When I was in university, I did not have a job in mind that I wanted to pursue after graduating. All I knew if that I wanted to be a doctor. I majored in biology and didn’t have a clue of what I wanted to do after my I complete my bachelor’s degree. For someone like me, a day in the life of a doctor would’ve been godsent. In my third year, I took a writing course and that opened many doors for me. For once in my life, I felt passionate about doing what I did. Whether it was writing journal entries, short stories or just listening to a professor discuss a short poem, I felt that something within me aligned perfectly well with this type of work.
It’s been five years since I graduated from university with a degree in communications. In hindsight, I wish I had more guidance from someone experienced, regardless of which career path they belonged to. It’s always wiser to learn from someone else’s mistake which is why I would like to point out what my learnings are and how you can go about setting career goals for yourself with these points in mind.
1. Explore several career paths.
One way to do this is by networking with veterans in the field you’re interested in and request them to allow you to spend a day with them on the field. Oftentimes you will find that the work you’re getting to know is not for you. One of the things that helped me decide that I don’t want to be a journalist is being on field with a local reporter as he chased a story. Notwithstanding my love for the writing aspect of journalism, I personally didn’t enjoy being out and about every single day and working with extremely tight deadlines. This realization helped me decide against seeking a career in journalism. For someone else, these aspects of the job may be the reason why she or he would want to get into journalism. You won’t know unless you dip your toe in the water.
2. Write down the things you’re passionate about.
Some people know what they want to do early on, others explore many different jobs before they decide to turn one of them into a career. While previously people stuck to one job their entire lives, recent polls suggest that folks today are exploring several career paths in their lifetime. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t decide what you want to do. Take a pen and paper and list all the things you’re passionate about. Next, make a list of skills you have. These two lists can help you narrow down what jobs maybe viable options for you.
3. Don’t be afraid to change your career path.
I was twenty years old in second year university and petrified of giving up on my dream to be a physician. The courses I was taking in my bio major didn’t excite me. I used to push myself to finish my assignments. I felt like I was living someone else’s life. I believed that I’d be a failure if I quit pursuing my childhood dream of being a doctor. I finally felt at harmony with myself when I put my fears aside and told myself that it was alright to change my mind. I switched my major to communications and haven’t looked back since.
4. Passion doesn’t always translate into success.
This maybe a bitter pill to swallow but the truth is that just because you’re passionate about a certain type of work doesn’t mean you’ll achieve overnight success in the first job you take up. Case in point, I worked minimum wage as a ghost writer for a few years until I was able to secure a full-time job with a decent pay. The fact that I enjoyed my work partly compensated for the standard of living that I was stuck in. This period in my career taught me many ways of making some extra cash and I was able to hone my writing skills at the same time.
5. You must carve your own path.
There is more to life than just work and all the other areas of your life will influence what kind of work you can do and what kind of work you’ll never want to do. Sometimes you will find yourself with a dozen offers, other times you will have to carve your own path. If you take ownership of your career and know that at the end of the day you’re in control, any success you achieve will be self-made. Know yourself and your strength and opportunities so you can be your own guidance counselor.