There’s a saying that when you do what you love, you never really work a day in your life. It does make a big difference, but the thing is: other factors have to be ideal to bring about this synergy. Often, people think that a particular position is their dream job, until reality strikes. As an HR solutions company, we’ve experienced countless instances in which candidates enter the interview process supremely confident about what they want. That is, until the truth is revealed to them. This is why professionals with years of tertiary education sometimes switch careers to pursue something they find more fulfilling, or just less stressful.
Occupation vs Career
So how does one find that sweet spot — doing something you’re passionate about that also suits your priorities? Your dream job may be right there waiting for you — in another country. Are you willing to do what it takes to follow your passion? Would you migrate to China, for example, with an entirely different way of life and language? That may sound extreme, but even local companies providing staffing solutions can attest to how difficult it can be to meet expectations. So how does one differentiate between a job you’ve been in for 20+ years and a career? Years of tenure may add up to you spending your life in a position, but does that mean you chose a career in a field you love, or just ended up staying for stability? The lines can get crossed, but in the end, each individual, whether at the start, mid-point or near the end of their working life, ought to determine what they want to spend the majority of their time doing.
Finding Your Passion
I know of doctors and lawyers who ditched their scrubs and wigs to pursue careers in music and art. It happens all the time — top executives leaving Fortune 500 companies to start non-profits or start-ups because what they were doing didn’t satisfy their soul. However, outside of the emotional considerations, anyone seriously considering their career path would be advised to speak with a talent acquisition specialist to guide them as to the current opportunities and potential future trends. Having said that, here are some factors to consider when making a career decision:
1. Marketability. Don’t just think of what’s hot and trendy now; think about what will be in demand in 15-20 years. Automation will replace many current jobs. Think about the future, not just the present.
2. Environment. Are you willing to uproot and swap worlds to do what you love? Can you adapt to a culture that requires you to adjust your behaviour and preferences?
3. How you work. Are you a free-spirited person looking to start a career in a very structured vocation? Do you prefer working partially or completely from home or outside an office setting? Are you a morning person or a nocturnal?
4. Priorities. How much time will you be required to give this passion of yours? Will you be able to strike a work/life balance? Your happiness should be your primary reason since you’ll likely spend most of your life doing this thing from which you intend to make a living.
Your work should leave you fulfilled and well-paid. Finding that balance may require a few stops along the way to figure out, but it’s well worth the journey.
Until next time, leaders keep lookin’ up!
Debra Fraser, MBA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the BPIAJ and the Global Services Sector, a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and Society of Human Resources Management in the US. Please direct comments to email@example.com or www.caribbeanhrsolutions.com