How to Evaluate Your Career and Do What You Love

Ché O'Donnell-Gibson
September 18, 2018

Many people find themselves at a job that doesn’t truly fulfil them, and who can blame them? Our brains don’t stop fully developing until we’re in our mid-20s, yet most are expected to choose a career path around the age of 18 without having much independent experience to form our own skills and passions outside of the formal education setting. After finishing school, you may have found that you changed immensely throughout those formative years, but you are stuck with a degree in a field that you chose as a different person.

This dilemma causes many to pursue careers in fields that don’t truly fulfil them, and they stick to this path for the rest of their lives. You may have been pressured into pursuing a career that isn’t right for you, or your passions and interests may have changed, or perhaps out of financial necessity you had to take a job you didn’t really like. Regardless, you’re not alone – the struggle to find a fulfilling career is universal.

But why is it important to do what you love? Many people view a job as just a job, something to pay the bills and keep them busy, but it is much more than that. The average person spends approximately 14% of their entire life at work. This may not seem like much, but when you take into consideration that an additional 30% of your life is spent sleeping and even more time is spent doing chores, sitting in traffic, and running errands, the numbers add up, and you aren’t left with much time to pursue what you really enjoy. Your job defines the way that you live your life and the legacy that you leave behind. It is what you put the most effort into during your daily life and what the rest of your life is centred around. Although your job comprises only 14% of your life, it defines the remaining 86%, so it should be something that you love.

There are a few signs that you should look for to determine if you are working in a job that isn’t the right fit for you. Answer the following questions for yourself: Do you find yourself dreading going to sleep at night because you have to wake up to go to work in the morning? Do you constantly find yourself bored, depressed, or excessively anxious at your job? Do you regularly find yourself looking back on your life and wondering how much happier you’d be if you had pursued another career path? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may benefit from a change in your career. Your life is fleeting and you deserve a career that brings you joy, inspiration, peace, and excitement.

Once you have realized that you aren’t happy in your job, you may wonder how you can go about finding what you love doing, and the solution may be easier than it seems. If you have been in an unfulfilling career for many years, you may have gotten used to pushing aside any thoughts about what you’d rather be doing to rationalize your current lifestyle. If this is the case for you, you should try to channel those thoughts again and get rid of any negative notions about changing your career path. Don’t worry about how you can do it just yet – rather, ask yourself what ‘it’ is. You may already know the answer – you just need to let go of any inhibitions and tell yourself, I want to do ______.

What are these inhibitions? What is holding you back? If may be finances, fear of the unknown, fear of being ostracized for changing your path, or thinking you’re too old to change your career or that you aren’t good enough. Regardless, you should eliminate these thoughts.

If you let go of these worries and still find yourself not knowing what you want to do, take some time to develop your own interests and passions outside of work. While it may be comfortable to sit at home and watch TV after work to unwind, you need to get out of your comfort zone if you want to discover your ideal path. Volunteer with local nonprofits, take on interesting part-time jobs, go to local meetups or workshops, read new books, or travel to new places, even if it’s just a neighboring town. Spending your downtime doing productive activities that challenge you will allow you to discover what you really enjoy doing.

Your current situation doesn’t have to define the rest of your life – you can always make moves to better yourself and live out your dream, so go for it.

At Alike, we provide all the tools that you need to develop your career and pursue your passion. Our coworking space is a great place for Auckland-based professionals to network and be inspired. Browse our website for more information on what we offer, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about how our coworking space can help you succeed in your career – we’re here to help!

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