Choosing the right career path was basically hell for me.
I had so many different interests.
I liked to write, read, research, create things, make things more efficient, and solve problems — just to name a few.
What job could I get that let me pursue these interests?
Maybe law? Medicine? Lab research? Computer programming? Marketing?
What if I chose marketing, realized I hated it, and wanted to do something totally different later? Would I have to go back and take an entry level job?
Ugh. It was all so confusing. I felt like everyone else around me had their lives totally figured out, and I was falling behind. It didn’t feel good to think about it.
I was afraid of closing doors.
But as I started to shift my thinking, picking the right field became much easier.
Here are the biggest mindset shifts I had.
MINDSET SHIFT #1: GETTING SPECIFIC MAKES YOU MORE DESIRABLE
Say your family runs a small burger joint in town, and you’re helping them grow the business.
But you’re really busy, so you decide to hire some marketing help.
If you had to choose between these two candidates, who would you choose?
- Option A: A guy who helps with online marketing for some local businesses, does print advertising for tech companies, and some freelance consulting on his own for people trying to start their own company.
- Option B: A marketer in the restaurant industry who helps local restauranteurs increase their revenue by expanding their business across multiple cities.
OF COURSE you’d pick the second one. It’s almost a no brainer.
The more specific you get with the type of jobs you’re targeting, the more personalized you can make your presentation (i.e. your resume, online portfolio, etc) when you’re on your job search.
Getting specific about what you want makes it more likely that you’ll get the job. This is counterintuitive for a lot of people.
MINDSET SHIFT #2: YOU DON’T HAVE TO CLOSE ANY DOORS
People think that they have to choose one field then stick with it forever. They say things like “I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life”.
Guys, the next job you get does not have to be something you do for the next 50 years. It’s a lot easier than most people think to transition between different roles.
For example, designers and marketers have a good chunk of overlap in their skillset. Technical marketers can get even jobs as software developers, and vice versa.
I started off doing lab research and working in hospitals, and I still got jobs at multiple venture capital firms.
You might have to eliminate some options in the short run, but you can switch later without missing a beat if you want to, without worrying about wasting time.
MINDSET SHIFT #3: PASSION FOLLOWS HARD WORK, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND
Here’s a secret most people won’t tell you: Your “passion” is usually something that you know you’re good at, not some magical field you haven’t discovered yet. How do you get good at something?
You work hard at it!
We’re often told things like “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” so we expect our passion to be fun all the time.
But working hard is supposed to get boring. Sometimes you get up in the morning and you just don’t feel like doing anything.
It sucks having writers block and still having to write.
It sucks trying to debug code and you can’t figure out what’s wrong.
It’s not supposed to be fun all the time. But that’s ok. If you get good at something, you’ll see that it’s worth pushing through the downsides to experience the upsides.
MINDSET SHIFT #4: YOU CAN’T GET IT TOGETHER ON YOUR OWN
Stop sitting in front of your computer taking personality tests as if the magical career path is going to fall out of the sky.
There’s only one way to find the right career…
Talk to people in those careers!
The internet can only teach you so much. You need to talk to people who are in the fields you’re considering.
Take them out to coffee. Ask them questions about their job. Understand what they do everyday. Ask them about what they love, what they hate, what they want to do next, etc. You can see your future in them.
This way, you can quickly find the field you feel the most passionate about. It’ll probably be a field where you have a strong level of interest and at least a little bit of experience to know you can be successful in it.
These 4 mindset shifts make it MUCH easier to “zero in” on the perfect job.
Which one was the most surprising to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments.