Finding your career path is one of the most important choices you’ll make in your life. Since your job will take up most of your waking life, it’s essential that you take a path that ultimately brings you happiness and fulfilment.
But this can also create a sense of pressure and make the decision on your career path a more complicated one than it should be. Our idea of the perfect career is sometimes shaped by societal expectations, family expectations and outdated beliefs.
Why Can We Have So Much Difficulty Choosing a Career Path?
It’s because of these ideas that we often come to the wrong conclusions when picking a career. In today’s society of fast-paced business and developing technology, more than ever before we’re made to feel that our choice of job must be made with all this in mind.
But we’re also taught to be competitive, precise and clear about where we want to be heading in terms of our career which creates the feeling of failure if this isn’t the case. It’s deemed hard to change your mind down the line if you find your chosen career isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. All these beliefs create a mindset that can make it difficult for us to choose wisely.
The 5 Common Mistakes We Make When Choosing Our Career
So how can we help ourselves when making this decision? Here are 5 common beliefs that cross our mind when we think about our choice of job and why they don’t serve us.
1. “If I Can’t Have the Best, I Don’t Want Anything at All.”
It’s good to aim high but sometimes this can be detrimental to our ultimate decision because we are creating a limited mindset to our potential. When we obsess about a particular job title we blind ourselves to equally fulfilling careers and jobs with similar skills. If you dream of becoming a successful writer because you feel you have a talent for words and explaining important subjects, then you could also enter an equally satisfying career in teaching. It’s always better to focus on the underlying skill set and possible fields instead of obsessing on a particular job title.
Another downside to wanting the ‘best’ is we can dismiss the negative sides to a career and only realise these once we get deeper into pursuing a particular job. It’s always important to keep an open mind and be aware of what your career path entails.
2. “I’m Supposed to Have a Career Path by a Certain Age.”
This is a particular problem amongst the young and can carry on as we reach our 30s and 40s. The result of this is that we are often pressured to pick a career at too young an age forgetting that we are constantly changing and evolving as a person. How we feel at 20 won’t be the same as how we feel when we’re 30 or even 25.
It’s also been a societal belief that changing careers is hard and the older we get, the harder this becomes. But many people have successfully made big career changes later in life and actually become more satisfied and happier because their career evolves as they are evolving as people. So don’t be worried if you feel the choice you made isn’t suiting you any more, age shouldn’t be seen as a restriction when striving for your next career.
3. “I Should Choose a Career Path Based on the Certificate I Get.”
There’s a term used in business called sunk cost which refers to a cost that can’t be changed. In terms of our education, we tend to think of our college and university degrees as something we need to pursue into our careers. We feel that the investment we’ve made in obtaining a particular certificate needs to be continued.
However, this mindset constricts us into sticking with a certain career that we may not be completely happy with. Don’t think of your education as a waste if you don’t pursue that certain path – think of it as gaining many different skills and allowing you to rule out something you won’t be happy doing. Nothing is a waste but just another stage in your development.
4. “I Should Take My Interest or Hobby into Consideration When Choosing My Career.”
It’s said quite a lot that in finding a job we love, we should follow our passions, interests and hobbies. While this can be taken into consideration, there shouldn’t be pressure to do this especially if you’re driven by earning enough money to cover your living expenses or paying off debts. Sometimes career paths can come at a stage in our lives when we have different priorities but always remember that once you’re at a more stable stage in your life, you can consider something connected with your passions and interests. Alternatively, you can always develop your interests on the side to keep your life more balanced.
5. “If I Don’t Make More Money Than My Peers, I’ll Consider Myself a Failure in Life.”
Comparison is a dangerous game. Seeing our careers as a competition and using other people’s success as a measure of our own is a toxic mindset to develop. We must always remember that we’re all on different paths and developing in different directions both personally and professionally.
Our ever-changing, modern world means that it can be hard to predict which careers will bring prosperity in the future over others. For example, the boom in technology meant these sorts of skills were in high demand but the threat of automation in many jobs means this won’t be the case very soon. Instead, according to Mark Cuban, the billionaire software developer and owner of the Dallas Mavericks predicts creative thinking will be more in demand in the next ten years. This shows comparison is futile because what is considered desirable now may not be in the future. So be content with your own decisions and path in life.
Choosing our career path is not always black and white. Don’t put pressure on yourself or restrict your thinking with limitations. Be open to the idea that your calling will change throughout your life and different possibilities are always there for you to pursue. Your aim is ultimately to be happy and find a career that bring fulfilment and satisfaction.
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