What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you doing that now?
Every time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I felt pressured to give a “good” answer. I’ve stopped asking that question of young people for two reasons; (1) the expectation that your reply needs approval, and (2) because I know so many adults who are still struggling to find the answer.
No two people are exactly alike and career paths are rarely linear. Each of us has a different set of values, skills, experiences, interests, and opportunities. If we are all unique why then are we still sinking under the pressure to follow the crowd?
We can’t all be doctors, police officers, and teachers. As a cupcake lover, I’m very familiar with Warren Brown, owner of Cake Love, who left a promising career as a lawyer to become a baker and engineer siblings Winnette McIntosh Ambrose and Timothy McIntosh founders of The Sweet Lobby bakery and winners of Cupcake Wars. Reality TV has introduced me to alligator hunters, storage unit auctioneers, and entrepreneurs who travel the country buying antiques from strangers. The commonality is that each individual is following their own unique career path.
5 Ways to Develop Your Unique Career Path:
1. Take Inventory – List your professional skills and weaknesses as well as your education and past career experiences. This will help you decide where you need to gain more training or experience and where you excel.
2. Trust Yourself – Your future success is in your hands. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Be open and flexible while following your instincts because ultimately you know what is best for you.
3. Research Options – Explore different careers through television, interviews and networking, the internet, career fairs, and good old fashioned books.
4. Motivate Yourself – Job satisfaction is a major factor in why people stay in or leave positions. As a starting point, determine whether your major motivator is passion for your work or a nice salary. Next consider work hours, location, and environment.
5. Plan Ahead – Sometimes you land at the right place at the right time but a successful career is generally the result of goal setting and calculated risks. Put your career development plan in writing so that you can keep track of your progress and stay focused on your personal career journey.
Nicki Sanders, The Packaged For Success Coach, is an experienced trainer, group facilitator, and program manager. She has packaged her Masters of Social Work degree and over 15 years of work experience into Packaged For Success, a training and professional development company. Packaged For Success provides career coaching to college students, entry-level job hunters, and experienced employees seeking a promotion. Packaged For Success also offers communication and productivity improvement training for employees and supervisors and provides consultation on building sustainable, impactful, socially responsible community programs.
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