In light of many graduating in the Spring, we revisit a popular blog by guest author Ben Carpenter!
Some of life’s greatest pleasures come from the ability of choice. Whether we are thinking about where to live, who to love, or what to buy, we all like the ability to choose. The same can be said about choosing your career path. While there is no magic formula or treasure map to follow that will ultimately lead you to your ideal job and career, there are a few things you can do to help make the decision easier.
Many of you may learn the way I did through trial and error. While this is not a bad way to go about your career, it is likely that your first job will not be your last. The most important thing you can do is get started! You won’t be able to choose a career path if you never take the plunge.
Looking back over the course of my career on Wall Street, here are a few tips that might help you when trying to choose your career path. Although it may seem daunting at times, don’t give up, and dive head first into the pool of the working world.
Tip Number 1: Focus on What You Do Well
Since the real world is competitive you should focus less on what you want to do and more on what you are able to do. While this may seem unappealing, you must think of it in terms of being good at your job will lead to job satisfaction. Over the course of my career, I have talked to many professionals, family, and friends that can honestly say they have achieved happiness in the working world doing something they are good at.
Although I started my Wall Street career in sales, I always though I’d be a good trader. As I quickly found out though, trading was not something that played to my strengths. While we all may want to do something that we envision we are good at, we must think rationally and not let our egos get the best of us. After my failure as a trader, it was my ego that made it hard for me to realize my true calling in sales. It took nearly dying from an aortic dissection to knock some sense into me, and return to something I was good at.
Tip Number 2: Should You Follow Your Passion
Some of the most typical career advice you hear is to follow your passion. While this works for some, a lot of the time it isn’t best. The best example I know is someone who loves golf. Naturally, they may think about becoming a golf professional. What they don’t realize though is that much of the time they believe will be spent actually playing the sport will actually be spent selling merchandise.
Now a different story can be spun for people who must pursue a particular career path in order to feel energized. If this is you, then I encourage you to go for it, but if not, your passion may best be left as something to do in your free time. While you may not be passionate about the particular thing you are working with, make sure you are passionate about your career. While finance itself wasn’t that appealing to me, my career in finance was.
That being said, I hope these tips help you to pick a career path that’s right for you. Best of luck and get started!