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

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.

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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

9

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picture of the real career landscape out there, you have a massive edge over everyone else, most of whom will be using outdated conventional wisdom as their instruction booklet.

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. 

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:

Changing careers
You and you alone are responsible for creating your own future. 

Time to give serious thought to this life-shaping question: What exactly are you going to do with the rest of your li...

Start with honest self-assessment
  • Analyze your current skill set, training level, and accomplishments to date. 
  • Write down the aspects of the work you liked and what tasks or things you disliked
  • Explore different career options. Investigate new fields, industries and potential careers. 
  • Interview individuals who work at those types of jobs, or in fields of interest to you. 
  • Look at growth opportunities, salaries, benefits, education level and then determine the job title to target.
Change from careers
  • Use your transferable skills. You have acquired abilities from previous positions.
  • Use your strengths. Incorporate your talents into any position you choose to go after.
  • Get new skills. Study the industry you want to enter. Take some courses so you can more quickly enter the field.
  • Many people prevent their own success. They find excuses, or blame others, for their own failures or mistakes instead of learning and improving from them.

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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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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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