Growing up, everyone always idealizes the cliche saying: “Love what you do and do what you love.” I am pretty sure every teacher I’ve ever had growing up had a poster with this quote in big, bolded letters hanging at the front of their classroom, reminding their students to live by it. Fast forward a few years and I am a senior in college surrounded by a lot of people who chose careers based on the yearly salary.
However, as important as money is, that cliche saying really is as valuable as every adult always stressed. This past semester I had the opportunity to take a class with a career psychologist. She gave us all the knowledge and wisdom she had to help us pick a career path that we would be happy and successful in. That said, her number one piece of advice was to pick something you are passionate about. Yes, money matters, and living comfortably is on everyone’s bucket list, but finding fulfillment in your career is just as important. Here are some of my takeaways from my own journey searching for fulfillment in my future career.
Find your passion
As a psychology major on the neuroscience track, I am looking to have a career in the social sciences. I knew this was the field I wanted to pursue from my very first lecture in a behavioral neuroscience course I took freshman year. Finding a job that makes me feel helpful and fulfilled at the end of each day is my number one goal, and I knew I could find that in psychology. No matter the field, your career should fuel you. Trust that your skills and interests will manifest the job you are meant to be in, the job that will truly make your work worth the effort. This will only be possible with a passion. Nurturing your passions will drive your purpose and open up a world of opportunities in the career of your choice. This will not happen overnight, and may seem elusive at first, but finding something that resonates with you will be worth it. Be patient, resist expectations, and upskill until you find a career that suits you.
Pursuit of status
You probably know where I am going with this, but as a reminder: your career is more than a mere representation of your social status. There is more to a profession than the suffix that will follow your name. Do not get distracted by expectations and chase a status that will not make you happy in the end. Doing this will likely result in career dissatisfaction. To reach fulfillment, focus on cultivating your dreams and ignoring whatever status comes with them. You will be more successful in something that is engaging and aligns with your personal goals rather than something that will make you the wealthiest and most educated in the room.
Our worlds are constantly changing and our values and skills can also fluctuate. Do not settle in one job just because you are good at it. You should think of your career path as a portfolio, not as just a single job. Explore different options, shadow mentors, and keep searching for something that feels right. Sometimes getting too comfortable in a situation can give you a false sense of happiness. A mediocre job can give you that sense of community, pay the bills, and maybe even give you a promotion, but it isn’t fulfilling. Challenge yourself to reach your goals and find a job that is worth spending your life in.
With that being said, start searching for your dream job that will leave you feeling fulfilled from 9 to 5 every day.