I watched a video on Dear Alyne this week that made me smile for all of the right reasons. The feature story was about Gloria, a daughter of Nigeria immigrants whose family pushed her towards a medical career before she gathered the courage to forge her own career path.
I love this story because I can definitely relate to the feeling of wanting desperately to make my family proud of me. And to see Gloria hit her turning point reminded me of my own turning point which radically changed the direction of my life.
Choosing a career path can be one of the most difficult exercises you may face in life. This is especially true if you possess high scholastic aptitude and have people throwing lots of options at you. The process can definitely leave you feeling overwhelmed. I have three pieces of advice I can share from my own personal experience that you may find useful:
1. Don’t be afraid to wander off the path.
Just as Gloria had to make a choice about who it was most important to please in her life, we each have the choice to do that same thing for ourselves. Figuring out what makes us happy can be hard work, but it is worth it!
2. The workforce will change on you so be ready.
For some people it works to say, “I’m going to be a lawyer so I’ll go to law school and have a brilliant career.” I was NOT one of those people. What did help me was training myself for a transferable skill set rather than specializing in a narrow field. I am a generalist, a polymath, who has many, many, many interests. I look for jobs and projects that scare the hell out of most people and work to match opportunity to need. This allows me to touch many areas of interest on a daily basis even if it makes for a challenging conversation every time people ask me, “So what do you do”?
3. Work to live, don’t live to work.
It sounds cliche but it is so true. It is awesome to love and have passion for your work. It is also easy to get lost in your work and fail at fully living your life. The danger of not learning how to have balance is burnout. I have seen this happen far too often and experienced it several times during my own career. There should and can be balance between work time and off-hours, but the correct formula for this can vary from person to person. Find your balance.
To watch the Dear Alyne video on Facebook CLICK HERE.
Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Hot Springs, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit https://about.me/MCyoungblood.