Career Advice For When You Can’t Just ‘Do What You Love’Posted: 17th of July 2015 by
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” says the old quote. You have probably heard plenty of similar career advice about following your dream career and chasing after your heart’s desires. But while it is lovely advice, it isn’t always that practical, is it? I mean, if you have plenty of money in the bank and time to kill, then you might decide that you would quite like to do an internship in order to get experience (without pay) at your dream company. However, life isn’t like that for most people.
Most people will look for work because they need to earn some money, and if it is doing something they don’t mind, then all to the good. Otherwise, they’ll just put up with it, find something they like about the job (like having some friends there), and live for the weekend. For many people, work is a means to an end, which is making some money.
Of course, you don’t want to end up doing that, just making money in a dull job. Like any right-minded person, you’d rather have a career that you love, but how can you reconcile the dream of the career advice with the reality of just having to find a job?
Going out and doing ‘something you love’ is much easier said than done, but you don’t have to settle and let go of your dreams. Rather than pushing your dreams aside, see how you can work them into your current job. For example, I once jumped at the chance to shift from my old boring admin job when the company I used to work for asked if anyone could help rewrite their web-content. It allowed me to move into doing something I love, rather than something that merely paid the bills.
You might say that this was a lucky break, and was just a chance opportunity from being in the right place at the right time. However, that is not strictly true, you can create your own luck by meeting the right people and looking out for opportunities. It is a bit like a footballer who has a reputation for just hanging around in the area and poaching goals. You may think they are reaping the rewards without much effort, but closer inspection shows that they are constantly aware of how the game is flowing around them, ready to find the space and position themselves there at the right time. You can do the same with your job, even if it is not your ideal career.
Even when ‘doing something you love’ is impractical, don’t let go of your dreams. Instead, find small ways to move towards them, even if only in small steps at first. Your working life is likely to take you to different places and employers, allowing you to gain relevant skills as you go. The more you learn and show an aptitude and love for what you want to do, the more qualified you will surely become in that area.
Don’t be afraid to take a course if you feel you need to really boost your skills or qualifications, or if you are looking at a total change of direction.
You can’t always predict where your career path will take you, and there are many different routes to get to a destination. Just keep yourself alert and look for the opportunities – that way you may just engineer a ‘lucky break’ of your own to set you off on your dream career!
Remember, most ‘overnight success’ stories are years in the making!
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