Everyone wants a fulfilling career, but getting one is easier said than done. After all, there are a lot of unfulfilling careers out there that have to be filled, and there are only so many job openings in areas where people regularly find a sense of fulfillment. Everyone has their own unique journey, but there are some principles that are true for almost everyone who’s chasing a dream job. Here are 5 things you have to do to end up in a career that you’re truly passionate about.
1. Make A Decision
Freshman year is is the chance for experimentation, when you can sample classes and find what appeals to you and what you’re good at. By the time you’re a college sophomore you should know the career path you’re heading down. If you linger too long, everyone fighting for the same career you eventually decide to pursue will have already swept way past you. Choose your field wisely, but not too slowly. If you’re not sure yet, at least pick a major or area of focus that is flexible enough to give you options but concrete enough that it will probably lead you towards a bright future.
2. Learn To Love What You’re Good At
When you’re making your life-defining choice, don’t go with your heart. Your heart is not a good decision-maker. Use your head to determine what is your best career option based on your abilities. You may be passionate about cooking, but you won’t have a fulfilling career if you follow your passion all the way to a fry cook position at a third-rate restaurant. A fulfilling career is a career you do well in. I would suggest making a list of things you did that have received praise from people other than friends and families. Look at the it to help you decide what kind of work you should be getting into. You might not be particularly excited about anything on that list, but it’s always possible to get excited about one of them.
3. Sacrifice Free Time
It’s hard to let go of that time you have away from responsibility, but people who don’t put in effort outside of their work hours get stuck at dead-end jobs. You might not find employment in your dream career right away, but you should always be working towards that dream, even if you’re flipping burgers from nine to five. A couple hours each night could be all it takes to keep your career prospects open, even when you feel as if you’re at your lowest. Fulfilling careers are delivered to those who work towards them.
4. Make Perfect
Practice. Practice. Practice. No matter how confident you are in your abilities at this field you’ve chosen, remember that to be the best you have to work the hardest. Don’t just do what’s set before you even after you have your dream career; always go above and beyond your assigned duties to make that career a fulfilling one. Almost everyone else is already doing the work they’re given, especially if you’re in a competitive field.
5. Branch Out
Success at one thing will eventually and inevitably get boring. Once you’ve mastered one area of expertise, branch out to new fields or sub-fields so you can expand your skill set and continue rising higher and higher above the pack and so that you have more options available to you. Someday the work you’re doing, even if you love it now, will stop feeling like a fulfilling career. Standing still gets boring, eventually you have to push forward. The only way to fight back against the boredom of monotony is to branch out into new places.
Featured photo credit: Oglethorpe University via flickr.com