The path to self-fulfilment is not an easy one. With the number of years that I’ve worked in industry, I can admit that finding one’s professional calling or what most professionals call a career path is never straightforward.
The initial challenge for young graduates usually has to do with finding a job. Their desire to get a job can be for reasons of survival, self-actualization or because their mates already have good jobs. Without rhyme or reason, these graduates are more inclined to make applications to as many companies as possible and for as many jobs as possible hoping that one of these companies will give them a chance.
As early as possible in the course of your career, it’s very important to take a step back and ask yourself what you really want. Life is too short to waste time not knowing. This is however, not something most people get to do. With difficult economic conditions and a touch job market to contend with, applicants can hardly be selective about what they want. Some don’t even know what they want. The question then becomes, how do you know what you want when you haven’t tried anything? At the beginning of your career, it’s ok to go ahead and do just that - try whatever comes your way until you know what you want to do about your career.
The decision of which job to accept could be based on money, working hours, learning/growth opportunities and a number of other factors. To make a career decision based on financial incentives only is at best, short sighted. If you accept a job only for the financial incentives it offers, there’s a high probability of dissatisfaction further down the line. You may eventually find yourself under-challenged, demotivated or an inappropriate fit for the job. The hunt would continue; the search for the elusive holy grail.
I’ve been in enough jobs to know that chasing after money only as the sole motivator is hollow. Yes, it may give you temporary fulfilment. Yes, it may help you afford the trappings of wealth that your heart desires…but will you feel fulfilled? Will you be happy doing what you do? If your answer is yes, I suggest you stop reading right here. You’re one of the lucky few.
While there’s no perfect job anywhere, it’s important to assess yourself and the talents you have to identify exactly what you want. As soon as you have a well-defined path ahead of you (It won’t always be 100% clear - remember that your plans and desires will change with time), you will have more visibility and confidence when it comes to making the decision of which job to take and which not to take.
- Find out what makes you tick and ensure that you’re qualified to do it
- Find an organization that offers you the opportunity to grow in your role, learn and lead.
If you’re good at what you do and you bring value to your organization, the rewards will come and what’s more? You will live a happy and fulfilled life.
If you have a job and are constantly being micromanaged instead of allowed to lead, look elsewhere.
If you’re in a job and are no longer able to put in your best effort, look elsewhere.
If you’re in a job that causes you to question your competence or your ability to make decisions, look elsewhere.
If you’ve been stuck on the same level for years (due to no fault of yours), look elsewhere.
I do not believe that any experience is a waste, however. Take the lessons you have learnt, cut your losses, express gratitude for their support and move on.