Far too many people are stuck on a career path that makes them unhappy. Many times people feel like they have invested too much in their training and experience to quit and start over. If you aren’t satisfied with your career choice, taking the time for professional career counseling can avoid costly mistakes that can affect the rest of your life. Not all personality types are suited to every kind of work. A qualified counselor can help you find out what jobs are suited to your skills and personal characteristics. That can help you be more productive at your current job or help you to find something new. We typically spend a quarter of our lives at work, so make sure it is something you love to do.
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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
What career you choose in the course of your lifetime is ultimately up to you. As children, we may have imagined ourselves as adults and thought about what would want out of our lives. Maybe we dreamt of being an artist, a scientist, a teacher, or a firefighter. As we grow older, however, our interests often change as our career aspirations might also. The nature of being human is change and our capacity to adapt to these changes is founded within our innate evolutionary nature. Thus, human beings are always evolving. Many people hit a point in their lives where they are not sure what exactly they want to do or are not completely satisfied with the path they have already chosen. Identifying what brings you fulfillment and happiness is an important aspect in this journey - as being pleased with the work that you do can lead to a successful career.
A Job Is Different From a Career
If you work at a grocery store as a cashier, that is a job, but is it a career? Maybe! Say that you work as a cashier but build your way up to a management position. You may find yourself in a career in management. However, working a job is different from being on a career path. For example, if you are working at a job of which you are not particularly fond, then you most likely will find it does not lead to a satisfying career. Working at a job that you love, even when the pay is not as good or is at a lower level than you prefer, may give you the foundation you need to devote towards developing a career.
Taking on jobs you particularly do not enjoy is quite common. As a student, you may work somewhere simply because it helps you to finish your education and pay the bills. People may also take on positions that they do not like to support themselves and their families. Optimally, these job choices will be temporary. Working at a job simply for money is not the wrong thing to do because there is no “right” or “wrong” way to help yourself or your family. You do what you must do to survive. Nonetheless, finding your passion is important and can help you build a career based in purpose and satisfaction.
Finding Your Life Purpose In A Career
Many things make us happy in life, but doing something that you love is one of the best ways to maintain a state of wellbeing. Think about what you want to accomplish in your life. Perhaps, you want to be a writer or a journalist. Maybe, you would like to be a pilot. You can accomplish these goals with the right mindset and planning. While you may not attain your “dream job”, you may find that along the path, you discover something you truly enjoy.
For example, you might like to be a veterinarian, but you are not particularly good at science. You can redirect your path and work in an animal shelter to satisfy your passion. You can do something that you love and embrace what makes you happy - it might just play out in a way that is different from what you imagined. If you are having trouble deciding what you want to do, that is understandable and reasonable. You may find that you need to explore different interests to find the career option that fits.
How Do I Find Out What Career Works For Me?
There are several strategies that you can use to discover which career path is right for you. Talking with your friends and family and being open about not knowing what you want to do can provide you with the support you need. In being vulnerable, your loved ones may help you to see your unique attributes that can contribute to discovering your passion. You can use also use journaling to get your thoughts and feelings out.
Another way to figure out what you like is through volunteering. Not only will you be contributing to your community, but you may also find you are actively investing time into your career. Spend time working with seniors, or with children at a Boys and Girls club. Or - since we mentioned animals earlier - you could go to an animal shelter and spend time with the dogs and cats. Volunteering in a specific environment is an excellent way to find out if you like the industry and whether you want to pursue it. In doing so, you will be gaining valuable skills and experience while also networking with others with similar interests.
Counseling For Careers
If you are having trouble deciding what profession to pursue, career counseling can help. Career counselors assist people in the exploration of different career paths by considering not just individual skills and talents, but all aspects of your personhood (including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability).
You can talk to a therapist or counselor and explain that you may feel lost or uninspired. You might not know what you want to do with your life yet and that is understandable. Maybe, you feel stuck in a dead-end job, or you are thinking about changing careers. Whatever the case may be, a counselor can help you figure out what you want to do next. Even if you are unsure that you are even ready to start your career, a qualified counselor can help you find the right path.
Jumpstart Your Career Online
Online career counseling is an excellent option for people that want to explore their career. Perhaps you are busy with your current job, school, or both, and do not have time to see someone in your local area. Online counseling is a convenient and affordable option that is easy to work into your schedule. The mental health professionals at BetterHelp are there to support you, so, when you are ready, reach out.