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Dream Careers Begin When You Take Your Dream Into Your Career

Dream Careers Begin When You Take Your Dream Into Your Career

What do American Idol, Ms. World, and The Olympics have in common? They’re competitions and you’ll inevitably hear participants gush “This is a dream come true for me!” In life, we all look forward to dreams coming true.  Some experience it early on. Others wait for a long time.  A few suddenly realize they’re already living their dream!  And then there are those who don’t know what a dream-come-true looks like but keep waiting for it to show up. Your dream life ties up with a dream career.  Your vision can be nebulous or clear, constant or shifting. What matters is you keep that vision of your dream.  Whichever type of work you’re in, here’s how taking your dream into your career can get you that dream career.

Your dream serves like a destination. You get there faster.

Reggie loved to draw as a 4-year old.  She doodled on notebooks,  dinner napkins, place mats, toilet paper, walls – on any surface!  Many children do that.  Unlike  other children, Reggie’s drawings now grace pages of award-winning books, tumblers in hip cafes in Europe, planners favored by picky environmentalists, popular wall papers for androids, and cool T-shirts selling online. She belongs to a group of respected illustrators and artists who are in regular demand. Doing what she loves and getting paid well for it, she has the freedom to travel or  do nothing for a while, if it hits her fancy.  How did she get there? She recognized her dream career at age four and kept going.

Your dream guides you. You make deliberate decisions.

When you know the journey’s destination, it’s simple to find transport  that gets you there. Visualize your dream career and make each decision by answering, “Does this get me closer to my dream?”  Many incoming college freshmen are not sure if their chosen course is right for them. Karina was an exception.  She was sure it was NOT what she wanted to pursue, but her parents were a big influence (read pressure). A dutiful daughter, Karina finished the 4-year Nursing course her parents insisted on.  Then she calmly declared she will begin studies in HER chosen field – business management.  Karina gave in to her parent’s wishes but never let go of her vision.  Now all her decisions are directed straight to her dream career in business.

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Your dream career doesn’t have to be etched in stone. You gauge if it needs tweaking.

I was ecstatic after passing the state university entrance exams but my dream course was filled up.  I settled for another course with plans to shift to my preferred course at the earliest possible time. The right time never came up in the next 4 years, until I completed my Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.  There were  raised eyebrows from my loftily intellectual and socially idealistic peers, but I was determined to begin my working life and accepted the unavoidable shift. The hotel career I had “settled for” led to such a wealth of lessons, challenges, fun, adventure, travel, unforgettable experiences, and long-lasting friendships.  Many times along the way, I have gushed, “This is a dream come true for me!”

But what if you find yourself doing work that is nowhere near your dream career and you don’t exactly feel fulfilled doing it?  Reverse the process.  Take your dream into the job and work like you’re living your dream. The enjoyment you get out of any type of work is in direct proportion to the amount of interest, attention, and commitment you put into it.

Appreciate the miracle of having a job and work cheerfully. There are people in the world whose dream IS to have a job – any job!

Check out the unemployment figures. The International Labor Organization Global Employment Trends 2013 reports the number of unemployed worldwide is projected to increase to 205 million in 2014 (from 197 million in 2012) as economic growth slows.  Meanwhile fresh graduates are joining the labor force each year.  This information is meant to, hopefully, add a grateful spring to your step as you head to work. Don’t allow an attitude of dissatisfaction push you into turning in a sloppy job.  Remember, you get out of work what you put into it.  And yes, there are many people waiting in the wings who are qualified and ready to replace you at any time.

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Do your best with every task, no matter how tedious it is. They are baby steps to your dream career.

When you join the work force, it doesn’t matter if you’ve graduated from a prestigious university.  You’re just another newbie coming in at entry level position, so be ready for tedious tasks. It was Christmas season when I began training at the marketing department of the InterContinental Hotel. Wearing a smart blazer, skirt and high heels, I half sat, half slumped on the floor next to a desk piled high with hundreds of presents for the hotel’s top clients. My instructions — “Wrap them all up by lunchtime!”  I was lucky. The other trainee (also in high heels) was  running around fetching stuff for the sales department divas. Take tedious tasks in the spirit of necessary training to test your mettle.   While you’re at it, be the best gift-wrapper or stuff-fetcher.  It will make the task enjoyable and develop your patience and people skills.

Welcome additional responsibility.  It could mean a promotion to your dream position.

What’s your reaction when your supervisor assigns you additional tasks and/or staff?  Yes, initial resistance is normal.  Try looking at it this way.

  • Your superior trusts in you and believes you are capable.
  • You gain new skills and knowledge.
  • Each new work experience adds to your professional portfolio and makes you highly valuable in the jobs market.

The additional responsibility could, in fact, soon be followed by an official promotion with full benefits … IF you handle the challenge well.

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A dream career is not about the money.

I know people who don’t mind getting paid at the lower end of the scale because they love what they’re doing.  Then there are people who are paid really well but feel miserable because they haven’t found their passion.  Some dream careers begin with a clear vision and a straight path. Other dream careers blossom from an unavoidable shift to a less-preferred course. Both situations follow this chronology:

  1. Passion fuels quality work and excellent performance.
  2. Opportunities show up regularly.
  3. Money follows inevitably.

By no means is money unimportant. It’s just not the first thing in the equation.  Observe when people talk about their dream life or dream career. Their eyes are shining and their voices are raised in excitement or hushed in reverence as they describe the experience. Money doesn’t show up in the conversation.

Observe too when the participants in American Idol, Ms. World, and the Olympics gratefully gush “This is a dream come true for me!”  It is usually AFTER they get eliminated. You see, living one’s dream is not about winning either.

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Featured photo credit: Md Asaduzzaman Tarek via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 14, 2020

How to Find a Career That Is Right For You

How to Find a Career That Is Right For You

There are thousands of careers to choose from. No wonder finding the one that’s right for you can feel like a guessing game.

Choosing or changing careers can be scary. Even if it’s right for you now, you might wonder, who says it’ll still be a fit in the future?

The truth is, you have to start somewhere. Whether you’re looking for a first job out of college or need a new career, follow this process to find the right one for you:

1. List Out Careers You Could Pursue

It sounds simple, but it’s good advice: Start with what you like. Even before you begin looking for the right career, you probably have an idea of what you’re interested in.

Next, make a second list, this one including your strengths. If you aren’t sure whether you’re actually good at something, ask someone close to you who’ll give you a truthful answer.

Once your lists are made, cross-reference them: What do you like to do and do well?

In a third list, rank these. If you’re skilled at something you don’t particularly like, for instance, that should fall lower on the list.

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2. Take a Career Assessment

Standardized tests shouldn’t make decisions for you, but they can get you pointed in the right direction. Career assessment tests gauge your abilities and interests and make recommendations for career paths based on the answers you give.[1]

Before reviewing your results, take a break. Getting some perspective can help you see whether your answers were guided by your mood. Look at the percentage match and ask yourself whether you could see yourself doing the work of the career or role every day.

For example, if your responses emphasized helping others, the test might point you to a medical career. However, if you don’t want to work in a hospital or clinical environment, you might cut that option or place it lower on your list.

3. Sweat the Details

Every career has gratifying and frustrating things about it. Before you choose one, you need to be clear on those. Reading reviews and job descriptions you find related to each career, make a list of its pros and cons.

There are a lot of factors to think through. Key questions to ask yourself include:

  • What are the hours required by this type of work? Can they be flexible?
  • What skills are required? Do I possess them, or would I be willing to learn them?
  • What are the education requirements? Can I afford to go back to school?
  • How much do jobs in the field pay? Is the payscale top-heavy or evenly distributed?
  • What does job growth in this sector look like? Are they traditional or contracted roles?
  • Are opportunities in the field available in my area? If not, would I be willing to move?
  • Would I be working solo or on a team?

In answering these questions, you’ll find yourself crossing a lot of careers off your list. Remember, that’s a good thing: You’d rather find out a career isn’t right for you now than after you’ve put yourself on that path.

4. Find the Sweet Spot

The crux of the career question is this: What’s the “sweet spot” between your interests and strengths and the market’s needs? The greater the overlap, the better.

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Be warned that you’ll have to compromise. Perhaps you enjoy working with animals, but there’s no demand for that line of work in your area. You might be good at math, but you wouldn’t want to crunch numbers in a cubicle for a living. Finding balance is crucial.

5. Start Networking

What’s the best way to get the real story about the careers you’re interested in? Talking to professionals in the field.

Where should you find these people?

  • Reach out to local businesses.
  • Scour your social media networks, particularly LinkedIn.
  • Ask a past employer for recommendations.
  • Sign up for industry events and conferences.

Schedule a short interview with each of your new connections. Ask them to weigh in on the comments you see online. Every role and company is a bit different, so don’t be surprised if their responses don’t align.

Regardless of who you find or what they say, write it down. If one interviewee’s responses differ wildly from online responses, chat with someone else in the field. Do your best to find out what’s the rule and what’s the exception.

6. Shadow and Volunteer

As valuable as networking can be, you need a firsthand glimpse of the work. If you hit it off with one of your interviewees, ask to do some job shadowing. Sitting beside someone as they work can help you understand not just the pay and the responsibilities but also the culture and work environment associated with each career.

Job shadowing is a good way to get your feet wet before taking a career plunge. If you felt uninterested or unhappy during your shadowing experience, it’s a good sign that you should ponder a different career path. If your shadowing experience made you want to come back for more, you may have found your calling.

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Volunteer work is an alternative to job shadowing that can get you the experience you need as you analyze your career options. As a volunteer, you can be more flexible with your time and get opportunities you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

7. Sign Up for Classes

Many careers have an academic component that you can’t ignore. If you decide you want to be a lawyer, for instance, you might want to know you can survive law school first.

Sign up for an introductory class or two related to each career you’re interested in. The earlier you do this, the better. If you’re still in college, the class will count as an elective and may be covered by your scholarship, but if not, look for a community college option to keep costs low.

Taking a single class is not the same as earning a degree in the field. With that said, it’s a good way to test the waters before you invest thousands of dollars.

If the content interests you and you look forward to class each week, that’s a good sign. If you start dreading the class or choose to drop it, focus your attention elsewhere.

8. Enter the Gig Economy

Contracted work is a great “try it before you buy it” career tactic. Skipping to an entry-level role requires more commitment than you might want to give while you’re still investigating your options. The gig economy offers the best of both worlds: paid work as well as flexibility.[2]

Gig workers take work from companies or individuals that do not directly employ them. Plumbers and artists are good examples. Rather than receiving a regular paycheck, they sell their services by the task or deliverable.

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In the gig economy, you aren’t bound by long-term agreements. If you don’t like the experience, you can simply move on.

You never know if you’ll enjoy something until you try it. And because contractors work with professionals in the field, gig workers naturally get networking and shadowing opportunities.

9. Market Yourself

As you zero in on your dream career, there’s one final test you can use to find out whether you’ll be successful: marketing yourself as a candidate for hire. Whether you get bites is a key indicator of how you’ll fare in the field.

Beware that, as someone without much experience in the field, you’re going to get a lot of rejections. Don’t be discouraged. If you get two interviews out of 50 applications, think of it as two opportunities you didn’t have before to find your ideal career.

Just as important as outreach is a good inbound strategy. Set up a website, and post your portfolio on it. Describe your dream job on your social media.

Recruiters are constantly on the lookout for candidates that fit their company. The more exposure you get, the more people will be interested in what you have to offer. Put yourself out there, and you just might find the perfect fit.

Don’t Give Up!

Nobody ever said it was easy to find a career that’s right for you. Finding one is tough enough, and even then, you may find yourself looking for a new field ten years into your career.

Whatever you want from your professional life, you have to be willing to put in the time. Don’t hesitate, and don’t give up. Start your search today.

More Tips on How to Find a Career

Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

Reference

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