I’ve been thinking about the ‘c’ word a lot lately…yep, “career”. Both my own and those of several people close to me. It’s a loaded word – something that means very different things to different people. And you know what? So it should.
Right now, I am incredibly excited about what the future holds. I spent 3 years studying at University straight out of school, was accepted into a graduate program and transitioned into my full time role 2 years ago – now, I look forward to the opportunities ahead of me and growing and developing in my field. However, in today’s world, people are realising that the “traditional” view of career (i.e. one job, one industry, sometimes even one company for the rest of your life) no longer exists. It’s no longer about working for work’s sake. It’s about finding something you love and being able to do it everyday – and for some people, finding the right avenue takes a little bit longer…
After a lot of time spent thinking about the topic and discussing others’, as well as being inspired by this article and this ad, here are my 3 thoughts on the way you should view and approach your career:
1. IF YOU DON’T ENJOY IT, DON’T DO IT
The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. That’s far too much time to spend doing something you don’t like doing. So as soon as the “this doesn’t feel quite right” feeling creeps in, reevaluate where you are and what options you have. Your time is one of the most valuable things you can offer in life; so don’t waste it on pursuing something you don’t enjoy.
My friend Ali changed her uni degree twice before she settled on a Bachelor of Arts. This included finishing one whole year of Radiography and a semester of Physio. After graduating she thought sales and travel could be her thing – but after 2 months realised her heart wasn’t in it. A hugely talented writer, she has now been accepted to study a Postgraduate Certificate in Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism at London College of Fashion (and I swear she’ll be the next editor in chief at Condé Nast Traveller).
2. TRUST YOURSELF
Self-doubt is one of the biggest killers of success. Being overly cautious, constantly evaluating risk and judging yourself can turn us into our own worst enemy. Believe in your ability and trust that you will be able to make the right decisions for your career when it’s most important. When something feels right, go for it.
Last year my friend Alex made the ultimate change to how she approached her career…and her life. She went from working as an engineer in the desert for a huge mining company to embracing a grounded, holistic and natural plant-based lifestyle in Byron Bay. She now offers workshops to help people reconnect with themselves and lead a more fulfilling life. She has never been happier. And it’s all because she believed and trusted that, ultimately, this was the pathway for her.
3. KEEP YOURSELF OPEN TO OPPORTUNITY
In my opinion, this is probably the most important thing to remember when it comes to navigating your career. Always be open to opportunity. Generally, we humans are programmed to resist change. We prefer familiarity and security and remain reserved when it comes to new avenues or “uncertain” changes of direction. However, sometimes taking a risk pays off. New opportunities and new experiences will lead to growth and development, both professionally and personally, regardless of whether they are related to your field of expertise. So if an amazing opportunity arises that excites you, don’t shy away due to fear or self-doubt.
My good friend and former colleague, Alejandro, spent 8 years in the field of digital marketing…until one day he was presented with an opportunity that would allow him to pursue something he was passionate about (and that he had already been considering for a number of years). Of course he battled with the decision – Can I really do it?, What if I fail? – but ultimately realised, what was the worst that could happen? Today he flies all over the country – stepping out from behind a desk to onboard planes full of people. He loves the new challenge and lifestyle, something that would not have transpired had he not taken a risk and seized the opportunity when it arose.
In essence? If it feels right (or wrong) then take action. Don’t be afraid to “start over” because in life we never stop growing, changing and evolving. Love what you do and seize every opportunity that comes your way. Build your career without instructions…write them yourself instead.