Your Career: Temp Jobs

Whether it’s covering someone’s vacation or helping out during the busy holiday season, a temporary job can serve many purposes:

  • Provide extra income
  • Offer experience to boost your resume
  • Teach you new skills
  • Fill in gaps in employment
  • Give you an opportunity to help others

To find these temporary positions, you can partner with an employment agency, ask friends and family, or simply check out job listings. During the holidays many companies seek out extra workers to help them get through the busy season. But year-found you can find opportunities to cover associates who are out, help with special projects, or provide additional coverage for busy times. You can also create your own temporary jobs by finding a need and filling it (i.e. odd jobs such as yard clean-up, painting, etc.).

Depending on your availability, options may be limited. Retail is a popular choice, as it offers wide availability when it comes to hours. Chances are pretty high that you can find something that will work with whatever job or family obligations you already have. But there are plenty of other options, as well. Below are some ideas depending on your skills or time of year:

Winter

  • Retail – holiday rush
  • Shoveling / Snow removal

Spring

  • Yard clean-up / Landscaping

Summer

  • Landscaping
  • Pool set-ups
  • Lifeguarding
  • Summer camps

Fall

  • Retail – Halloween seasonal
  • Yard clean-up / Landscaping
  • Gutter cleaning

Year-round Ideas

  • Computer/technical assistance
  • Office assistance
  • House, garage, or yard cleaning
  • Construction
  • Painting
  • Babysitting
  • Housesitting
  • Petsitting
  • Delivering newspapers or phone books

Of course what you’re qualified for and what is available will vary widely depending on your skill set and where you’re located. Keep your eyes and mind open to come up with more ideas or find an opportunity that works for you.

Advertisements

Your Career: Starting Your Own Business

In the last Career post, we touched briefly on starting your own business. Specifically, what questions to ask yourself. In this post, we’ll go into more details so you can decide if owning your own business is right for you.

When you’re sitting at your current job, ticked off at your boss, frustrated at your measly paycheck, and tired of the tedious tasks, it can be tempting to get away from it all and become your own boss, with your own rules. But before you decide to make that leap, you need to decide if it’s really the right step for you.

Entrepreneurs tend to have many similar traits that serve them well in their careers. Among these traits are a drive to succeed, the ability to self-motivate, creativity, and willingness to think “outside the box.” If you’re missing some or all of these qualities, you may still be able to successfully run your own business, but the journey may be a bit more difficult. Having the passion for what you decide to do, however, can outweigh just about anything.

If you decide that starting a business is the right choice for you, you’ll next need to decide what it is you want to do. This can be based on a talent or a passion or both, but make sure that whatever you decide holds your interest enough that you’re willing to stick with it in the long-term. If you lose interest after a short while, your business is not likely to succeed. Passion for what you’re doing can keep you going, but lack of passion can dwindle your chances of success.

Another thing to keep in mind is the money factor. Regardless of what you decide to do, chances are pretty slim that you’ll bring in a lot of money right off the bat. You need to be mentally and physically prepared for the lack of funds in the beginning. There will be a lot of expenses and not much income, and you’ll still have living expenses not related to the business, as well. Think about cutting back expenses or building your savings — or, most likely, both — before making the business your primary source of income.

As a reminder, here are other questions to ask yourself, as indicated in the previous post:

  • Will you work by yourself, or will you need partners or employees?
  • How will you get paid?
  • Where will start-up money come from? Will you need a loan?
  • Will you work out of your home, or will you need a physical location? How will you pay for the associated expenses?
  • How will you let the world know about your business? Who is your clientele?
  • How will you deal with customer/client concerns?

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and you’ll likely keep adding to it as you go. You don’t need to have all the answers right away, but the more research and preparation you can be beforehand, the most likely you are to be successful. Many have gone before you, but success is not guaranteed. Think long and hard about your choices and the path you want to take. And good luck! Owning your own business is not easy!

Your Career: Not a 9-5

Many people are content with a corporate job — punching in and out every day, getting a paycheck from “the man.” But if you’re one of the many who want something different in a career, you may be wondering what to do, where to start, and how to advance. Rest assured you’re not alone, and there are plenty of people and resources out there to help you.

Starting Your Own Business

If your dream is to have your own business, welcome to the club! While there is a lot to consider, many have gone before you, and succeeded. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get you started:

  • What will you do? Is it sustainable long-term?
  • Will you work by yourself, or will you need partners or employees?
  • How will you get paid?
  • Where will start-up money come from? Will you need a loan?
  • Will you work out of your home, or will you need a physical location? How will you pay for the associated expenses?
  • How will you let the world know about your business? Who is your clientele?
  • How will you deal with customer/ client concerns?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you may be ready to get going. The Small Business Administration and SCORE can help you along the way, especially if you need to create a business plan and get a loan. They can answer many of your questions, and you can even arrange to meet with someone to go over your specific plans and goals.

Independent Representatives – Multi-Level Marketing

While in many ways being an independent representative is owning your own business, there are some different differences. For one, you’ll be affiliated with an existing, established business – a business that may supplement or completely fund your salary. There will also be a set structure in place that determines how much you make, how you can progress and advance, and what you will sell or promote. The good part is that you control your success. You can go as far as you want, and you determine your own schedule. Keep in mind, however, that these arrangements usually involve a start-up cost.

You’re likely familiar with many companies that involve independent representatives: Avon, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Tupperware, etc. You can ask others you know who are involved with these companies or visit the companies’ websites to get more information on how to join. As with starting a business from scratch, consider what kind of company you would want to stay with long-term, and what products or services align with your interests.

Work From Home

Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, and there are several different formats that can fall under this category. You may own your own business, work for someone else but determine your own schedule, or work for someone else on a set schedule. Some jobs from home will require conference calls or regular reports in, while other jobs will just require the completed project. You may even get a job working from home that requires a separate phone line and computer system for the job — and you answer customer calls and act as someone in an office would.

If you’d like to work at home as an independent contractor with your own business, you can post your services online at sites such as Upwork or create a profile on LinkedIn. To find a position with a particular company, you can do an online search through job search sites or general search sites, or you can contact companies directly and ask if they hire work-at-home employees.

Creative Jobs

Actors, dancers, artists, photographers, writers — if you’re creative, your talents may not lead to a  “normal” job. You may be hired for particular projects or jobs rather than ongoing employment. You may choose to be associated with an organization or agent that can get you jobs, or you can go out on your own and make a mark. It’s not an easy path, but if you’ve got the passion and discipline, you can certainly succeed. The toughest part will be getting your name out there so you can get clients and jobs. Be sure to advertise and, if appropriate, join professional organizations that can help you on your path. Networking can be your friend! You can also look into sites such as the previously-mentioned Upwork, or search online for job boards specific to your industry.

Your Career: Interviews

If you plan on changing careers or getting a new job in your current field, you’ll likely need to be interviewed at some point. Most interviews will take place face-to-face, but an initial interview or an interview for a position a long distances from your current residence may take place over the phone instead.

Here are some overall tips to make a good impression during a face-to-face interview:

  • Dress to impress. If the interview is for a professional position, wear a suit. If the position is more casual, dress a little nicer than the position calls for: wear nice slacks or a skirt, and a clean dress shirt, polo, blouse, or sweater. No jeans and no t-shirts. Show the interviewer that you care about your appearance and are serious about the position. First impressions count.
  • Be present. Make eye contact and show the interviewer that you’re interested in what he or she is saying. Avoiding eye contact or activing distracted can indicate that you’re hiding something or are just not really interested in being there.
  • Be alert. Don’t slouch or lean back in a relaxed, reclined position. Sit up straight. Act professional. Acknowledge what the interviewer is saying.
  • Be confident in your answers. This shows that you’re confident in yourself, as well.
  • Elaborate. Don’t answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no,” unless that’s what the question calls for. Explain to the interviewer what you bring to the table, and why you’re the best person for the position.
  • Don’t make excuses. We all have areas on our resumes that are detours from our career path or that we’re not necessarily proud of. Don’t make excuses for them or apologize for them. Instead, explain how you’ve learned from those experiences and used each item to your benefit.
  • Be honest. Telling “white lies” may get you through the interview, but if you’re hired, you’ll soon be discovered. Be honest with yourself and the interviewer. If you can’t do the job, or you’re missing a necessary skill, lying about it won’t help you in the long run.
  • Be respectful. Greet your interviewer with a hand shake. Thank the interviewer for his or her time. Don’t interrupt or ignore the interviewer when he or she is talking. Show the interviewer that you are professional, courteous, and can treat others with the respect they deserve.

If you find yourself being interviewed by phone, many of the same tips apply. Obviously the interviewer can’t see how you’re dressed, but you will still want to be honest, respectful, and confident. Elaborate on your answers, really listen to what the interviewer is saying, and thank the interviewer for his or her time.

Common Interview Questions

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses, or areas in which you could improve?

  • An employer wants to know how the company will benefit from hiring you. What are you capable of? How will you fill the position? On the flip side, knowing not only where your talents lie, but also where you can improve, shows that you are aware of your limitations and are not afraid to work on improving them.

Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

  • This tells the interviewer what your goals are, and whether employment in the open position could be a permanent position in the company, or a temporary stop for you in your travels. This also shows the interviewer that you can plan ahead, and that you’re motivated to move beyond your current situation. Explaining how you want to better yourself will show that you are going places. Don’t be afraid to mention personal goals, in addition to career goals. Employers want well-rounded associates.

Tell me about yourself.

  • Though not a question, be prepared to tell the interviewer a little about yourself. This doesn’t meant to start at birth and work your way up. Rather, tell the interviewer about your work history, what you bring to the table, and what you’re looking for. If you have extracurricular activities that can be considered an asset, by all means mention those as well. If you have a family, now would be a good time to mention them. Any lapses in employment, items on your resume that need explanation, or items that may affect your employment status should also be mentioned.

Do you have any questions for me?

  • This is a tricky question, and depending on how the interview has gone thus far, you may not have any questions for the interviewer. But asking at least one intelligent question in return will show the interviewer that you were paying attention, and that you’re actually interested in the position. Try asking for an elaboration on something the interviewer touched on, or specific questions about the open position. While inquiring about salary or benefits is OK, don’t dwell too much on these — the employer may think you’re only interested in the money, not the job itself.

Your Career: Job Search

The biggest part of changing your career is finding a position in the new career you’ve chosen. You have many options when it comes to looking for a job, and the one that works best for you will likely be determined by your chosen profession. Here are some tips to get you started:

Online:
The quickest and easiest way to search for jobs currently is on the World Wide Web. Log on to the Internet, and you’ll find countless sites that claim to have the best listings for your area and profession.

  • Indeed.com
    If you don’t want to worry about which site to use, check out Indeed.com. Indeed will take job postings from several job sites and combine them into one location. These will include not only the big ones like Careerbuilder and Monster, but also smaller, more industry-specific job sites, such as JournalismJobs.com, and regional job sites, such as CTjobs.com and SpringfieldHelpWanted.com. Indeed will also find postings listed on individual employer websites.
    Though it has options to save specific jobs and create a profile, it is designed more like a message board. Clicking on a job posting will take you to where the job was posted originally. For job seekers who want to send off resumes quickly, Indeed may not be the best choice.
  • CareerBuilder.com
    Easy to use, with a huge selection of postings across the country, CareerBuilder.com is for many the first choice. You can save multiple resumes and cover letters for easy applying, and there’s an option to make the resumes available for employers to search.
    For job seekers, search options include industry, location, salary, and more, making it possible to narrow down exactly the type of job you’re looking for. After a resume is submitted, CareeBuilder will also present a list of recommended jobs based on previous searches or application history.
  • Monster.com
    In many ways, Monster is similar to CareeBuilder. Job seekers have the option to post resumes, search, and save job postings. Monster also now promotes its career advice and resume services.
  • SnagAJob.com
    Though not as well known, SnagAJob offers several postings from reputable companies. It presents itself, however, as a site for hourly employment, so job seekers looking for salaried and executive positions may want to look elsewhere. Simple, easy to use, with informative videos to guide job seekers through the process, SnagAJob is a resource for those just entering the professional work environment.
  • TheLadders.com
    On the opposite end of the spectrum is TheLadders.com, which gears itself toward high-end positions with salaries over $100K.
    Unlike the sites listed above, TheLadders require job searchers to enter personal information before browsing jobs. When filling out the sections, one category asks for the previous year’s salary, and it does not offer an amount under $80K.
    The positions on TheLadders are upper management, executive, and director jobs that require extensive experience.
  • Industry Specific Websites and Non-Traditional Jobs
    For more specific listings that focus on the desired position or industry, try browsing jobs sites that are designed for that purpose. Try searching for the industry and “jobs” to find sites linked to your desired industry.

 

Newspapers:

Local newspapers, both large and small, can offer listings that may not be found elsewhere. Advertising in the newspaper is a relatively low-cost option for many smaller businesses, and as such is appealing to many employers.

Keep in mind that newspaper ads often have limited space, which means the information they can provide is limited, as well. Familiarize yourself with a company or position by researching online or calling for more information.

 

Employment Agencies:

Many companies who don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding prospective employees hire employment agencies to do the searching for them. These employmennt agencies can be small, serving a specific county, or nationwide, or even international.

Listings of employment agencies can be found online or in the phone book, or you can browse job postings to find jobs posted by employment agencies. Applying for a job that’s posted by an employment agency can help get your foot in the door, by making that agency familiar with your resume and the type of job you’re looking for. Some agencies will also have open houses, when they will actively seek new employees to work with their agencies.

Positions available through agencies can be temporary, temp-to-hire, or direct hire. Temporary, as their name suggests, are not permanent positions. They can be anything from a single week to long-term for a year or more. Temp-to-hire positions start as temporary positions, and if the employer feels you are a good match, that employer can make a permanent job offer. Direct hire positions are regular, permanent positions that are being filled.

Employment agencies vary widely, and can be general or specialized in a particular industry. If you are looking for positions in a specific field, matching up with an employment agency that works with that field can help get you experience and contacts, even if just for temporary positions to boost your resume.

 

Cold Calls:

Another option is to simply call prospective employers and ask if they have any openings. Jobs that are recently available, or are not advertised, may be made known to those answering the phone. Asking may be the quickest, or even only, way to find out about these jobs.

Not all companies look favorably to cold calls, however, so always be polite and don’t burn bridges you may need down the line.

 

Networking:

Perhaps the oldest way of finding a job can also be the most effective: knowing someone. Whether that person is a close friend or family member, or a friend of a friend of a friend, having a link with someone who works at a prospective employer is a definite benefit, as long at as that person is willing to help you get a foot in the door.

When you’re looking for a job, make everyone you know aware of what you’re looking for. You never know who might have a valuable connection.

Your Career: Networking

As with so many things, when it comes to your job, it can often be who you know, not only what you know. And that means if you want to get ahead, it’s time to start networking.

To start, tell everyone you know about your intentions. You never know who can help you in your search, or who knows someone who can help you. While discussing my publishing aspirations with a coworker, for example, I found out he knew someone in publishing. It didn’t end up getting me anywhere, but I never would have known about that connection if we hadn’t talked about what I was hoping to accomplish.

Once that’s done, get out there and meet new people. Your local chamber of commerce can be a great resource to meet others in your area and connect with people in your chosen field. Even if the people you meet can’t get you a job, they can be a fountain of knowledge when it comes to getting experience, learning what to do next, and meeting even more people who can help you. While you’re at it, look for professional organizations in your area or online that relate to your area of interest. Affiliating with them shows you’re serious and can introduce you to plenty of potential resources.

You can also tap into online forums and communities: in your chosen field, on job sites, in your local area. The more people you connect with, the greater the possibility of a job lead, educational resource, or just support and feedback along the way.

When you meet new people, don’t be afraid to express your interest in a particular area. I wouldn’t recommend introducing yourself as “Hi, I’m Joe. I’m looking for a job in marketing” unless you’re at a career expo, but bringing up the industry or topic in conversation can lead to some interesting responses. You never know who you might meet or what that person might be able to do for you!

While you’re at it, keep your ears and eyes open for opportunities that may help others. Networking is a two-way street, and just as someone you meet may be able to give your career a boost, you or someone you know can offer the same benefits to someone else.

Your Career: Get Experience

With so much competition in the job market these days, it’s important to do everything you can to set yourself apart. Assuming you have the education required for the position you’re going for, the next step is to gain relevant experience.

It can be a bit of a conundrum to look at job postings; everyone wants experienced workers, but you can’t get experience without getting a job — right? Not necessarily.

Opportunities exist beyond the workplace. If you’re still in school or recently graduated, you can look for internship opportunities. Some may be paid, but even if they aren’t, you’ll gain the experience necessary to put on your resume and get real-world application of your skills. Depending on where you intern, you may even be able to get a job after the internship is over. Or, at the very least, gain valuable contacts that can help you find another position.

If internships are not a viable option — or even if they are — you can also look into volunteering at non-profit organizations. Many smaller groups and organizations don’t have the funds to hire a professional. You can volunteer to do the job for a nominal fee, or even for free. They get the job done, and you gain experience. Regardless of what you need experience in, there is likely an organization who could use the help.

Another option is letting friends and family know you’re looking for experience. Perhaps someone knows a person who could hire you. Or perhaps a friend of member of your family could use help themselves. As with an organization, even if you’re not charging much, if anything, you’ll still gain that valuable experience you need.

Don’t underestimate going out on your own. Advertise your services in the local paper or online. Be upfront and honest about looking for experience. Many people are willing to take a chance if it’ll be a lot cheaper for them. It’s a win-win.

Your Career: Educate Yourself

You’re likely bombarded on a regular basis with ads for colleges, citing that now is the best time to go back to school and earn your degree. The poor economy has sent schools out in droves, encouraging laid-off or underemployed workers to learn a new profession or skill set to get ahead in their chosen fields. And it’s true: education can give you a boost, whether it’s in your current field or a new one. But before you start applying to colleges, think about all your options first.

College Degrees
It’s a somewhat unfortunate fact that these days many employers won’t even look at your resume unless you’ve got a degree, regardless of what that degree is in. If you don’t have one, even if you’re qualified for the position, you may be passed over. To have the most options, you may want to consider biting the bullet and getting that degree. Research the field you’re looking to break into and see if a degree is a requirement. Even if a bachelor’s or associate’s degree isn’t required, some fields will require certification programs as a prerequisite for employment.

Keep in mind, however, that even if you do need to get a degree it probably doesn’t need to be from an Ivy League school to be an asset. Local schools are excellent options, as are accredited online universities. Evaluate your time and your finances and determine the best course of action for you. And don’t worry if you can’t afford to get that degree. If it’s important to you, there are many financial aid programs available. Or there may be other ways to break into that field.

Internships
In my opinion, hands-on experience is even more valuable than classroom learning. Training with someone who does what you want to do not only teaches you more about your chosen field; it looks great on a resume, too. It also has the benefit of really showing you if that job is something you truly want to do.

The downside is that a lot of internships and hands-on experiences don’t pay. But the education you get from them can be far more valuable than a paycheck. Contact local employers and organizations to see if it’s possible to intern with them. If that’s not a possibility, look into volunteer opportunities in your area. Again, they’re not paid, but you’ll have a great line on your resume and valuable hands-on experience that employers look for.

Continuing Education
If you already have a degree, or don’t need one in your chosen field, you can still benefit from education. Taking a class or two at a local college or online can make you an asset in your current and future positions. You gain valuable knowledge, and you show your employer that you’re serious about improving yourself (definitely a selling point when you’re looking for that promotion or raise!). Check with your employer — they may even offer reimbursement for education.

In addition to college courses, many towns offer continuing education programs that can teach you skills in life or your career. You can also participate in seminars on leadership, time management, and more. The more you learn, the better off you’ll be. Even if the course or seminar isn’t directly related to what you’re currently doing or what you hope to do in the future, you can still gain valuable skills. And don’t discount the valuable networking possibilities, as well. Courses and seminars can also be a great way to meet people in different fields — people who can be a foot in the door for future opportunities.

The bottom line is that knowledge is always an asset, whether it’s moving you forward in your current career or preparing you for a new one. Taking the time to build your skills can set you up for future success.

Your Career: Online Help

Whether you’re looking for ideas, applying for jobs, or looking for assistance with resumes, interview strategies and more, the internet is a valuable tool. As stated previously, there are many sites that can get you started if you’re looking for a little guidance regarding your career path. The help doesn’t stop there, though.

Job Search
When it comes to searching for jobs themselves, many sites will offer listings of available jobs, especially if it relates somewhat to the site’s content. The largest number of jobs, however, can usually be found on the larger, general job-posting sites. You can check out:

If you have a specific industry or area you want to work in, you can also search for industry-specific or location-specific sites that can offer more specialized search tools and resources.

General Information
In addition to job listings, the sites above offer additional resources, such as articles on resume writing and interview skills, that can provide information and guidance in your search. Other sites also offer information in these areas and more. Here are some to get you started:

Forums
Forums can be helpful, especially when it comes to specific questions or up-to-the-minute updates and information. You can search for forums regarding a specific topic or industry by heading to your favorite search engine and searching for forum: topic or industry. (Obviously replace “topic or industry” with the actual topic or industry you’re searching for!) Below are some general career forums to get you started:

Forums can also offer support and feedback in your career path and overall career goals. This is especially useful if you’re feeling isolated in your journey or feel that others around you don’t understand what you’re going through.

Other Resources
In addition to website and forums, there are other electronic tools that can offer help and inspiration. You can also check out podcasts, online magazines, apps and more. Search your favorite electronic device to get ideas.

Your Career: Finding Your Calling

With so much to cover in my initial category postings, I was only able to touch on each change or dilemma briefly. The intent of Wednesdays’ posts will be to elaborate on specific changes you may want to make, and how to move forward in them. I will offer general information and ideas to get you started or move you along, and each Wednesday will cover a different topic.
When it comes to taking charge of your career, if you find yourself a “jack of all trades, master of none,” or simply find yourself floundering, unsure of how to start, this post is for you.
Finding your niche, or “calling” can be a lot easier said than done. I know. It was my biggest hang-up when it came to changing careers. I didn’t want just another job. I wanted something that was meaningful to me, that I would enjoy, that I could see myself doing for years, that wouldn’t bore me. Definitely easier said than done!
Your criteria may be different. Perhaps you’re not as picky as I was (for your sake, I hope you aren’t!) and will have better luck finding something that “clicks” for you. Perhaps you have a few career paths that interest you and you’re just trying to narrow them down. Perhaps you’ve got some ideas floating around in your mind. Or perhaps you have no idea where to even start.
What’s Important to You?
Before even thinking about which career path to choose, you may want to take a few moments to think about what’s really important to you. What qualities are you looking for in a job? Are you looking for something with a consistent schedule, steady paycheck and great benefits? Are you looking for something that lets you think creatively, coming up with ideas that are “outside the box” on a regular basis? Do you want to work with people or independently? In a large corporation or mom-and-pop operation?
The questions are endless, but only you can really answer them. Only you will know what’s important to you, what will make you happy. If you relish working independently but find yourself in a job that requires you to be part of a team, would you be OK with that? If you need the security of a steady paycheck but find yourself drawn to a commission-only profession, how will you deal with that?
Taking the time to really evaluate these criteria, before you fall in love with a job that won’t work for you, will help ensure you find a career that is truly the best fit.
Getting Ideas
Once you know what’s important to you, it’s time to start exploring your options. Whether you have an idea of what you might want to do or not, getting a feel for what’s out there will help you be sure of your choice.
I found one interesting way to get ideas was to take personality tests. You answer a bunch of questions, and your answers are interpretted to give you an idea of which category your personality falls into. Included in the results are usually famous people who had your personality type and some career ideas that may appeal to you. Using these tests as a starting point may inspire you and lead you into a direction you hadn’t even considered. Below are some online tests to get you started.
There are other ways to brainstorm career ideas, too. Think about hobbies or interests you have and visit online job search sites, such as CareerBuilder or Monster. Type your hobby or interest in the keyword search box and see what comes up. The jobs don’t even have to be local; you’re just brainstorming here. Or you can do a Google search with your hobby or interest and “job” or “career” to see what comes up.
Another option is mind-mapping. Take a blank piece of paper. In the middle of the paper write a hobby, interest, or job characteristic that’s important to you. Circle it. Now draw a line from that circle and write a word that relates to it in some way. It can be a job idea or just another interest, job characteristic or random thought. Circle that, too. Continue to branch off the circles, both the original circles and the ones you create as you go. See where your mind takes you. You might be surprised at the chain of ideas!
Stay True to Yourself
While the ultimate choice for me ended up being “obvious” — and was in the back of my mind the whole time — I think part of the reason I didn’t pursue it earlier was because I knew it wasn’t an easy path. There would be no 9-5 job for me. There would be no guaranteed paycheck or benefits. I would have to constantly use my brain, my creativity, to push myself forward. And what about writer’s block?
But, honestly, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the “different” job — the difficult, challenging and thought-provoking job that didn’t fit the definition of “normal” — was the right one for me. I relished the challenge, and regular jobs bored me. The “normal” job had never been the best choice for me. And I think that’s an important thing to keep in mind. To find the job that’s truly right for you, you need to do some soul-searching. You need to think about what you enjoy doing, what challenges you, what gets you excited, what stirs your blood. It’s about bringing together what’s important to you and what’s interesting to you. Even if the path to get there won’t be easy, if it’s something that’s meaningful for you, the end result will be more than worth it.
For some of you, the path will be easier. The job you decide on will have a set training plan, a wide variety of jobs available, and excellent pay and benefits. Congrats if your calling falls into that category! But if what you’re thinking about doesn’t fall into that category, don’t try to make something else fit. Even if the path is a little rockier, the experience will be more meaningful for you if you stay true to yourself instead of convincing yourself that something else could be what you want to do.
It may take a while to discover the right career for you. You may have a few false starts. But stick with it. The process will lead you to the right choice.