This post is made possible by support from the Forte Foundation. All opinions are my own.
For a very long time, I thought I had it all figured out.I thought I knew exactly where I wanted to be in my career, and in my early twenties, I was on my way to getting there.
But then two years ago I found myself feeling stuck and miserable at a job that I hated, and I suddenly knew that I needed to make a career change. It wasn’t a fun time at first. It was actually quite frightening. Frightening and disruptive and if I’m being honest – slightly problematic.
So I allowed myself to feel absolutely panicked for a couple of days, and after that, I started my journey of career discovery – aka, the most reflective two years of my life. Because between 2014 and 2016 I was on a quest for a job that suited me.I was trying to find work that I could love, and I was looking for a whole bunch of answers. After a lot of hard work and tons of introspection, I did ultimately find those answers, and today I’m a much happier camper because of it.
Today I’m the published author of Corporate Survival Guide For Your Twenties, the founder of this millennial career & lifestyle blog, and I’m also working at BlackDog Advertising as a social media manager/digital content strategist.
Finally, things are starting to make sense.
But it’s because of my journey that I’m really passionate about helping other young people find work that they love, and it’s also one of the reasons why I’m excited to share The Forte Foundation with as many people as possible.
In a nutshell, the Forte Foundation is pretty awesome. It’s a nonprofit organization focused on encouraging women to pursue careers in business, and with a network of over 75,000 members and 120 top schools, they’re able to help launch women into fulfilling business careers.
By offering a whole bunch of different professional development programs like webinars, hands-on conferences, and fellowships, Forte inspires women to pursue work that they love and provides them with the tools and resources to make their dreams happen.
Could have used a network like that when I was still in school!
So given all the stuff I’ve learned over the past few years, here are five things I wish I had known straight out of college that might have helped me find work that I love a whole lot faster.
1. There isN’t one right path
When I was in college, I thought that I was stuck pursuing a job in the field that I majored in. And even after I graduated, there was a part of me that felt it was the only path to go down. But there isn’t just one path, and it’s totally up to you to decide what makes the most sense in terms of your career. So don’t let people tell you that you HAVE to be a lawyer. Or that you HAVE to be a doctor. Or that you HAVE to be anything else that they want you to be. There are so many different things that you can do with your life, and at the end of the day, having a happy career means making these big-time decisions for no one other than yourself.
2. Take some time to reflect on what brings you joy
It’s really unfortunate that we’re asked to pick our majors so early on in life. At 18 years old, usually, we’re asked to pretty much decide what we want to do with the rest of our lives. But at 18, how much do we really know about ourselves, huh? Have we discovered what our passions are? Chances are we haven’t, and I know I certainly didn’t until recently. But as soon as I started to reflect on the things that mattered to me, I instantly saw how much clearer my career became to me. I started to connect the dots between the things that I loved and the things that I’m good at and it made my career decisions a whole lot easier. So before you make any big career moves, it’s probably a good idea to start asking yourself some important questions. What makes you happy? What brings you joy? And what do you think you could do for 8 hours a day that wouldn’t make you miserable?
3. Don’t spend your life chasing money
If you spend your whole life chasing money instead of passion, I promise you that sooner or later, you’re going to hate yourself for it. Money is nice. If I said I didn’t care about money, I’d be a big fat liar. But money can’t be the sole motivating factor when it comes to your career because there’s no amount of money that can help you if you hate your job. We go to work 40+ hours a week, 52 weeks a year (minus vacation time if you’re lucky). And while I don’t think most of us will skip into work because we’re just so freaking happy, I think that on most days, it shouldn’t be such a bad thing to go into work. Sure, we can’t be at the beach. Sure, we can’t be home watching Netflix. But at least we can be doing work that we’re somewhat passionate about and making a difference. Trust me – having money will never beat that feeling.
4. Start building your network as soon as possible
You don’t want to wait until you’re in your career to start working on your network. Because if you really think about it, there’s so much opportunity to start building your network way sooner than that. I mean, if I knew then what I know now, I’d be a little smarty-pants fifth grader handing out business cards in the play ground. Okay, fine, maybe fifth grade is too soon, but you know what I mean. Anytime that you’re connecting with others, especially in college, use those opportunities wisely, and start building relationships right there and then. You never know who’ll be helping you down the road, so it doesn’t hurt to have tons of great friends and colleagues around you.
5. Learn from others who’ve been in your shoes
When we’re young, it’s easy to dismiss the advice of others. We think, “What the heck could they possibly know?” and we kind of just do our own thing. Now, #1, that’s pretty rude. And #2, if you do that, you’re totally missing out on solid advice that could help you. So never turn down free advice. Instead, seek it out. The Internet is an amazing thing these days, and you have hundreds of thousands of resources right at your fingertips. And if you want, you can start right now. Visit http://fortedrivingforces.org/ to download 10 #Boss career tips and enter to win the #BossKit sweepstakes filled with items to help you succeed.
So there you have it! A few pieces of advice that I’ve learned over the years that have helped me find work that I love.
Want more career inspiration? You’re in luck! Check out Forté and download their 10 Boss Career Tips. Really great stuff in there!
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- Don’t Wait, Be Happy Now
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