The following is an excerpt from the first draft of my next book. It will be a compilation of tips and actionable ideas for self-improvement. I have not decided on the title yet.
A career is more than just your job. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as your “course or progress through life.” It is the sum of all your learning, work, and achievements.
The career you choose is one of the most important decisions of your life. Before you can choose the perfect career, you have to find meaning in your life. But paradoxically, you often will not find your life’s calling until you have walked down a few different paths.
The only way to find meaning and a satisfying career is by taking action. I can’t tell you what the meaning of your life is because it is highly personal. But I can tell you that it’s not idleness.
How do you know when you’ve found the right career for you? It’s when you can’t wait to get back to work. It’s when you wake up in the morning energized because you’re excited to see what’s in store for you that day. If you haven’t reached that point yet, move on. You need to build up to your dream career. Take one step at a time. As long as you’re stepping in the right direction, you’re making progress. Every step in your career path will come with its challenges. No step will be easy. Just keep moving.
Continue until you’ve found the career that matches your calling. Then keep moving.
When choosing a job, there are many factors you should consider. I suggest listing each job you are considering and write down each of the factors. There are three types of factors you should consider: objective, subjective, and interpersonal. Objective factors include salary, benefits, location, and career advancement opportunities. Subjective factors include the social status of the job, the reputation of the organization, and your enthusiasm for the job. Interpersonal factors include professionalism of the people in the organization and how well you get along with your leaders and coworkers.
If you are unsure of the career path you should pursue, try taking some career assessment tests. Some tests you can take include the Strong Interest Inventory, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Careerscope, and Traitify.
Generations ago, careers were simpler. You went to the best schools you could. Then using your school transcripts, you went to work for the most respected company you could get hired into. Once you got into a company, you would do everything your bosses told you to do. That would ensure you kept moving up in your organization until you retired at age 65. That was the definition of “career” back then.
Now things are more complicated. The Internet flattened the playing field. There is no longer one clear path that you should take. Fewer people know their destination. As a result, many people wander between different jobs and different careers, not knowing what their ultimate goal is. Instead of competing with ten neighbors for five local jobs, now you’re competing with a billion other people for half a billion jobs.
The National Institute for Career Education and Counselling has identified Seven C’s of Digital Career Literacy (http://saens.hi.is/sites/saens.hi.is/files/hooley-nicec-journal-oct2012.pdf). They are Changing, Collecting, Critiquing, Connecting, Communicating, Creating, and Curating. In essence, to be successful in a modern career, you need to:
- Change to adapt to new technologies in your job.
- Collect and manage information and resources.
- Critique and understand career information and resources.
- Connect with people to build relationships and networks.
- Communicate across a range of different platforms.
- Create content.
- Curate to develop your digital footprint and online networks.