people think that they should be CEO immediately or earning a big salary, and that jobs like garbage collectors or short-order cooks are beneath them. This is ridiculous thinking. You close your mind to possibilities. If following your dreams isn't the career selection option for you right now, then you need to ask yourself these questions:

What are your natural talents?

Everyone has something they're good at. Often they are the same things as your passions.

What is your work style?

Do you prefer a flexible work environment or a structured one - an 8 to 5 in the office type job.

Where do you like to work?

Outdoors vs Indoors, Bustle vs Quiet, Office vs Construction Site, Home vs the City, Short Commute vs Long Distance Travel, Concrete Jungle vs Rainforest?

Do you enjoy social interaction?

Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team, or out in the public eye? Would you rather work with orphaned elephants than attend board meetings?

How important is work-home balance?

If having dinner with your family every night or playing sport over the weekends is important to you, then you'll need to find a career that doesn't require you to work over-time.

Are you looking to give back?

If making a difference in the world matters more than climbing the corporate ladder, you should be searching for those kinds of jobs: medicine, the environment, legal aid, animal rescue, nursing, disaster relief, search and rescue, elderly care, neighbourhood revitalisation etc.

Do you deal well with stress?

If you don't deal well with stress you probably shouldn't become a brain surgeon. You may prefer something more relaxed.

How much money do you want to make?

Most people start with this and then spend their lives chasing unrealistic goals, feeling entitled, frustrated and disappointed. How much you make should be secondary to how much fulfilment you find in your career. How much you need to make is a different question and one that, like your wish list will need to be reassessed regularly.

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