I wasn’t happy with the other answers I saw to a career question on Yahoo this week, so I answered it. It was from someone apparently just starting to look for a career, someone with lots of artistic interests who didn’t want to be focused just on making money. Since it is the most foundational of all career questions, I thought I’d share my answer, slightly expanded, with anyone coming to this blog too.
Q: How do you know what career is best for you?
As a career coach (in Minnesota but working nationally), I often work with clients who are doing great financially but are just miserable in their careers. They light up when they start following their passions instead. So I can say that beyond the cliché, it’s generally true that following your passions WILL make you a lot happier than following only the money.
So what to do? For now, why not pursue all or many of the artistic passions you mention by taking classes if you are about to go to college (or are in college)? Now is your chance to experiment and learn about these arts and about yourself.
Keep your eyes open–notice what specific things you really love to do, not just dance, for ex., but what kind of dance you like and what role. Choreographer or performer? Part of a group, couple dancing, soloist?
Notice where you are willing to be persistent and not mind “failures” vs things you only like when they are going well. That will clarify which are more likely for day–to-day work and which are more appropriate for your hobbies. I think keeping a log about what you like is great too as you’ll start noticing patterns that will help you decide on a major.
Get help from others while in college or taking classes instead of being a passive student. Talk to teachers, other students, and people in these arts for a living (informational interviews) to see what careers look like from the inside. That way it will be easier for you to decide.
In other words, do follow your passions, noticing what really suits you and isn’t just this month’s whim.