Choosing Your Career? Or Is the Wrong Career Choosing You?

How can a career be choosing you?

Most people do it most of the time. “Office manager wanted—3 years exp. min. BA, prefer bilingual in Spanish and English” and you ask yourself if your 2 years experience might be enough or your 7 years might make you overexperienced and if your rusty Spanish is good enough.

That’s trying to fit you into some preset category regardless of your values and passions. All you are looking at are resume categories for experience and education. In that case, the career is choosing you. You are trying to fit yourself into the right checkboxes. Do that throughout your career and all your job changes and you will increase your authority and expertise and income. But will you be happy in your work life? Will you really be choosing your career and setting up a career vision to pursue?

It’s not that you shouldn’t look at job postings or shouldn’t pay attention to your skills or ignore what organizations want and need. Not at all. Those are critical. It’s just a question of when.

If you want a career you’ll love, an authentic or true career, you need to first determine your career vision. Second, map out a basic plan to succeed with your vision. Then you have the background and knowledge to see what jobs to apply for now, whether as stopgap measures as you earn money for education (for instance) or as learning opportunities to enjoy now and move you toward your final career vision.

Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, was once asked by a TV interviewer why we needed his book. After all, the interviewer pointed out, everything Covey was saying in his book could also be found in all the philosophies and religions of the world. Cover didn’t argue. He agreed, and added, “but I’ve put these ideas into the right order.” In the same way, you need to look at job postings, but make sure you do it in the right order—after you know your career vision and direction.


© 2008 by Leonard Lang


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