How To Choose A Career You Won’t Hate 10 Years Later

Posted on December 13, 2014

*This article originally appeared on Careerealism.

According to a survey by Deloitte, 80% of Americans report hating their job. This means that only 20% of Americans actually get up in the morning and look forward to going to work everyday.

That’s really sad. No wonder customer service is so bad.

These stats have got to be reversed.

If you want to choose a career you won’t hate 10 years later, there are a few things you can do. These recommendations are also applicable to those who may currently be in a career that they hate and are looking for a way out.

1. FOCUS ON YOUR APTITUDE

Think back to your childhood, your teens, and your early 20’s. Did you have any natural skills, gifts, or talents? I’m not talking about being a naturally-gifted professional athlete or a musical prodigy. Those talents are extremely rare. If you haven’t taken an aptitude test before, I strongly urge you to take one immediately. They will help you focus on things that you’re naturally good at, which will help point you in the right direction of what you should be doing for a living.

In society, when we think about our careers, we focus far too much on our earning potential and not enough (if at all) on our aptitude. Money is great, but after awhile the allure of making a lot of money wears off, especially once you consider the sacrifices you have to make to earn a high salary.

2. FIGURE OUT WHAT TRULY MOTIVATES YOU

What drives you? Is it money or is it passion? A lot of people say they want to be happy on their job, but they also want to make six-figures/year. Studies show that the more money someone makes as an employee, the more unhappy they typically are. Since there’s generally an indirect relationship between money and happiness, you have to really determine what you’re motivated by and be willing to live with the consequences of your decision. Pursuing your passion may not yield a high income. However, chasing cash may not yield happiness. Choose wisely.

3. BE WILLING TO MAKE SOME SACRIFICES

Throughout human history mankind has traveled long distances in pursuit of happiness. Ask an American immigrant and they’ll tell you. If you truly want to be happy in your job, you must be willing to make sacrifices, one of which includes moving. The job of your dreams may not be located in your local city or metroplex. If it’s across the country are you willing to uproot your family and move? What if a happier job yields a lower salary? Are you willing and able to live with less?

4. BUILD YOUR BRAND

In this day and age and in a global economy, competition for jobs has become more competitive now than ever before. I talk about personal branding often, as do other career coaches. What used to be a buzzword is now no longer optional. If you want to have a thriving career you’re happy with 10 years from now, you must begin building your personal brand immediately. As time goes on, more and more people are jumping on the personal branding band wagon. They’re learning how to format their resume properly for both human beings and job posting site robots; they’re building website portfolio’s; they’re launching industry blogs; they’re becoming content contributors; they’re writing books, so on and so forth.

If you become a laggard and wait to launch your personal brand 10 years from now, you’ll be so far behind the curve that you’ll never stand a chance of catching up and the only opportunity you’ll have to look forward to are the table scraps left behind from the early adopters who put in the time and effort building their personal brands a decade before you.

5. CONTINUE YOUR EDUCATION

Nowadays, careers and industries come and go as the wind blows. This means that the days of getting comfortable in a particular field with the assumption that you’ll have job stability is over. You’ll be lucky if your industry still exists five years from now. The world just moves too fast nowadays. That being said, you must constantly be continuing your education. You must constantly be learning new skills so that in the event that your industry does change or implodes, you have the opportunity to quickly pivot into something new.

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