You bolt upright in the middle of the night, your forehead’s clammy with cold sweat. You haven’t been eating, drinking or hanging out with friends, and you’ve been constantly distracted. No, you’re not in love, you’re just trying to decide what you want to do for the next 40 years of your life and it’s not easy.
It’s really not as bad as it seems, though. Just like any decision making process you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons, see what fits you and what you could do for eight to ten hours every day without losing what little humanity you have. No…no, you cannot eat Cheetos and play video games for a living, I’d be the first one to sign up if you could. Seriously though these are some things you should consider while choosing your career path.
Nothing is Absolute
Look at yourself, your hair is falling out in clumps, you have developed a nervous stutter and what is that thing you’re doing with your eye? Relax, nothing is absolute and to prove it to you let’s take a look at some of the most successful people in the world. Warren Buffet started trading stock when he was…wait how old? Oh, for Pete’s sakes, seriously? At 11?!!! What 11 year old would prefer to buy stock than use that money for video games? OK, let’s ignore that freak of nature…and Bill Gates started programming and sold his first program when he was in eighth grade? Ok, I give up…or maybe let’s try something else.
Find your Passion
What do you really love doing? Yes, we’ve covered the Cheetos and video games thing, but what skills, talents or hobbies do you have that can be translated into cold hard cash? Look at the people that in error I mentioned above. They found their passion very early in life and not only pursued that passion but became filthy rich because of it. However, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are far from the only examples of this behavior. Let’s take a look at another example.
You’ve probably heard of him even though he’s been dead for a long time now. This artist started drawing at a young age and was paid (by I’m assuming a creepy neighbor) to draw said creepy neighbor’s horses. All he really did was draw a cartoon mouse and put it on literally everything he could think of. His name was Disney, and he is a great example of how nothing is concrete until the end. He started his career as an ad man, even creating an ad company (or a proto graphic design company that created advertising materials) before he decided to be an animator. He has molded and manipulated generations and generation of malleable young minds to think that love is all anyone needs and that’s a disgusting, unrealistic lie. But I bitterly digress.
I know I’m putting words in your mouth, but you’re reading this article and I’m obligated (I get fired if I don’t) to inform you. Do your research, try to find as much material pertaining to the profession or career path you want to follow and you might find something that unequivocally convinces you to pursue said career. Or you might discover something that puts you completely off it (that’s the point of the research!).
For example: after watching hours upon hours of legal dramas, you have decided a life on the right side of the law is for you. Lawyers make good money and depending on the specialty can actually help people. It’s also a very competitive field that has high burnout rates, demands long hours and exposure to some of the most brutal types of human behavior. Also, it involves ridiculous amounts of stress because losing a case means your firm loses money and guess who would get in trouble for that? Yes, you. Oh, that also means that you can get canned even if you did your job impeccably, but the jury was just having an off day.
Mental Stock Taking
Just like you would do before you took a long, arduous road trip, you need to make sure you have all the things necessary to achieve your goal. Oh, and a Gatorade bottle to pee in if necessary. You have to think of what you want to do and how are you going to achieve that goal.
It would be close to impossible to become say…a concert pianist without any training, or an astronaut without at least an engineering degree. See where your propensities and talents lie and see how much work you are willing to invest. Sure you could learn to do nearly anything, but it will take a much more significant investment of time and energy to accomplish if you don’t have a natural inclination for it.
On the coat-tails of the entry above, I would like to tell you that it has been postulated that it takes 10.000 hours to achieve mastery of a skill or a discipline. That means a full 3.5 years of eight hour days doing what you want to master. Mastery doesn’t take account of holidays either; we are talking about 1250 days of continuous practice or training.
Can you do that? Do you enjoy the field you choose to pursue enough to dedicate that level of effort or time too? If you answered yes, great! I wish you a fun journey. If you rolled your eyes, sighed and continued playing World of Warcraft, then you might want to rethink your career choices.
Take the Plunge
If your still not 100% listen to the shoe and just do it. People love free stuff, including unpaid interns. You will be getting paid in experience and exposed to your prospective career, establishing relationships that could be highly beneficial to you in the future and networking like Verizon (for my non-American readers Verizon is a state-side telecommunications company. OOOOoooh).
Sure it’s going to be a little hard money wise, but there are tons of ways to live on the frugal side of things for a few short months. Instead of taxis, buses and subways use a bicycle. Try to save money by visiting coupon sites like Frugaa.com. You can even turn your socks and underwear inside out to save money on laundry detergent. Actually don’t do that last thing…it was a joke and really gross.
The Life Coefficient
In our modern era life and career are inseparable. We spend the majority of our waking hours at work; we spend more time with our co-workers than with our family….wait, that’s really depressing…wow, excuse me for a second. OK, I’m back. I’m not saying you have an absolute concrete plan for your future, but your choice of career is going to inevitably influence your home life. At the moment this might not seem like a problem since your home life is basically a used couch with strange stains on it, an excessively large T.V. with only a game console connected to it and a goldfish named Ed 2 Brutus (which is not as clever as you thought it was).
However, if heavens forbid you try to procreate, and you have a wife and kids waiting for you at home things can become more complicated. For example if you’re overseas because you thought that being in the military is the same as your Call of Duty games, family life is going to be far from idyllic. Also how naïve can you be to enlist in the military because of a game?
Well, now you have a bit of information regarding choosing a career path if you have anything else to add, please feel free to leave your comments in the section below.