Have you ever looked up the word “career” in the dictionary? A career is defined as a job you have specifically chosen to engage in. It also encompasses the path that you take while engaging within your career. I wonder how many of us actually consider what we do work vs. having a career. Considering we spend the majority of our days working, it is interesting how many people actually think of their work as a “job” instead of a “career”.
Consider your current career. Is this your chosen path or did you take the first opportunity that showed up on your radar and offered you a job? When you look at yourself five or ten years down the road, do you still see yourself in the same position, the same company? Times have changed. People used to take a job right out of high school and stayed until retirement. These days, most employees are constantly looking to improve their job title or their salary.
Consider, for a moment, you would actually like to get paid for what you do. Ask yourself what it is you want out of the work you do. Does your job challenge you every day? Does it fit with your own personal vision and personality? Does it fit your lifestyle? If you look at your career and you compare it to your life, is it a fit? If the answers to most of the questions are “no” when was the last time you considered a change from having a “job” to actually having a “career”?
If you are in a career quandary and not sure which way to turn, perhaps it is time for a little bit of research on careers. The biggest question people have is whether or not a career or a future position is the right decision for them. Finding the answer is easy enough if you are seeking some sort of job movement, either promotion or lateral, within the same company. Talk to people who are currently doing the job. Find out the pros and cons of what they like about the position. If the opportunity arises, shadow someone in the field. “A day in the life” is a wonderful way to find out if the career is for you. If the movement is to outside the company, find someone who is in the career that you aspire to have. Most people who love what they do are more than happy to share their experience
The important question to ask yourself whether you have a job or if you are engaged in a career. A career should leave you with a sense of personal fulfillment at the end of the day. That is not to say every day will be a piece of cake, but you will find gratification even on the hard days. Take some time to determine the career you really want. If you are currently stuck in a job and just doing your “work”, take heed and begin planning now for the position you want in the future. Continue to give your current position 110%. Learn all the skills you can while you are in the position because you may continue to use some variation of them in your new career. Sometimes we will need to take a step backwards in order to make a gigantic leap forward. Begin planning now for the career in your future.