It’s the American way: You graduate from high school, go to college, get a job and work until you die. Pretty standard, right? Well, it sounds a little depressing when you put it in those terms. The reality is that you are going to be working for a good portion of your life. So it’s very important to find something that you’re passionate about doing. Great! Now…how do you go about doing that?
Find Out What You Love Doing
List your hobbies on a piece of paper. What have you got? Is anything on that list that could be money-making? Weed out what could be a potential career and what can stay a hobby. For example, you might have “Xbox games” as something you like doing, but that’s not a realistic career path. But what about “working with other people?” That’s a great start!
It won’t happen overnight, but start considering the things that you enjoy doing and think of ways you can turn them into a career. Everyone’s passions are different, though, so don’t rely on what your friends are doing or what your parents think you should do. This is all on you to figure out, nobody else!
Consider What Training Is Required
Being a dentist would be an amazing career path, but if you graduated from high school yesterday you can’t very well walk into a clinic and ask for an application. Before you can even begin dental school, you need a BA and a master’s first…not to mention that you need to obtain your doctorate and have things like dermal filler training. Understand how to identify things like cavities and abscesses and a host of other taught skills. Training, skills and education are what prepare you for the job, so you need to be in charge of figuring out what is required of you to pursue your dream career.
Not all jobs are as prestigious and rigorous as becoming a doctor; some (but most) don’t require a bachelor’s degree at all. There are certain careers that accept an associate’s degree or even a certificate of completion. Make it your responsibility to figure out what you need to do to get there.
Volunteer And Gain Experience
To be sure that you really love the work before deciding to do it for the rest of your life, volunteer in the field to get experience. Do you want to work as a custom car mechanic? Stop by a local garage and ask the maintenance manager if you can give him or her some free labor every week. By immersing yourself completely in the job, you will get a feel for what the daily tasks are like and decide for yourself whether or not this is the career for you.
Another idea is to apply for internships in your field. These usually pay about the same amount of money as volunteering does, but the difference is that you are given more responsibility. Yes, you make no money but you are working hands-on directly in the career path you want to be in. This will give you an even better and more realistic idea of what will be expected of you should you decide to go this route.
Find A Mentor
It sounds kind of cheesy, but the truth is that there is strength in numbers. If you have someone who is more experienced in the field and can guide you and offer you advice, ask that person if they can be a mentor to you. If they agree, some ways that you can take advantage of having your own personal Yoda figure can include:
- Job shadowing them at work
- Taking constructive criticism and making whatever changes you need to better yourself
- Set goals — ask your mentor whether these are realistic and what you can do to achieve them
Make the most of your relationship with your mentor by having regular meetings with them to discuss your progress. Setbacks, successes, and failures. They are there to be a support system for you as you trek through your new career. So take advantage of the relationship while you have the capacity to do so.
The saying goes that if you do something you love for a living, you will never work a day in your life. Since everyone’s dream is so subjective, do some serious research and soul-searching to find out what yours is. It might take some time to figure it out, but once you do then you know how to go about pursuing it professionally.