Determining and developing your career path can be a difficult path for anyone, especially if it seems like there are endless directions you can go in. It’s important, though, to realise that you can create your own career!
There’s enormous value in picking a lane and sticking to it. You can’t fully and thoroughly develop yourself in a hundred different areas simultaneously, and your lack of focus will cost you the potential of mastery.
More than anything, though, it’s absolutely necessary to stop swimming around in the job pool from position to position without finding that focus and committing to it. Sure, you’ll have regular paychecks, but they won’t be helping you grow professionally if you can’t concentrate on goals and purpose.
How To Create Your Own Career
Here are some ways to stop flopping around between unconnected jobs and to finally start working on a focused, fulfilling career for yourself.
Take a Moment to Self-Reflect
Finding a fulfilling career requires really tuning into yourself. This means assessing your passions, interests, desires and overall goals in your life.
This is something that you should absolutely do numerous times along the way. Sometimes, people feel absolutely sure of their decisions and end up hating the career that they are in but feel too proud to quit.
Don’t waste your time and everyone else’s time by doing that. If you start going in one direction and realize after a year or two you are either not good at it or you absolutely despise it, switch courses.
Building a career is much more like a jungle gym than it is a ladder. You’ll have to go up, down, forwards, backwards, sideways and diagonally all at different points along the way, and that is okay.
Creating your own career is not always about deciding early on what you are going to do, starting at the very bottom and climbing straight up to where you want to be. For some people, this works and ends up being their narrative. For many, though, regular reflection and introspection is necessary and can help you redirect whenever possible.
Believe it or not, that redirection is often the most important part about building that strong, successful career later down the line.
Assess Your Strengths and Industry that Match
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and pretty much every industry has preferences or requirements in what those strengths and weaknesses are.
For instance, if math simply is not your strongest area, you likely will not work in accounting or finance. If writing is something that you’ve never been gifted at, you likely shouldn’t look too deeply into journalism.
It’s important, to be honest with yourself about where you excel and where you fall short. Trying to commit to a career that you aren’t suited for can be a very painful and frustrating experience, and it often isn’t as fulfilling as a career that fits you would be.
This can be especially frustrating when the things we are passionate about are not always the things we are best at. Plenty of people want to grow up touring the world in a famous band but are hopeless when it comes to learning an instrument or singing on pitch. Sometimes, you have to face hard truths.
The solution is finding where your dreams meet reality. Sometimes, the passion can fill in the gaps of natural talent and ability, but oftentimes your passions may need to be enjoyed in the form of hobbies rather than a career path, and that is totally okay!
Being honest with yourself and figuring out which things should be pass-times and which should be your future career will do wonders both with your fulfilment as well as with your levels of success.
Don’t Worry About Starting at the Bottom
It can be extremely difficult to swallow your pride and accept lower or entry-level positions in an industry, especially if you have held higher-level miscellaneous positions at other points.
The fact of the matter is, before you have really built a solid foundation in your career path, it is extremely unlikely that higher or more advanced positions are going to be available to you.
To create your own career, make sure to keep the end-goal in mind and take the job that is more relevant and beneficial to your overall career goals than the one that may seem slightly more glamorous or higher-paying in a random area.
For example, even if you could take on a managerial position in a retail or restaurant job if you want to work in PR and are offered an entry-level position at a firm, it is in your best interest to go with that option instead.
No one becomes successful by starting at the top, and free passes are neither easy to come by or genuinely beneficial to your growth.
It may be hard at first, but truly developing your career and your abilities will not happen overnight and will have to start at the beginning.
Work on Basic, Universal Skills
It can be easy to get caught up in developing the skills that are more obviously connected to your industry, and you absolutely should work on them!
Mastering the specific tasks and skillsets are not really enough to thrive in any job or career, however. There are basic skills like writing, communication, leadership and more that are critical to any job, even if they may not be explicitly in the description.
Take time to really think about skills like these and find ways to work on them. Not only will they help you with your career and all of the positions you find yourself in along the way, but they will also make you much more well-rounded and capable of a range of different things.
No matter what field you find yourself in, this diversity in your abilities will always come in handy and prove to be desirable.
Make More Conscious Decisions
It can be easy to put ourselves on auto-piolet, even with things as important as our career.
Many people stumble into the next chapters in their life without much intent going into how they get there. They end up at jobs that they happen to match up with; they take promotions that are offered to them, they go with the flow because it is easy and natural.
This is a fairly easy way to end up in the position of people who wake up one day when they are fifty years old and realize that they hate their job or simply don’t find meaning in it. Also, it’s an easy way to miss out on fantastic opportunities that may have required more conscious effort and decision-making.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the chase for paychecks, promotions, respect from peers and other external factors, but allowing these factors to drive our career choices takes it out of our hands and makes it much harder to figure out the answer to the main question here: what career do you actually want?
Try to be more conscious of the decisions you make. Go for the promotions that you know will bring you fulfilment. Take the jobs that are actively beneficial to your goals. Do the things that fulfil your wants, your needs, your career. The rest will come. You really can create your own career!
Never Stop Growing and Developing
Lastly, the journey is never over, even when it seems like you may have reached the finish line and achieved everything.
Even if you have that end-result job position, you can always keep improving and doing that same job better and more effectively.
If you end up as CEO of a company you feel passionate about, or you end up as Editor-in-Chief of a publication, or you end up as the head chef at a renowned restaurant, you can still keep growing and do a better and better job.
Not only can you always keep growing in terms of skill and ability, but you can also keep developing and improving those universal skills and your own temperament and personal growth along the way.
We never stop growing and improving until we die. This is true in our careers just as much as it is in our personal lives. Never let a promotion cause you to stagnate and never let success make you think that your journey is over and you have nowhere left to grow.
Never stop being excited for the future and looking for the next step. It’s what keeps you passionate and excited, and it’s what keeps your career fulfilling and healthy.
Breathe. No one creates a successful, thriving career out of thin air overnight. If you take the time to really explore yourself and develop a solid, confident foundation before you even embark on the journey, you’ll be surprised how much it can benefit you in both your current circumstances and the long run.
Everyone has their own unique traits to bring to the table, and by solidifying yours and really going for it in the industry that best fits you, you may be surprised what you can find!
You go girl, you really can create your own career!
Here at Work It Sister, I’ll help you to be career confident and become a perfect candidate and get noticed by recruiters. I’ll show you how to write an amazing resume, raise your game online with a fantastic Linkedin profile, increase your job search success and get you ready to interview to get the job you want, get a promotion or move up the career ladder.
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