The world is huge, and there are a ton of opportunities available! However, identifying which opportunities to pursue are equal parts thrilling and intimidating AF.
People say, “do what you’re good at.” But, what happens when you don’t know what you’re good at, or the things you excel at don’t lead to profitable careers? There are two trains of thought when it comes to pursuing a job: 1. Follow your passion and have a career that enables you to do something you really care about. 2. Have a vocation that allows you to follow your passion in your time outside of work, and that will enable you the means to contribute to charities in a significant way. Neither are wrong. The key is you need to know yourself.
If you will be happy making $20,000 a year if you feel you are making a difference, then the sky is the limit with “feel good” careers. However, the sobering reality of life at minimum wage frequently leads to frustration and resentment as you are cutting coupons to buy groceries. It’s important to consider all aspects of your life that bring you joy and then pursue a career that fulfills as many of these as possible. For myself, I want to be in a field where I can work with people, have enough PTO to be able to travel, have flexible hours, work in healthcare and contribute to the betterment of the system. While my passion is helping homeless animals, I need to weigh this passion against the other elements of my life that also bring me happiness, such as going out to eat.
I find it helpful to make a list of things that are important to your happiness, these are your non-negotiables. Next, list out those things that you enjoy but you can live without, these are the things that are merely nice to have. When looking for jobs keep these essential things in mind. Additionally, list out your strengths and things you do well. If you are an extrovert and need to be around people, don’t look for jobs where you’ll find yourself alone injecting specimens into a petri dish. You will be miserable regardless of how nice of a car you find yourself crying in after work. Compile a list of your strengths and don’t be modest. Look at the combined list of your non-negotiables, nice to have things and strengths; this will start you on your path of knowing what you are good at.
Read the articles and take the quizzes on Path You Choose. You might be surprised what jobs are suggested for you. Don’t be afraid to look for people through LinkedIn that are working in these areas and asking them if they would mind speaking to you for fifteen minutes about what they do. Most people are flattered if they are asked for advice and will want to help. Do your research before meeting with someone and come prepared with questions.