Take Charge of Your Career Part 2

So what’s been holding you back? Why aren’t you in a career that brings you fulfillment?
No Experience
While not necessarily the easiest, this “problem” is certainly the most straightforward. And establishing a course of action to get there is just as straightforward. Research your dream job and find out what requirements you would need to get it. Then work on fulfilling those requirements.
If education is the hang-up, the good news is that the wide variety of educational and financial aid programs make it possible for just about anyone to get a degree. It may take a while, depending on your available time schedule and support system, but it’s possible. Think about what kind of program would work out best for you and do some research. We’ll discuss the time management and support system in a later post.
To get experience, try looking for internships or volunteer opportunities in the field that interests you. They likely won’t be paid, but they’ll give you a foot in the door and valuable life experience. Read all you can about the field and talk with others who’ve started and succeeded in that field. The internet can be a valuable resource when it comes to finding opportunities and individuals in a specific field. Join forums, participate in discussions and absorb as much information as you can. You never know who you’ll connect with, or what opportunities they may present.
Make a Career
If you have something you’re passionate about, there’s likely a way to turn it into a career. But the choices may not be very obvious. To get some ideas, do some internet searches with the topic you’re interested in and the word “jobs” or “career.” Or check out Careerbuilder.com and search for your interests as keywords. See what you come up with. Even if the jobs that come up don’t interest you, they may get your mind working in the right direction.
Other options are to write about your interest in a blog or for a magazine or look for or start a club or organization that focuses on your area of interest. Even if one of these options doesn’t turn into a career itself, it will give you the opportunity to network with others in the field, brainstorm with others who have similar interests and get you experience in the area you want to work in. You can also check out forums on related websites to get your mind working.
What Do I Do?
If your mind is thinking “aaahhh!!!!,” then you’re not alone. I had a lot of those moments. I did personality tests online, I browsed job postings, I read books — anything to try and come up with “the perfect job.” It wasn’t easy. And even now that I’ve decided which direction I’m heading in, there’s no guarantee I’ll love it forever. But I can always change, and I think that’s important to remember. I read somewhere that the average person has 3 or 4 careers in his or her lifetime. Not jobs, careers. So you’re not locked into one thing for the rest of your life. If something sounds interesting, give it a shot. If you like it, put more time and money and effort into it. If it’s not your thing, search elsewhere.
Now I’m not condoning job hopping. That won’t really help you. But if you find something that sounds good, read a little about it, search job postings, and talk to others in the field. If it still sounds like something you’d be interested in, pursue it. If not, look elsewhere. As with the above courses of action, you may want to try getting some education or experience in the field before jumping in to a job. Doing that will definitely help pad your resume and make you stand out. Even better, it’ll give you an idea if you really want to do it for a living or if it’s better as a hobby.
To get started, think about things that interest you. What kinds of hobbies could you see yourself doing full-time? Is there something you love reading about, learning more about, seeing in action? What did you want to be when you grew up? Reconnecting with that part of yourself can give you a glimpse into your subconscious.
It may take a while. For me, the process took months. It got very frustrating, especially when I was applying for jobs and getting interviews and still not getting anywhere. I can look back at that time and realize it was all for the best, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. Just think how rewarding it will be when you do find something, though! Having a game plan can make you feel like you have at least some say in what’s going on. And that can be very empowering.
Whoo! It’s lots to think about. We spend a large portion of our lives participating in our chosen job or career, so it’s important to really think about what you want to do. If you’re happy with your profession, great! If not, know that you’re not alone and that your life isn’t over. There’s still time to turn things around and have a career that brings you personal satisfaction and fulfillment.
Next we talk about money…Are you ready?

 

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