September 6, 2011

Choosing Your Own Career Goals

Here’s a question for you: If you’re currently working, is it in a field of your own choosing? If not, are you happy enough in your work to consider this a choice now? That is, even if you did not originally choose this work, are you continuing along this path as a choice, or from a feeling of being stuck?

In recessionary times such as these, questions about career choice can seem like a luxury. Who cares if you chose your work, as long as you have a job? In many ways, this is a very good attitude to have. When I run into people who aren’t working because they’re waiting for the right opportunity I go a little crazy. In my Calvinist view, any work is better than no work, as it tends to lead one to be a better person. Maybe that’s crazy on my part, to equate an awful job with some kind of character development, but that’s my worldview and I’m sticking to it.

That said, I don’t see why someone should stay in an awful job, if any kind of choice is possible. And here’s another chapter from my worldview: Choice is almost always possible, at least in America. I don’t mean that as hyper-patriotic message, but as a realistic comment on the capitalist nature of our economy. We are bristling with jobs and opportunity, even in difficult times like these. Look at this way: 10% unemployment? How about 90% employment? Even when you add discouraged workers, part-time workers, and any other category economists can count, we don’t top 20% on the unemployment / under-employment ranking. That means 80% or more of our working population is doing just that – working.

Which means that if you’re doing something you’d rather not be doing, it’s time to look at this situation. Don’t assume that you can’t find a job in a new field, or that dreaming is a futile exercise. Instead, think of dreaming as the first step on the path to getting what you want. First you have to dream, then you can start the goal setting. If your dreams and plans require an investment – say, going back to school – then it’s best that you get started on that dreaming as soon as possible. Whatever your age, it’s long past time for you to take control of your career and set your own course.

Sign up for our newsletter!