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How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) - Wait But Why

The career pitfall

The career pitfall
Careers used to be kind of like a 40-year tunnel. You picked your tunnel, and once you were in, that was that. You worked in that profession for 40 years or so before the tunnel spit you out on the other side into your retirement.

Today’s career landscape isn’t a lineup of tunnels, it’s a massive, impossibly complex, rapidly changing science laboratory. 

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How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) - Wait But Why

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) - Wait But Why

https://waitbutwhy.com/2018/04/picking-career.html

waitbutwhy.com

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Key Ideas

The Real Career Landscape

If you can figure out how to get a reasonably accurate picture of the real career landscape out there, you have a massive edge over everyone else, most of whom will be using outdated conventional wisdom as their instruction booklet.

Why Career-path-carving is important.

Time. A typical career will take up somewhere between 20% and 60% of your meaningful adult time.

Quality of Life. Your career has a major effect on all your non-career hours.

Impact. Whatever shape your career path ends up taking, the world will be altered by it.

Identity. We tell people about our careers by telling them what we are.

The simple career framework

  1. List careers you want/find desirable.
  2. List all careers that are realistic to potentially achieve.
  3. Find the overlapping areas between what is desirable, and what is possible.

5 Conflicting Yearnings that influence the Careers you want.

  1. Personal. The human need for fulfilment.
  2. Social. Diverse social desires that want to be relevant, important, widely known, accepted, well-liked and agreeable.
  3. Lifestyle. The desire to have a stress-free life.
  4. Moral. The desire to do something philanthropic, or to display altruistic behaviour.
  5. Practical. The desire to look after your practical needs, like food, clothing, housing.

Uncovering your real career related wants.

  • Play the Why Game: Why is this something I want? 
  • Look at your Denial Prison: Uncovering your authentic wants that are repressed.
  • Priority Rankings: Almost as important as the wants themselves is the priority they’re given.

The Career Landscape

Broad landscape.

The landscape today is made up of thousands of options and the way things work today, if there’s an option you want that’s not already out there, you can probably create it for yourself.

Specific Career Path.

A career path is like a game board. The conventional wisdom bookshelf contains instruction booklets for only a small fraction of today’s available game boards—and those that it does have usually tell you how that game was played in the past, even though the current game board has evolved significantly into something with new kinds of opportunities and different rules and loopholes.

Understanding Your Potential

When assessing your chances on a certain career path, the key question is:

With enough time, could you get good enough at this game to potentially reach whatever your definition of success is in that career?

Plot your Career Path

After considering

  • The general landscape 
  • Specific careers
  • Where your Starting point is (based on your current skills, resources, and connections relevant to that field)
  • Your Success point/End point
  • Your estimate of your pace of improvement
  • Your level of persistence 

you are able to plot your career path forward.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Leverage Your Competitive Advantage

Career plans should leverage your assets, set you in direction of your aspirations, and account for the market realities.

  • Articulate educated hypotheses about each...
Prioritize Learning

A person with a foundation of knowledge and skills will make more money and most likely live a more meaningful life.
There’s a similar belief in start-ups: technology companies focus on learning over profitability in the early years to maximize revenue in the later years.

Prioritize plans that offer the best chance at learning about yourself and the world. Ask yourself, “Which plan offers the most learning potential?”

Learn by Doing

Any entrepreneur (and any expert on cognition / learning) will tell you that practical knowledge is best developed by doing, not just thinking or planning.

For careers, too, you don’t know what the best plan is until you try. 

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Not reaching your goals

Take the goal you didn’t achieve and try a different approach. Doing the same thing over and over to achieve your goal is the definition of insanity.

Your heroes miss their goals too. ...

Being criticized

You can’t please everybody that you meet in life.

Critics are not all bad. You can learn things about yourself from them too. The solution is to learn from criticism, not be afraid of it.

Messing up your career

See career challenges for what they are: an opportunity to try something different

If your career never got messed up, then you’d probably stay in your comfort-zone for your entire life and never try something different.

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To switch careers effectively
... and achieve a positive outcome, you need 4 things: clarity, courage, confidence, and competence.

Without these, you’ll most likely struggle hard and fail.  

“The Pendulum Effect”

Don't run from your career because you've broken down in it. Running away will not solve your problems – they’ll just be repeated in the next career.

Make your situation better by repairing broken relationships, finding your voice, growing out skills, and becoming more competent. Then, when you do leave, you’ll be able to achieve the next level of success.

Develop a financial plan

... that will support your transition.

Do solid research and explore your desired change with your accountant and financial consultant and experts in that career, to understand clearly, without emotion, the financial requirements necessary to support you through what can be years of transition. If there’s no money available, wait until you can access some.

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