Make Your Career Ambitions a Reality
We’re constantly being bombarded with messages that life’s too short to waste time working a job you don’t enjoy. And while that’s a noble line of thinking, the more years you work the more you start to realize that’s much easier said than done. Straight out of college you think you’d never settle for less than the perfect job, but the realities of life often force you to dial down those lofty expectations of youth and settle for something slightly less — and in some cases much less — than ideal.
If this is sounding familiar, don’t worry, you certainly aren’t alone. Most people at some point or other take on jobs they don’t want or enjoy, but it’s never too late to shift gears, be that climbing the ranks at your current firm, reframing your job description, or even taking the career-change plunge.
In this two-part series, we’re taking a look at what traits characterize a job, a career, and a passion and how to turn what you do into what you love. Today, we’re walking you through what it means to have a career, what it means to hold a job, and why there’s a place for both in your life at some point or other.
When you’re building your career, your focus doesn’t squarely lie on performing day to day tasks until the clock strikes that long-awaited 5pm. You should be dedicating a large chunk of time to doing things that stretch beyond your basic job description and play into your long-term professional goals. This may involve learning new specific or generic skills, attending professional development courses, building connections, and making a reputation for yourself in the industry to ensure that the next time a promotion comes around you’ll be top of mind.
A career requires significantly more sweat, time, and energy than just a 9-5. That old adage that finding a job you love means never working a day in your life? It couldn’t be further from the truth. Working a career you love means we’re willing to work just that bit harder to ensure you continue to climb the ranks, make our own successes, and feel fulfilled professionally and even personally.
While not everyone is on a career track or even working a job they enjoy, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wasting their time. There are positives to take away from every professional experience and often the things we enjoy the least help us understand the things we do enjoy doing.
Remember that in today’s economic climate, being employed is always a good thing. So, appreciate the opportunity at hand and remember that you won’t have to work that job forever if you don’t want to. Next, make sure every job you do is done to the best of your abilities. It’s especially important to leave a good impression and ensure you have solid references if you’re sure the job you have now isn’t your forever home.
Making the Switch
This brings us to our next point: how to make the switch. We’ve found that making the best use of your time outside the office is one of the best ways to do this. Taking professional training courses, learning new skills, and building your relationship network are key to either turning your current job into a career or taking that leap elsewhere.
Whether you’re working a job you don’t like or whether you hold the career of your dreams, you should never stop learning and seeking professional development. There are numerous opportunities to learn a new skill or develop your current knowledge outside of regular on-the-job training. Many institutions offer online or evening classes for people working full-time, and enrolling in a structured course will help you learn and absorb new material much quicker. This extra knowledge will give you an edge when you make a career switch or when you try and advance in your current one.
Regardless of what you’re currently doing, make sure to always give it your all and be ready to seize that career-changing opportunity when it comes around. With the right mindset, it’s never too late to turn your professional development goals into reality — a topic you’ll have to tune in next week to learn more about.