“The best things in life are free
But you can give them to the birds and bees
I want money”
These are a few lines from a very famous American song. The point is that everyone says money doesn’t matter but the singer doesn’t believe them. Well, he is wrong. Money is important but it does not buy happiness. When thinking about a career path it is important to consider both happiness and potential earnings. A career path is not only what career you would like to have, but a plan for how you will improve and progress within that chosen career.
At some point when you are in college, it would be a good idea to sit down and write out a career path for yourself. This should be after you have already picked a major but before you graduate. There are a lot of things to think about when coming up with a career path. As with all major decisions in your life, talking to your trusted friends and family is a good idea but the final decision must come from you. It has to be something you are comfortable with.
First, you should think about what excites and energizes you. What are the things that make you jump out of bed in the morning with a smile on your face? The career paths that offer you the most chances to do this are the ones you should focus on. Having money and being successful is great, but if you are not happy going to work every day the money will not matter. If you are happy going to work and you have fun when you are there, then you will never work a day in your life!
Second, pick a career that you are good at. These should be clear to most people but it is not. If you are not sure what career is the best for you, then think about what you are good at. What skills do you already have? This can be a chance for you to not only learn about yourself, but set yourself on a career path that will lead to fortune and fun.
Third, find a mentor. A mentor is someone who helps you through advice and guidance. Think of them as a teacher and family member combined. Once you have chosen a career or if you have a good idea what career path you want to select, find a mentor in that area. One way to do this is talk to your friends and find out if anyone has connections in that career. Maybe they can connect you with a family member or friend who can become a mentor for you. This mentor then can help you take your career to the next level or give you more information to make sure this is the right path for you.
Another way to explore career paths before choosing is an internship. Most internship do not pay a lot or at all, so make sure you can handle the financial strain an internship can put on you. If you can, then it is a great way to explore a chosen career path, start building a network, find a mentor, or even get a job. An internship is basically like working, but not getting any money for working. You get paid instead through valuable experience.
Finally, if you are still not sure what career path to take, consider this: G+P+V. This stands for gifts+passions+values. As we have talked about in this article, you need to think about what you are good at, what you love to do, and lastly what is important to you. Once you figure these things out, add them up. Then find a career that matches these things.
Next, let’s say you have picked a career. A career path can still be an important tool for you. It can be valuable to think of your career as a series of points on a map, not a straight line you have to follow all the time. If you think of a career path as a straight line from which you cannot step off, you will find yourself very disappointed a lot of the time in life. Things happen, things we cannot control that will change our career paths. But if we recognize that there are a lot of different paths we can get to the next stage of our career, we will be able to handle these disappointments and setbacks as they happen.
So think of where you want to be in your career in five years. Now think of where you want to be and what you want to achieve in 10 years. Do it again for 15 years and so on. Now, think of all the different ways you can get to those points on your path. You will see that there are a lot of different routes you can take, making your career path a flexible idea rather than a concrete set of rules.
Always remember that you can change your mind too! A lot of people go through 2 or 3 different career paths before they find the best fit for themselves. Hopefully with some good planning before you start on your path you will handle adversity if it comes your way.