Choosing a career is one of the most angst filled processes of life. You may feel that you have to choose correctly now because if you mess this one up, you will pay for it for the rest of your life. This can result in a condition called Analysis Paralysis.
What is Analysis Paralysis? Wikipedia gives a very workable definition. “The phrase describes a situation where the opportunity cost of decision analysis exceeds the benefits that could be gained by enacting some decision, or an informal or non-deterministic situation where the sheer quantity of analysis overwhelms the decision-making process itself, thus preventing a decision”.
You may not be in Analysis Paralysis at the beginning of your career. Perhaps you are looking at a career change but are afraid. Much of this paralysis can be avoided. There are false ideas about careers that can actually paralyze you to the point where you drift through life vaguely disappointed, dissatisfied and afraid to make a move.
Here is a list of some of the false ideas that you might have and may want to take another look at as you consider your new career.
1) You may believe that you have to somehow discover the perfect career for yourself immediately.
Many of the most successful people I have known have had several careers. With each career, they gain new skill sets and with each skill set, they have more options with regard to future careers. Don’t worry if your path is heading toward a career that is not completely perfect. As long as you are working in some capacity, you are moving forward and learning.
2) You may believe that your perfect job would allow you to do whatever you want to and avoid doing things that you don’t want to.
Every job has things about it that are not as fun as other aspects of the job.
I am a Music teacher and I love teaching kids and digging into new methods of teaching to get a simpler and better product with my kids. It is the ideal job for me.
There are some aspects that are not my favorite. I do not like scheduling students, collecting tuitions, accounting and some of the other aspects of my job. Unfortunately, I have to do them or I won’ t have any kids to teach. Happily, if you confront the less pleasant aspects of the job and get them done quickly instead of putting them off, you can have a lot more time to do what you love.
3) You may believe that if you find the perfect job, it will never feel like work.
While it is true that doing what you love feels less like work, there are days that will try your patience. Some days you might be under the weather or you might run into a client who is difficult to handle.
No job is without challenges and no job is always fun. If you have a job currently, look at how much time you spend enjoying it versus how much time you spend dreading it. If you spend more time enjoying it than dreading it, you probably have a good job. If you dread going into work, it is time to fix what is bothering you about the job or find a new one. The ideal job would be the one where you get to do what you love as much as possible.
4) You may feel that because you have a degree in something, you can’t do anything else.
This is not true either. My brother is a great example. He wanted to become a vintner and got a degree in viticulture.
When he got out of college, he worked in a lab doing chemical research. A few years after that, he went back to school to get his law degree and is now a successful attorney in a start up company. He is happy and doing very well, but he is not a vintner. He does make a pretty killer beer though!
My point is that he had no idea what his path would ultimately be but it all worked out. His skills all came together to make him successful in his new career.
5) You may believe that you have to know right after high school what you will be doing for the rest of your life.
If you are in school and are starting to worry about making the all important career decision soon, don’t worry. Get some basic education and get started doing something, anything. With each job you get, you learn. Even if the only thing you learn is that you hate doing the job you have initially chosen, at least that gives you some information with which to make life changes.
6) You may believe that people only change careers because they somehow cannot make it in the first career they have chosen.
People make life changes for many different reasons. The people who are smart and resourceful are the ones who have the guts and self confidence to make the needed changes so that they can create a more happy life. Strong people are rarely “trapped in a career” that they hate simply because they refuse to be trapped into anything and make changes that untrap themselves.
7) You may believe that people who make frequent job or career changes are irresponsible or flighty.
One person can never really understand what is going through another person’s mind or life and why they make the decisions that they do. A person who is searching for his correct purpose in life or a job that fits well with his lifestyle may be trying things out. Once he finds the correct fit, chances are, he will settle down. If this is you, don’t worry. As I mentioned previously, with each job you take, you learn new things and those things can help you in your future jobs and help you find the correct path.
8) You may believe that you have to go to school and learn what is taught there to be successful in any career.
I know for a fact that this is untrue because I know several people, including me, who are completely self-taught in many fields. Today, we have so much information at our fingertips. You can create your own educational program and put yourself through it. It can be a combination of formal classes and self study. Truly, the sky is the limit with regard to what you can do to train yourself for many careers.
9) You may believe that there has to be a job existing out there that is perfect for you.
Did it ever occur to you that you can create your own job or career path? There are so many things that are needed and wanted in society at this time.
You could simply write up everything you want in a job and then look at creating that job yourself. If there is a need for something, a job can be created to fulfill that need. What do people need and want in your area of interests? Figure out how you could fill the need and you may be extremely popular.
10) You may believe that you have to have something to fall back on while pursuing your passion.
The worst thing you could ever do in life is work just for a paycheck. If you are at the point in your life where you are looking for the best career for you, look inside yourself and find out what your true purpose is in life. What was it you REALLY wanted to do when you were little? Did you want to be an actor or a fireman or an astronaut? Look behind your desire to do these jobs and find what purpose you had when you made the decision that you wanted to be these things.
A good hint is that most people have a purpose to help others in some way. A musician wants to entertain and make people happy. A fireman wants to rescue people. An astronaut wants to search out new worlds and make them accessible to other people. There is a purpose there. Once you find it, you will likely find that there are many different careers that will put you on the path of fulfilling that purpose.
Life is a learning experience. I believe that the most important thing in life is to extract the most learning that you can from it and use that knowledge to further your own personal purpose. As long as you keep these things as your focus, you will be OK.
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