Finding a Rewarding Career
Choosing a career isn’t easy: you’re best placed to make decisions affecting the course of your life early on, when you can pick qualifications that give you the best chance to enter your chosen career. Unfortunately, when you’re in your early- and mid- teens you don’t necessarily have the insight into your own character to make career defining decisions. For one thing, your brain literally isn’t finished yet: your capacity to make long term decisions won’t be firmly embedded until around the age of 25 – in the meantime you’re driven by shorter term priorities! You’re also less likely to be thinking about security and financial stability, concerns that become more and more important as you get deeper into adulthood.
Fortunately, there’s no real cut-off point for making a sideways leap in your career: you may have to accept a pay-cut or a more junior position but the possibility for change always exists, whether you’re contemplating a move towards criminal justice jobs for security or a more creative career!
With that in mind, let’s have a look at what you have to consider when you’re trying to work what a rewarding career might look like for you.
The first thing you need to take into account is where you get your sense of motivation. On a basic level, everyone is motivated by a desire to keep a roof over their head and themselves fed, but that only helps drive you towards a job. It doesn’t help you distinguish between jobs.
You need to reflect on what you value, and what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning: it might be the sense that you are doing good and helping people, in which case a career in the NHS or social work might be for you. You might not have the resources to commit to the long training necessary to become a doctor, but this is not a bar to work within the health sector: as a huge undertaking the NHS requires almost all skillsets not just clinicians, from statisticians to HR staff to procurement specialists.
A money motivation is nothing to be ashamed of: all jobs are essentially mercenary propositions, and it can be very rewarding to take a sales-based role and see your take home pay rise and fall in direct proportion to your efforts.
As well as your own sense of reward, you need to think about your responsibilities and obligations. Your dream career may be perfectly rewarding but if they don’t pay enough for you to meet your obligations (paying bills, servicing debts) and any responsibilities you have (changing careers when you’re supporting your family is a different proposition to when you live alone.
Work out the minimum you can afford to earn. If an entry level job falls below this threshold, it’s simply not a realistic proposition for you.
This shouldn’t be a cause for despair, though: you can look into things that can give you a shortcut to higher paid positions in your favoured career path. Look for qualifications that you could do outside of your existing job. Night schools and distance learning can open a lot of doors for you, and volunteering your free time can let you show off those skills to build out your CV!