I have to admit, I am lucky. I’m still consider myself to be in the upward swing of my recruitment career, yet I have the good fortune of knowing exactly what I want to do with my life. The crazy thing is that it was only last week that I truly realized how rare that is for most people.
I attend a number of networking events but was invited to join Pando-OTT which is a platform for young professionals to network in a relaxed manner without the usual pretense and stuffiness – what better way than at a pub! So here I am, in a casual setting having genuine conversations with people about who they are, what they do and where they are trying to go. The room had lawyers, HR professional’s, engineers and more. The recurring theme was well educated, well put together people entering a crucial phase of their careers. What dawned on me was that so many people are still seeking clarity over where life will take them. With all the stress and pressure of education debt, high expectations of themselves and from their parents, a number of people seemed frustrated, conflicted and even confused about what was next for them.
Understand What Matters to YOU
I found myself asking what I figured was a reasonable question – if you could do something that would excite and motivate you everyday, what would that be? Yet very few could answer that fundamental question. Maybe I am too much of an optimist or positive thinker to believe everyone can have a job that is like that. However, shouldn’t everyone at least strive for that? It should at least start there, and the final answer does not need to be carved in stone. It is a sense of purpose and fulfilment that makes work enjoyable for most people.
So what does that mean to you? What part of your industry, profession or even current job do you enjoy the most? At the end of a great day, what was it that resonated with you in such a way to gave you that sense of satisfaction? Are you a big picture person that wants to work on ongoing processes, a fast paced person that loves high volume quick fire wins. Do you love routine and being able to master your craft through deep specialization? It is zeroing in on what makes you tick that helps you work out what that goal is.
By answering some of these questions you can start to become more aware of how you want your career to go. Now here is the challenge, you are beginning to know what you want, but it doesn’t mean you necessarily have the luxury of being able to do that. You have not yet earned the right to do what you want to do. I know people say you should ‘quit work, follow your passion’ but the reality is that life isn’t that simple. I’d love to be able to do what I do out of pure passion, but pretty sure my kids would grow hungry and the bank wouldn’t be happy with only paying part of my mortgage.
There is No Perfect Path
So knowing what you want is the first step, now setting yourself on a path to that place comes next. It may take a series of jobs or employers, further education, tons of failure and a just a smattering of successes… but it is about starting that phase of your career journey to reach the next place.
As I said before, I am so lucky, I am living my dream of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I get to talk to really cool people everyday and find them exceptionally talented people to help them with their specific problem. Now that I am here, it is time for me to ensure that I get to stay here by building a robust business that continues to exceed the expectations of those we work with. How about you, what do you want to be when you grow up and what is the next step you need to take on your journey to get there?