If you want to do more than work, and to instead find a career that actively helps you feel fulfilled and like you are progressing through goals that matter to you, then the time to start is now. You should never feel ashamed for having a job simply because it pays the bills, but you owe it to yourself to make steps forward towards a career that matters to you. It doesn’t matter how small those steps are.
If every step you take forward, however, feels like a misstep, and you don’t know what you want out of your career, then introspection is critical. You need to listen to your heart and use tried and tested techniques to find that perfect career path that combines what you love with what you’re good at and, most importantly, what you can be paid for.This job is not just a pay check; it is a vocation. It is a calling. Not everyone will find their calling, yes, but with this guide, you’ll learn how to listen to yourself, your needs, and your wants so that you can make significant progress towards a career that you love.
Are You in the Right Career Path Now?
If you are actively working towards your dream job, and the path that you currently are on is a great way to get you there, then yes, you are on the right track. How you get to that next step, of course, can feel like a shot in the dark. It’s easy for some careers, like nursing, because what you need will be predated by a degree and another exam. However, if you want to go from being an APRN specialist to the top of your field and even into nurse leadership, for example, then you know your next step will be to go from MSN to DNP.
For others, it won’t be so clear-cut. If you ever feel stuck, a good option is to talk to your employers and to those who are in the position that you want. Talking to your employers about your goals can help them keep an eye out for your performance and know that you are looking for them to take a chance on you. Asking those in your dream job for advice is often a great way to get great insight into ways forward.
Being on the right career path also doesn’t mean that you are in the right job necessarily. You may find yourself stuck in your current job, even though that job is on the right track because you are simply with the wrong employer.
Know how to recognize when changing jobs is the right move, and open up your options by putting out feelers before you feel forced to leave. This way, you can make steady progress forward with the right people, who will continue to help you along the way of your dreams.
Understand Your Heart: Time to Learn and Try New Things
If you aren’t sure, you are on the right career path, or if you have no idea on what you want to do, it’s time to invest in yourself. For now, don’t worry about investing in your skills or making yourself more professional. Instead, look at what you like, and explore those options to see what sparks your interest.
Having direction can make the biggest impact on your quality of life and for your sense of fulfilment. If you don’t have this direction, you are floating along in many ways and won’t be building towards anything.
You don’t have to stick in the same direction. You aren’t stuck on tracks with only one way forward but think of having direction as exploring the world with a compass. With a compass always pointing north, you can always find your way no matter how many detours you take or how long it takes you to get there.
Before you can find that direction, however, you need to explore. Take short courses, read books, watch documentaries, try new skills, and so on. Investing in yourself this way can help take you on a journey of self-discovery that puts you on the right path.
Learn Your Career Options
Understanding your interests is one thing; knowing how you can turn those interests into a career is another. Once you know the areas that you have fun learning and working in, you will then want to explore the careers associated with that interest. This applies even in straightforward careers. In nursing, for example, there are not just dozens upon dozens of career options; they are expanding as healthcare advances and becomes more digitized. So, finding the right path for you won’t just be a matter of earning an MSN or doctorate, but earning them in the right field so that you can specialize in something you are interested in and passionate about.
The good news is that the wealth of information online is substantial. Not only can you explore guides and helpful tips online, but you can also go directly to real-world workers through job sites. You can explore job listings and people alike and learn about all the many roles involved in your passion and what they do.
If you ever need it, don’t be afraid to get in touch with people as well. There is no guarantee you will get a response, of course, but so long as you phrase your questions well and are genuinely interested in the advice, you’ll be surprised at how many people will want to help.
Grow Your Network Online
To find the perfect career path for you will then next want to build up your network. If you are studying and progressing through a degree, a great place to start is your current peers and faculty, as well as the alumni from your program. If you aren’t progressing through a degree, then try connecting with those that are within the industry that you want to be in online.
Being engaged online is going to make all the difference. There are many professionals and creatives alike who find like-minded people online and offer each other opportunities, especially starting out.Before you can get started with those opportunities, however, you are going to need to be friendly and familiar. So, engage with their posts, comment, like, share, and even continue conversations away from the newsfeeds and into personal chats.
People make friends with others online all the time, and if you don’t have anyone in your network currently who can help you with your new career aspirations, then make friends! There are so many people online today and so many ways that you can find them online that networking has both never been easier.
When it comes to successfully networking online, you will want to be patient. There is a lot of distrust online, so being honest and authentic and giving new connections time to get used to you is a great strategy. Afterward you can then ask for advice, or even if people want to start a unique project with you.
Never Stop Learning and Exploring
We all evolve and adapt, and we need our dreams to be flexible. We also need to continually push our limits and evolve personally and professionally. This sounds like a huge order, but the good news is that it can actually be very enjoyable.So long as you are working in a field that you are interested in and passionate about, you’ll find learning and developing your skills within it not just easier, but fun. If you are an artist, try new techniques and mediums. If you are a nurse, explore new areas of science and follow up on some amazing cases. If you are in IT, try out a new project.
There are so many ways that you can learn and have fun, and so long as it feels fun, you will be able to progress through your career and develop your skills consistently.Don’t shy away from new directions, either. You may think you’d love this one specific dream job, but then realize as you get older, your priorities change, and that is okay. For example, a nurse might study and spend years on becoming a Nurse Director and then realize that they want a quieter life and retire for something else, like Nurse Education, or even a quieter position somewhere else.
There are so many ways forward and no wrong way to go. The only thing that matters is that you enjoy the journey and listen to your heart and that each day brings its own joy. Pushing yourself through a situation, you hate because you hope the finish line is worth it isn’t always a good choice. In fact, if there isn’t anything you enjoy about your job right this second, then reconsider the direction you are taking. There are so many ways to get where you want to go, so find the scenic route that speaks to you.