HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAREER
“Happiness is not in having money but in its quantity”. (A Common Sense joke with some merit)
Guys, I have spent 13 years of my life helping folks like yourself to become professionals. I was not only teaching the classes but also was mentoring people, teaching them to write strong resumes and get the job offer after the first interview.
You may or may not listen to my advice, it’s up to you. After all, every person is a builder of their own happiness (or miserable life). There is no action that you will participate in that will not affect your life one or another way. Whatever you decide to do will make a difference in your future life.
I have made some mistakes in my personal life but, alas, I did not make the mistakes in choosing a profession.
If you are a relatively young guy and still not sure which way to go, maybe my thoughts reflected in this article will assist you in making a decision. If you are NOT so young guy but still are at a crossroads, read what I think about choosing or changing a new career. It’s not late, trust me.
When my son was in his 10th grade and we had a conversation about which profession to choose, he said the following: “I’d rather have the job I love and low compensation than the job I despise and good compensation!”.
Do you know what I have told him in response? “Yeah, I get it, and, after coming from work around 6 PM, you will get back to your car and drive to your second job to deliver pizza because your family needs money”.
The difference in thinking was obvious: I had the life experience but my son was still a kid.
No doubt, his statement had the merit – who would love the job that you hated every day? The problem is not so simple to solve. So, let’s get to the root of it.
- We Live In the World Where the Money Is Ruling Almost Everything
We like it or not but if you have no money for even basic needs and for paying your bills you won’t be happy. It means your profession or occupation should pay enough to support your lifestyle.
There are so many articles about this matter that if you read all of them, you would be frustrated, at least. There are two opposing points of view:
- You can be happy with little money
- You must have a well-paying job not to dedicate your life “to live for work”
Let’s review the first statement A.
I am just curious what you do think about it? If you were seriously interested in the merit of this statement, you might read a few books including one from the guy who calls himself Money Mustache. The blog about “mustacheanism” can be found here.
I believe if you will assign a serious (I really mean “serious”) goal to live happily with little money, it is achievable but probably the same difficult (but not impossible) as to assign a goal to become a millionaire.
The whole idea to live on pennies becomes an obsession and your daily goal. You have to be ready to live with grocery coupons, looking through the latest sales and doing a comparison shopping for your food, renting the studio in the cheap places or, perhaps, living with a roommate (man or woman), and to have macaroni and cheese as a favorite food. To eat in restaurants would be probably out of question.
Still, as I said, it is possible because if your brain is conditioned to enjoy life in your free time and not pay attention to how and where you live… well, read the blog I have mentioned above.
Let’s review the second statement B.
Unfortunately, you must earn enough money to have freedom of choice: to be surrounded by successful people or with losers; to live in an apartment or the house; to drive old Chevrolet or newly rented Lexus; to live in the center of the city or the suburb where apartments are cheaper; to date a classy girl or the part-time waitress with a cigarette sticking out of her mouse… (not that I don’t respect their occupation). I could continue on and on but you got my point: it’s better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick… No secret here.
Fortunately, it’s up to you, man! With the right attitude and persistence, everything is achievable.
Don’t worry, I won’t brainwash you about working hard, setting goals, etc., etc. While it is the reality of this world, it rarely helps in your situations because, in most cases, people are looking for some magic clue on what to do next in life and how to choose the RIGHT WAY to a new profession.
Forget about any clue. Think straight. You need an occupation that pays enough money to support the lifestyle which you personally want for yourself. The higher your goal and desired lifestyle, than more money you need to make. Sorry to disappoint you, guys, but this is a reality of this life.
Money won’t buy you happiness but will make getting there easier. Orient yourself on having one job that would not require extra hours of your life spent on something trivial as delivering pizza part-time.
My son wanted to research in the field of medicine but this kind of work requires getting grants from the government. As you may assume, it is a potential problem as his job would depend on whether or not his organization got the grant. Getting to know the profession that is looking attractive requires some due diligence. Spend some time and learn as much as you can.
By the way, I was just faced with the fact that the average handyman makes $65/hr. Yes, without any degree! Just for having very good hands-on skills.
- The 9 Questions to Consider for Your Due Diligence
When I think about due diligence for choosing a profession, nine questions come to mind:
- How long this occupation will exist? If I will have 40-45 years of working life, will this profession be in demand for so long?
- Do I have enough intelligence or hands-on skills to be successful in this profession?
- What is the average compensation after working for 5-7 years with this occupation?
- How many people with this occupation are required in my area of living or the location I don’t mind choosing as my new home? Or, in short, what is a demand?
- What do I need to learn, and what professional level should I reach in order to make the maximum money in a chosen field?
- Do I need to pass any certifications, have any diplomas or degrees?
- How long does it take to learn my professional skills?
- How much does it cost? Well, money again…
- And, finally, would this profession be attractive to me?
I will elaborate on the need for answers to the questions shown above, but first, let me tell you a few stories from my life that will give you peace of mind.
When I was almost 40 years young, I was faced with a situation that many of you might be facing today: you need to choose either your first profession or even another one because the current profession is no longer viable. It was a recession time when people were laid off in bunches.
Agree that being faced with this situation in the middle of your working career is not fun. Yet, when you have the family and two kids, you have no choice but to swallow “why did I deserve it?” or “why did it happen to me?” and get to the “drawing board” again.
Well, I’ve grabbed the newspaper (it was before the Internet) and a piece of paper and began scrolling through the Help Wanted section. I have drawn a simple table: job position in one column and the number of similar ads in the second one. As a result, I found that there is a huge demand in the Computer Networking field. It sounded attractive since I was a technical person, and I had previous knowledge in the field of electronics.
Well, that evening I have turned my life on the right road to success. Several years later, I was working for the major University as a Novell Certified Network Engineer. How I got there is another story but my even small due diligence made a big impact on my life, and later even bigger impact on the life of more than 800 people that came through education in my Training Center that I have started a few years later.
Without the Internet, I could not answer all those 9 questions. In fact, I had no clue what Computer Networking is about until I spend some time in the library. But you, guys, have the luxury to search using the power of the Internet and search engines. A piece of cake, right?
Here is another story about the daughter of my old friend.
You might know about Columbia University - a private Ivy League research university in New York City, the oldest institution of higher education in New York, and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. So, in short, his daughter was able to get the loan, and, having the talent in art, have completed the education there.
To give you some idea about the cost of that education (and how much her parents had to spend), just one credit costs about $2,100, not counting the cost of the books and living expenses in NY. For Spring 2020, the tuition fee for only 15 credits is $25,968. So, to make a long story short, she’s gotten a degree in Arts and found a job as a teacher of art in a school. Salary? Around $50K/ year.
Can you believe it?!
To get the degree from an Ivy League university and get the job with only $50K a year without any prospect to get it much higher in the future (because the average salary for art teachers in the U.S. is $53,000).
Did she make her due diligence? Even if yes, it was poor preparation.
Now, let me ask you for how long she will pay her tuition loan? Maybe until retirement or beyond? She might like her job but, folks, do you think it was stupid?
- A Few Things I Need to Clarify
Here is another story about the son of my close friends.
He’s gotten a degree in Information Technologies from our local University, but several months of his attempts to find the job did not produce the results.
So, his parents asked me if I can put him in the training program for computer networking. Needless to say, after 7-months of training on an evening/weekend schedule, the guy got the job offer within 12 days after graduation.
You may think: "Why does it happen? Why 4-years degree does not guarantee the job?"
The answer is quite simple. The Universities and colleges deliver academic skills while the training program delivers technical skills that every employer is looking for. As a result, after graduating from college, you are getting the piece of paper that confirms that you have academic knowledge on a certain subject but no hands-on experience. If you took the training program in a vocational (occupational) school, you are ready for real-world tasks because you have hands-on skills.
There is the same approach is for career changers. If you have decided to change your career because your skills are no longer marketable, keep in mind that you have to have the hands-on skills and, perhaps, some experience (maybe as a volunteer or having completed some project?), so, the potential employer would feel more comfortable to hire you.
The last piece of advice: never be discouraged from getting a new career. I have plenty of examples when the men in their forties (taxi drivers, engineers, or mechanics) have successfully switched to another profession. What you need is the goal, solid due diligence, and enough persistence if you don’t want to hate every day of your life while looking for a better-paying job.
I wish you success in your endeavor.
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Author's Note: Please excuse any typos. I assure you that I will do my best to correct any errors if they were overlooked.