When you pass away, what will you be remembered for? Will it be because you made a difference or because you made a living?
You have a chance to make a different choice for yourself.
Many people get so caught up in the professional rat race that they end up with a lost sense of purpose and misplaced priorities.
In carving a career path for yourself, you must bear in mind that your chosen career path will be a means to an end. You want the end of it all to mean something more than just paying the bills and having food on the table.
Of course, the bills should be paid and you shouldn’t starve -- but choosing a career path to earn a paycheck for just these purposes is limiting -- very limiting.
You should choose a career that gives you a great sense of fulfillment.
How do you go about this?
Any career that doesn’t help you express what you’re passionate about is a no-no for you. Unfortunately, in most cases, no one tells you about this.
So, after going through school, bagging a fancy degree, and getting a good-paying job, you still have a deep feeling of dissatisfaction.
What do you do at this point? First, let’s explore the problem, then find a solution.
The Paycheck Dilemma.
We’ve been pressured by society to chase "lucrative careers" at the expense of genuine passion.
For some of us, we had no say in choosing our career. We only had to grow into a pre-chosen career as a child’s feet grows into an oversized shoe.
Yet, the irony is we only get good jobs done and have a greater chance at demanding higher fees when we feel passionate about the jobs we do.
Your chosen career should not stifle you. You’re a bundle of powerful creative fireworks waiting to detonate. You’ll end up frustrated if you’re not permitted to get into your zone where you comfortably ‘explode’.
Why People Make Wrong Career Choices.
Working and finding fulfillment is many people’s wish but, sadly, not their reality. You may end up in the wrong career and have to settle for less because of the interplay of several factors.
1. The Money Factor: This is usually the strongest factor that navigates people into wrong career paths.
If you’ve been influenced by the prospect of a fat check, it’s really not your fault. In times of economic downturn, you may be compelled to make the available the desirable.
When you have a boatload of bills, the last thing on your mind is searching for a job that gives you ‘fulfilment’ or ‘happiness’. As long as your bills are paid, who cares?
So you stick with a job you hate, stick with an overbearing boss, and stick with unfavorable working conditions because the job pays the bills.
2. Societal Pressure: This is yet another reason you may end up with a job you hate.
You may have folks practicing a profession, who want you to tow their path without giving a moment to consider what you’re truly interested in.
In a society that glorifies professional careers over others, the societal factor kicks harder felt, especially when you’re passionate about an unprofessional career.
When you bow to societal pressure, you ignore your true passion to meet society’s demands. And when things turn awry (as they often do when you’re stuck with a distasteful job), society spits in your face and blames you for listening to her.
3. Environmental Support: You may live in an environment that is hostile to your career and may not have the much-needed support to get the education or job you want. So, you’re forced to settle for the crumbs that fall off the table.
It may be very difficult to leave the little you have to pursue what you want, because of the uncertainty of the future. However, someday you may have to summon enough courage to test the deep waters if you really want fulfillment outside a paycheck.
These challenges to a right career choice are legitimate, but not insurmountable. Examples abound of people who have overcome similar challenges. Of course, their experiences and conditions may differ significantly from yours, but you may still learn one or two things from them.
What Should You Do?
Whatever action you’ll take significantly depends on your current position and future prospects.
For instance, if you’re working at an eight to five job you don’t like, but pays the bills, you may start a side gig on what you’re passionate about while keeping your job.
If you’re able to grow your side gig to a financially stable business, you may safely make the cross from an eight to five employee to an entrepreneur.
One thing to watch out for is the mental trap of not chasing your passion until you make enough money at your current job. Most times, you never get to the point where you’ve made enough money to quit your job.
On the other hand, if you’re working at a job you enjoy but isn’t paying the bills as much as you’ll like, you may try to seek other opportunities in your industry where a greater demand and value will be placed on your skills.
In addition, you may also consider how much value you’re bringing to the table compared with your colleagues who earn more and then step up to the challenge by increasing your knowledge base and sharpening your relevant skills.
Before you sentence yourself to a career you don’t enjoy to pay the bills, create a career plan that’ll excite you, diligently hone your craft over time and steadily increase your value.
As Sir Richard Branson said, “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions -- in a way that serves the world and you.”
Don’t chase a fat paycheck alone, my friend. Do the type of work that gives you a great sense of fulfillment and satisfaction -- and find a fatter paycheck in it.