You will spend most of your adult life working. The reason why we can see countless sad faces in the streets of each big city is that most people follow dreams and expectations of their parents, or peers. They do jobs that they do not really enjoy, jobs they do not really want to have. Such a job can never make them happy in their life, and you should try your best to avoid following the same journey, falling for the same trap.

Life is more than work, but work is a significant part of our life on this planet. Choosing a right profession is one of the most important decisions we have to make in our life. In this article we will analyze five things you should consider when deciding about your professional career. Considering them should help you to find your true calling, an occupation that will make you happy in your daily life. Let’s start!


1. Work should be fun

What activities make you fell good and happy? What things do you enjoy doing? Make a list of these activities right now, and think if you can get paid for doing any of them.

It can be sport, it can be movement in general, it can be working with computer, it can be talking to people. Our day (or even our entire life) consists in activities, and one activity follows another one. From the moment we are born, until the moment we die.

Cooking, eating, shopping, reading, playing, talking, helping people, walking in nature–millions of people in the world get paid for doing one of these activities. Just think jobs like travel guide, cook, librarian, coach, psychologist, mystery shopper, professional athlete and so on, and so forth.

A man is standing on a crossroad, trying to decide about his career. We can see two ways and a signpost with many directions.

2. Try to find the purpose in what you do

Most people go to work just because everyone else does the same thing in the morning (or in the evening, if they do night shifts). You should never find yourself in the same position, and if you do, you should change it immediately.

We should understand the value we create with our work, and how our work (and the products we create with it) helps other people, or other living creatures that populate the Earth.

If you can not find the purpose in your job (or in the job you plan to have), it is not a right choice for you.  To have fun in work is great, but most jobs are repetitive. After a few years, the work won’t be as exciting as it was in the beginning. You can get promoted, but it won’t necessarily help you to find the purpose in work.

Unless you see the meaningful purpose in doing your job, it will become boring, sooner or later. In fact every job has some purpose (otherwise it would not exist). But not every purpose is meaningful, moral, or right…


Everyone of us is different

What is meaningful for one person can be insignificant for another one. Whether you see the purpose (in any activity, not only in work) depends greatly on your mindset and your outlook of life, on your values and beliefs.

A man sweeping streets of a big city can feel good about their job, since they believe to help other citizens to feel good while walking through a clean city. Oppositely, a man managing a big brokerage company can feel completely empty, and hate their job, because deep inside they know that they are not creating any value in the business–they are just helping someone to earn more money, while someone else is losing money. It is a zero-sum game.

Really, it depends on your point of view, and you must answer whether you see the purpose in a career you want to pursue. There are two great moments in a life of a man – A moment when they are born, and a moment when they understand why… Have you already arrived to the second great moment of your life? 

Happy people shake hands in the business office. Someone just got a good job.

3. You should be good at what you do for a living

We enjoy doing things we are good at. It is related to our confidence, to our view of ourselves. Having a job you are good at (or excel in) will help you to enjoy yourself, your days in work, and your life in general.

Oppositely, if you suck in your job, if your superiors and colleagues complain about you every day, you will struggle to find happiness in your life. Obviously we are not static, and we can improve in what we do. But the improvement is always limited by our genetics, the way our parents raised us, and other things we can not influence.

If you lack emotional intelligence and understanding for the needs and desires of other people, you can certainly improve, and learn to become a better listener and advisor. Perhaps you can become a good psychologist in your career. But you will never become a great one, simply because your starting position does not allow that (you can become great in many other jobs though)…


4. Be realistic with your choices

I would like to be a prime minister (well, I would not, but take it as an example). I would enjoy the function and honestly, I believe I would be a very good prime minister. But realistically, it is out of my league, at least at the moment.

We all have dreams and we should never forget them. Dreams keep us going, they help us to overcome the crisis of motivation, they are often our main driving force (or at least the main positive driving force, because we can be driven to work hard also by problems and lack of money, but that isn’t really a positive motivation–it is often a destructive one).

Always, however, we need to walk up a ladder one step at a time, and we should not aim extremely high with our first job (or with our second one). Consider your chances realistically when deciding about your professional career.

Rome was not built in one day, and neither your career can be. Remember that the leaders and CEOs of the most successful companies also had their first job one day. Some worked as mailmen, others as salesmen, and others basically started as marketing or management trainees.

Shortcuts do not exist on this fascinating journey. Prepare your career plan, and always remember that the first job you’ll have is not your end goal, your final destination. But you can not achieve your final goal (dream position) unless you have that first job, unless you learn, become better in what you do, and progress one step at a time.


5. Money is “not” important

It is great to do something you like to do. It is even better to do something you excel in. And if you see a meaningful purpose in your daily activities, it is perfect, and you have found an answer to what job is right for me question.

Nevertheless, money always plays the role.  Make a list of your monthly living costs, including some enjoyment (sport, theater, relax, spa, you name it). Look at the number and think whether the career of your choice can provide for it. Think also about your family (the one you plan to have, perhaps), and try to consider the desirable income from a broader perspective.

If your future career can not provide for your daily “necessities”, you have two options:

  • You can lower your living standard. Sometimes it is worth to do the job that we really like and are good at, though it doesn’t pay extremely well. After all, work (together with sleep), is the activity we devote most of our time to. Maybe you can go just for one vacation per year, perhaps in your neighborhood. Toyota is also a good car, you do not necessarily need Porsche. A small house can be full of love, equally to a big house… Think about it for a moment.
  • If you are not willing to lower your living standard, you have to look for another occupation, one that will cover your expenses and allow you to purchase things you want to own. Remember, though, that material things can never make us truly happy in our lives, at least not in a long term. Even if you go for another occupation (one that pays more money) you should look for a job you will enjoy doing, and see a meaningful purpose in it.

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Special case – no job is right for you

Some people can never find a good job, one they enjoy doing. The reason is simple: they were born (or raised) to be entrepreneurs, investors, or gamblers. That is the way it is, that is the way their mindset works, their beliefs and values. Maybe it is also your case?

  • Do you struggle to follow the orders of other people?
  • Do you love to come up with new ideas and transform them to something tangible, do you love to control things and make decisions?
  • Do you enjoy being your own boss, and leading other people?

If you answered at least two of my questions positively, you will struggle to find a good job. Think about starting your own business instead, or an investment career. (I certainly do not suggest you to start gambling–you should avoid this option at all costs, even if you enjoy playing poker or any other game. You should avoid it because you can’t find a meaningful purpose in gambling.)

Entrepreneurship is a fascinating and risky journey. You either win, or you learn. And you’ll eventually become better in what you do.

Remember, though, that the principles described in this article apply to your career of a businessman as well. You should still find meaningful purpose in what you do for living, you should enjoy your days, and you should be good at what you do…

an entrepreneur at his desk. We can see the keys on the table, and some papers.


Final thoughts

Choosing the right career is one of the most important decisions you have to make in your life. We spend most of our time working, so it is crucial that we enjoy our work, and see meaningful purpose in what we do.

Luckily there are many choices. Even if you make a mistake, and decide for a wrong job, you can always change your career, and start afresh.

Life is an amazing journey, and the architect of the Universe didn’t build the stairway leading to nowhere… Make wise choices, enjoy your job and life, bring some value to the world, and be grateful for the vast opportunities we have in 21st century. Not everyone in the history was as lucky as we are today.


May also interest you:

  • New career ideas for everyone – Some careers are easy to start at any point of your life. Broaden your mind and consider options you haven’t considered yet.
  • 15 most common interview questions and answers – If you have already chosen your career, you should prepare to succeed in an interview and get a job. Our article about most common interview questions and answers is a great start.
  • Career networking tips – Learn how to use the power of your connections to get a new career. Personal recommendations and referrals count for nearly half of new hires in the United States. You should not ignore this fact, especially if you are planning a career transition.
Matthew Chulaw
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