It is often difficult to decide what you want to do with your life in terms of career. Obviously, income is a huge factor, but should that be the only determining factor when thinking about something you will be doing for the rest of your working days? Yes, it’s important, but perhaps not as important as you might think at this point in your life. Let’s look at some of what you should be considering when choosing the career path best suited to you.
When Income Is Your Sole Determinant
One of the biggest mistakes so many young people make when choosing their career path is looking at earning potential. A career with a higher-than-average income does have its merits butit can lead to a life filled with frustration and dissatisfaction. At some point you may just throw in the towel, leaving you to start at the beginning again, making a choice you could have made years ago if you had taken the time to see what is best for you.
Perhaps you should understand that there are few careers in which you can’t reach higher levels of income with advanced studies. While most entry level positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, the higher you advance in your studies, the higher you can climb within your profession. Just check out all the master’s degree programs at leading schools like St. Bonaventure University and you will begin to understand that earning potential isn’t limited to one or two professions.
Let Passion Be Your Guide
There is always something in our lives we are more passionate about than almost anything else. For some, it’s a quest for knowledge in general and for others it’s a music, art, technology, science, and a myriad of other disciplines that always capture the bulk of their attention. Why can’t that be your driving ambition? If you find a career in which you happily explore every aspect and never grow tired of asking why or how, you will have found your life’s work. Bear in mind that money isn’t everything. Yes, it’s important but if you are miserable, what good will it do you? No matter where your passion lies, there is a career in which you can continue advancing which will, in turn, increase your earning potential. Most careers can bring you to a 6-digit income if you are passionate enough and advance high enough, so that is something to hold onto.
What If You Aren’t Sure of Your Passion?
Sometimes you can go through your early years with so many interests that it’s difficult to determine exactly where your passion rests. Maybe you are passionate about serving the world’s neediest people but aren’t quite sure exactly what part of that sparks the greatest interest. You want to ensure healthcare for those who live in poverty-stricken nations with few doctors and nurses to serve the millions of people. Is healthcare going to be your chosen profession? Perhaps social work would better suit your need serve those less fortunate than you. One thing you may want to do at this point is seek answers to some of the most compelling questions of today. This might lead you to a career path in which you can find the answers you need to serve those in greatest need. You will undoubtedly find that the most compelling questions today deal with things such as poverty, global warming, justice, freedom, the right to life and so forth. Check out a site like this to view what many of today’s great thinkers pose as the questions we should be asking.It’s a place where you will find an intersection between philosophy and science when seeking some of life’s biggest questions. If there are certain questions that interest you more than others, you might use those in determining which direction your career should take.
Your Greatest Resource Is Right Here Where You Are!
Another way to find your passion is to use the resource you are now availing yourself of. That would be the internet. There are sites online that lead you through a series of questions in which you will be able to determine what you are passionate about and what is perhaps just a passing fancy. One site has an app that helps you discover your passion and although there may be a fee involved, it’s rather worth a few dollars when you think of what it could mean for the rest of your life. When you stop to think about it, if you decide to study for a career in which you will never be happy, you will have lost not only the cost of an education but also a couple years of your life earning that master’s or doctorate in a field you will never be satisfied with.
Why Your Choice of University Matters
While most universities may have the graduate programs you are interested in, not all will have the advisors on staff who are seriously interested in helping you find the graduate program designed for you. This is vitally important because, as mentioned, you can reach a certain level of proficiency without being at all satisfied with the work you are doing. For example, you are interested in serving the less fortunate of the world but do you want to work with world hunger or are you more inclined toward providing medical or educational services to them? The right career advisor in your university will help you determine where your real interests lie and will help you design an advanced degree that will take you where you need to be.
Maybe You Just Need a Sabbatical Year!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a sabbatical year from education if you have yet to determine your life’s direction. Some students take entry level jobs after earning their bachelor’s degree to begin paying off some of those student loans while others simply want to rest their brains after working so many years to achieve that 4.0 GPA. It’s okay to take a break from higher education if that’s what you need. In fact, this might also help you to realize where you should be focusing your energy. Sometimes, getting that entry level position in a field within the scope of that 4-year degree can show you that there are broader horizons in other directions. The one thing you should do, however, is set a date in which you will return to your studies. It is all to easy to let life carry you forward without any real goals. If you take that sabbatical year, set an end date, and stick to it. Use the year to be introspective and you just might be surprised at where it leads you.
Seek the Wisdom of the World’s Greatest Philosophers
Another thing you may want to do is seek the meaning of life as seen by some of the world’s greatest philosophers and thinkers of their time. What many contemporaries don’t realize is that much of what we view as ethical today finds its roots in the philosophical treatises by the ancient philosophers. Some of the most ancients to be studied might be:
Then there are those whose philosophies centered on matters of faith such as:
- Thomas Aquinas
- Anselm of Canterbury
- Augustine of Hippo
- David Hume
Sometimes it helps to dig deep into the mysteries of life and how the great philosophers viewed existentialism. If you want to follow your passion, it helps to understand how your very being is rooted in it. This is especially important if you seek the meaning of life so you can help others find their center as well.
Weighing Talent Against Desire
There also comes a time when we have to be realistic about what we hope to accomplish in life. Perhaps you would love to be a rocket scientist who helps to design the first manned space flight to Jupiter. Yes, that’s a bit unrealistic, but you get the idea. There are some things which just aren’t meant for you if you don’t have a natural talent in that direction. For the student who struggled through calculus and quantum physics, you wouldn’t do well as a quantum computer scientist, but you might do well as an author tracing the achievements of today’s most innovative scientists and their discoveries. This is where passion and reality intersect and it’s something else you must be aware of.
Following Your Passion May Lead You in Other Directions
As noted above, your passion may not be in line with your particular talents and abilities, but that doesn’t mean you cannot choose alternate paths leading to the same, or a similar, destination. Let’s look back, for just a moment, at the person who is passionate about solving the plight of the poorest of the poor. Perhaps they are not well-suited to becoming a healthcare professional, but they are passionate about getting healthcare to the poorest of the poor. Someone like this might be better suited towards journalism where they can document areas of the world in greatest need of physicians to bring about an awareness to those who might be best suited to the field of medicine.While your aptitude may not lead you on a path you’d most like to follow, there is no reason why you cannot seek alternate routes to the same, or similar destinations.
A Word About Interdisciplinary Prerequisites
Sometimes, it’s best to prepare during your undergrad years in school by taking electives in fields you never thought to explore. This can have a significant effect on leading you in a direction you never would have known you could be passionate about. It’s always best to keep an open mind because there is much to learn in life. Some students never realized they had aptitudes in certain subjects until they took them as electives. Again, it helps if you can develop a mindset early on that life is a journey and as you travel through it you may discover a passion you never dreamed would be of importance to you. So many great achievers started out in one field only to discover that their true love, their true passion was for something totally unexpected.
Never Say Never
One final bit of wisdom would be that you should never say never. Just because your passion may be something you never hoped to aspire to, doesn’t mean it’s unreachable with hard work and diligence. While it was said that aptitude and passion might not be parallel, there is nothing to say that you can’t be exactly what you want to be at the end of the day. For example, look at Albert Einstein who didn’t even speak his first word until he was four years old. In school his teachers attributed him to being lazy or incapable of learning because his questions where so abstract that even they couldn’t understand what he was getting at. Today we know him as the father of the Theory of Relativity which most people still cannot comprehend. In other words, just because your passion isn’t understood by your peers, doesn’t mean it’s something you shouldn’t pursue. Never say never.
In the end, you will discover which direction your life should go in and where your passion lies. It’s all about making an honest assessment of where you want to go and what you want to do. If money is your passion, then by all means find a career in which money can be made. On the other hand, if you would like to make a decent wage but are passionate about a particular field, then realize there is always going to be money to be made. If you choose a career that will not hold your interest, then you are back at ground zero before you know it. Find a career in which you will happily spend your time pursuing and this is something you can do for the rest of your life. That’s a career and that’s all you need to know.