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How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

Life has a habit of not always working out how we imagined it would. In an ever-evolving technological and economic world, the types of careers we can pursue are far and wide. If we haven’t been one of the lucky ones and figured out our exact career path, or maybe pursued one vocation but realised it’s not really for us, we can be left feeling lost to how we want our careers to look or even what we really want to be doing.

The Problems We Face When It Comes to Choosing the Right Career

Our economics are constantly changing which means the types of jobs and careers are being shaped accordingly. This can lead us feeling like the job we had no longer fulfills us or is heading in a direction we’re not comfortable with.

But we are also changing too. The change and growth within ourselves isn’t always something we contemplate when thinking about careers when we’re younger. We can also be pressured by loved ones to choose the sensible and lucrative career even if it doesn’t make us happy. We may be driven by money but gradually realise money isn’t what makes us happy but rather the passion behind the job you do.

Because of this we can get to a point in life where we want a change but aren’t able to figure out what we really want to do and what will really make us truly happy.

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Why Choosing the Right Career is Important

Strip it all back and what we really want from a career is the feeling of fulfillment, contentment, accomplishment, passion, and a sense of contribution. Considering we spend a big chunk of our waking lives at work, to be happy in life we need to consider the happiness that our careers give us.

When we’re focused too much on the money and not enough on how we feel getting up every morning and going to work, our jobs and careers can start to make us question what this is really all for. Choosing the right career path will bring both abundance and happiness but we must get out of the limited mindset that we must stick to what we’ve already chosen. Or that it’s too late in life to change careers, we’re not qualified, there aren’t enough jobs, not enough lucrative opportunities – the list goes on.

How to Go About Finding the Right Career Path for You

So, you’re considering a new career or you’re just starting out on your career journey – where do you start? Don’t despair if you feel utterly lost, there are positive steps you can take in order to get some ideas flowing and the ball rolling.

Think About What Energises and Excites You

We often forget that choosing a career that we’re passionate about or incorporating the things that excite us is an option. One of the biggest indicators that we’re on the wrong career path is when we don’t enjoy talking about it let alone turn up to do the job.

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Finding a career that you’re passionate about is what will maintain it long term. If you’re just focused on earnings then you’re more likely to become unhappy and unfulfilled much more quickly.

Think About What You’re Good At

Having a think about not only what you enjoy, but what you’re good at can really help in identifying what would make a good career choice. Are you good with people? Do you give good advice? Are you articulate? Do you have a talent for writing? Are you good with animals? Try to think of as many skills that you feel you’re good at and if you’re struggling then ask a good friend or colleague to tell you – sometimes other people are better at seeing us than we are.

A good tip is to identify the skills you use when you’re doing what you enjoy. No matter how insignificant you feel it is, don’t worry just write it down.

Think About a Field of Work Not a Specific Job

One stumbling block can be being too job-specific when considering a possible career. Once we do this we can get easily discouraged and limited in our thinking. Think about the field of work rather than specifics – for example, if you love helping and being around animals then a veterinarian job may be an idea but there are lots of other options such as becoming a professional dog walker.

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The idea is to think outside the box – skills for one job may suit another kind of job – like a teacher’s skill at explaining convoluted topics and using language well to convey the message may make a good writer.

Research the Possible Qualifications Needed

You may have a list of possibilities so now it’s time to research what you would need to know or what qualifications you may need in order to achieve your dream job. Perhaps you’re considering setting up your own business so looking into business classes could help or maybe you need to go back to school and get a degree. Find the different steps you need to take and don’t feel deterred.

Get to Know People in That Field

Consider networking. Ask around your friends and family to see if they know anyone in a similar field you could chat with. Find online forums or groups that discuss the field of work you’re interested in. By talking to others you will get more of a feel of the work and even advice on how to get started.

Evaluate Your Findings

Once you’ve done some research make sure you take stock and evaluate what you’ve found out. Does this career fit in with the lifestyle you want? Consider the information you’ve gathered and work through pros and cons. Does it still excite you? Do you feel passionate about it? Will it involve compromise you’re willing to take or is it too much compromise?

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It’s always important to check in with yourself.

Sign Up for Training and Experience

A good option is to look around for volunteering opportunities or internships in order to get experience or see if it’s really for you. You have nothing to lose, rather you’re gaining more insight into what you do and don’t want to pursue. It can also eliminate any unneeded areas of study or training elsewhere or help you understand what skills you do need to develop.

Once you’re positive and excited for your new career adventure then signing up for gaining the necessary qualifications is the next step. Remember to keep focusing on each step rather than the long term in order to keep any doubts or overwhelming feelings at bay.

Keep a Positive Mindset and Don’t Give Up

Our mind is powerful and can determine whether we give up or succeed. Keeping on your path requires a positive mindset – it’s going to feel daunting and a great leap of faith to change your career but by believing and following your passions, inspirations and happiness, you will allow yourself to realise your potential to be happy in your work life. Don’t let others deter you with their limited thinking or opinions – keep on your path with your happiness in mind and see where it takes you.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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