Growing up everyone always hears the phrase “Find a job that you love”. In theory this seems simple, but in reality finding your dream job can be extremely challenging. Whether you are just starting your career or looking to switch jobs, finding a job that you love could seem overwhelming. The idea that one should know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives is a lot to ask for individuals. People are constantly in a state of change, which means their motivations and interests are bound to fluctuate over time. Especially within the last few years of this pandemic. To the lucky individuals that do know what their dream career is, good for you! For the rest of us, here are some simple steps and tips to help get the ball rolling for deciding on your dream career.
The first step in trying to figure out what you want as your dream career is determining what you like and what you enjoy doing. Keep in mind, in theory your career is something you commit to do every working business day till you retire, so it is important to make sure you enjoy what you do. It is also good to note that your career evolves as you evolve, meaning that if one day you realise you do not enjoy your job, it is never too late to switch career paths.
Jot down a list of your hobbies and determine which ones could transfer into a career. Note that not all of your hobbies will be transferable, but if you are determined enough one could make it happen. For example, if your favourite thing to do is watch Netflix all day, there could be a career for you being a TV or movie critic. The easiest solution to figuring this out is to determine which of your hobbies double as skills. If you are a strong reader, your dream career could be in publishing or editing as both require lots of daily readings. It is crucial to remember that whatever hobby you choose to turn into a career, will not be one that you will eventually dread doing. This means that if you enjoy cooking after a long day to decompress and destress, a career being a chef may not be the most suitable choice as this hobby will turn into a chore. Nevertheless, not all of your hobbies can turn into careers and that is more than okay as there are numerous avenues to finding your dream career.
The second step one could take to finding their dream career is to understand their strengths and what they could provide/ bring into the workforce. Ask yourself “what am I really good at?”. There is usually overlap between people’s strengths and skills with the hobbies and activities they enjoy. This is because people tend to be good at the things they continuously do a lot. However, sometimes we are blind to our own strengths and skills. Asking friends and family what we are good at doing can make you realise strengths you didn’t even know you had. Your friends could potentially point out that you are a natural born leader or that you have great active listening skills. These qualities can help you determine which type of careers you would be good at.
Another tip to take when trying to figure out your dream career, is a big one. When picking a career path, one must ask themselves “are there opportunities to grow in this job”. If you are new to the workforce, chances are you have a healthy amount of ambition. Meaning that you can see yourself climbing to the top of the corporate ladder. In order to climb to the top, one must be able to grow into different roles which would result in having more responsibilities before you reach the top. When picking your career path, it is important that you understand what type of jobs you would need to do in order to climb the corporate ladder of that industry. As well, recognize if these are jobs you would enjoy doing and determine if there are opportunities for growth within them that would appeal to you. When doing your research, if the career path does not excite you or motivate you, there is a good chance you’ll feel unhappy and trapped down the line, which would eventually bring you back to where you are now.
As previously stated, when determining your career you must be able to feel satisfied on your career path in the future. It is important to ask yourself “Will I enjoy doing this in five years?” and “In five years, where will I be on the corporate ladder in this field?”. While no one has a crystal ball that will accurately determine one’s future, you should be able to have a relatively certain understanding of what you can see yourself doing and enjoying on your career path for years to come. If you find that you are struggling to see yourself in a job five years down the road, let alone 30 years, it is probably not something you are passionate about. Expecting everyone to “love” their job is a bit of a pipe dream, BUT you should pick a career path where you feel confident, motivated and passionate about. If you contribute these feelings in regards to your job, going into work each day will not feel like a burden which will allow for you to grow in your career. As in any career, your day to day deliverables and responsibilities will evolve over time. When climbing the corporate ladder you will have various roles, learn new skills and possibly more responsibilities within the company. Being confident that you will enjoy the climb will help determine what field you wish to go into.
The next step in figuring out your career is to remember that it is important to think about more than just your salary. Obviously making a sustainable living matters, money is the reason why majority of us work after all. Everyone wants the feeling of financial stability, but this should not be the sole factor in picking your career. Many people make the mistake of picking a career path solely based on the salary it provides without determining if they would actually enjoy doing the roles / tasks within said career. Of course, everyone will require a salary that will be enough for them to pay for all of one’s essentials and be able to provide a comfortable lifestyle. That being said, if you are looking to be able to have a long fulfilling career, the amount in which you get paid cannot be the single most important factor. In order to avoid burnout and resentment towards your job down the line, chasing after the highest paying job will only be beneficial in the short term. In short, when picking a career your salary should be an important factor, but not your sole consideration.
Previously mentioned above, asking friends and family their advice on your career can be very beneficial. However, we will admit that sometimes well-meaning family and friends can give misguided advice. It is important to recognize nonetheless, that these people also know you better than anyone. Not all of your friends or family will have ideas for what they think you should do for a career. But some will be able to offer you a perspective that maybe you have not heard yet or actually have some great ideas about careers they think you would be a natural in. It never hurts to hear other people’s ideas as they might just plant a seed for a career you never would have considered on your own. Or they can give some great insight into their own careers, which could help you determine if you wish to follow in that path.
Another path one can take to help determine their dream career is to look up college course catalogues. Now this might sound like strange advice, especially if you have already gone to university and/ or college, but browsing through catalogues will give you an idea of careers that are out there. Sometimes it is hard to pick what you want to do as a career, as you feel you haven’t heard of anything that excites you yet. College and university catalogues are consistently evolving as the workforce evolves. This is a great starting point as there could be a career in which you didn’t know existed or find something that sparks an interest in something you never even thought of doing. Furthermore, in Canada, college courses do tend to be more job- focused, meaning they teach you relevant job skills that you will use when you enter the workforce. Enrolling in a college course could in fact be very beneficial and a great stepping stone into your career.
To recap, finding out your career could be overwhelming. However, taking the time to think about what you like and your strengths can go a long way. It is important to remember that it is ok to change your mind if you one day decide you want to switch careers or companies if you do not see yourself growing in that environment. At the end of that day, one should be excited and motivated about their career and hopefully these tips and steps will help you achieve that.