“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This quote from Confucius is one that’s as true today as it was when he said it. If you love what you do, getting up to go to work every morning won’t be a time of dread – it’ll be a time of excitement.
But how do you find a job your love, especially if you’re still in high school and don’t know what you love or care about yet? Below you’ll find some ways to help you get a handle on what you might like to do:
1. Evaluate Your Life
The key is first figuring out the types of things you like based on your activities, beliefs and what you do for fun.
For example, do you watch every crime drama on TV from NCIS to Castle and everything in between? Is the police blotter the first thing you read in the paper? If so, criminal justice is one way to go. You can take down the criminals as a police officer, or solve mysteries as a forensic science expert. You could even become a criminal defense or prosecuting attorney, both of which are needed in society.
Maybe sports is your thing. If you play sports or can’t get enough of watching them on TV or tracking your favorite player’s stats, there are many careers you might enjoy. Of course, being a pro athlete is at the top for a lot of you, but if that’s not your dream, consider sports management, sports medicine (which includes doctors and physical therapists) or even coaching. A college degree is typically a good starting point for any of these careers.
If your life centers around video games, contrary to what your parent’s may have told you, there are jobs for gamers. You can learn to design your own games from the graphics standpoint or from the programming side. There are even jobs available testing new video games for companies. Look for art schools, computer programming classes and vocational opportunities.
2. Evaluate Your Personality
Your personality traits play a big role in whether or not you’ll be happy with a particular career choice. You should consider all aspects of your personality when thinking about a career. If you love working with people and have a servant’s heart, being stuck behind a desk in a corporate cubicle may seem like torture. On the other hand, if analytical thinking is your strong suit, a customer service job dealing with the general public every day could drive you mad. Here are a few personality traits and jobs that might go along with them.
Nurturing – If you love people and want to help them consider becoming a nurse, teacher, paramedic, social worker or police officer.
Thinker – Abstract theories and math are your happy place so jobs like engineer, scientist or mathematician might be for you.
Pragmatist – You value logic and realism so a career in management, logistics or banking could be something you’ll love.
Idealist – The world is a good place no matter what and you want to make it even better so look at a career in non-profits, writing and the arts.
3. Evaluate the Practicality
Time for a reality check. The harsh reality of life is that you need money to survive. The best, most rewarding job can cause stress if you don’t make enough money to support your lifestyle. While TV and movies make the life of a starving artist look romantic, when you can’t pay your rent or make your car payment, the reality isn’t quite so appealing. So how do you balance what you love with paying the bills?
Decide on the lifestyle you want – but be realistic. You may want to live like LeBron James or Bill Gates, but chances are that dream is a few years (decades) of hard work away. In reality, consider how much it will cost to live in the city you want to live in, and live life the way you want to live. If the pay scale for your preferred career won’t support that, you may need to reevaluate.
Decide what you can sacrifice – this means to consider what you are willing to live without to have the career you want. Maybe you’re willing to live in a cheaper community, or maybe you’ll give up some spare time to work a second job. Maybe, the job is your life’s passion so you’ll sacrifice just about anything for it.
Having a job you love is one of the best feelings in the world. Remember that your first job out of college might not be that perfect position, you may have to work your way up to it. In either case, you’ll be happy knowing that you are taking steps to have the career you are passionate about.