H. H. Swami Mukundananda gives tips to the youth for making wise career choices
Most people spend almost one-third of their time at work—roughly 80,000 hours over a 40-year career. If you dislike the work you do, then a major portion of your daily routine will be drab or even torture. Instead, if you choose a profession that you find meaningful and enjoyable, then one-third of your day will be immensely satisfying. Considering that, it becomes important to choose your profession carefully. We will discuss here the characteristics of a good career and how to find a career that is best for you.
• The nature of work must be engaging. Job satisfaction comes, not from the salary you earn, but from what you do day by day and hour by hour. If you find the work engaging and interesting, then it holds your attention and helps you get into a state of flow.
• There must be ample opportunities to learn and grow: The biggest reason for boredom at work is the flattening of the learning curve. When people feel that their work is monotonous and tedious, they become disinterested. Job satisfaction is high when opportunities to learn new ideas and master new skills keep coming.
• The work should be challenging: When asked what kind of job they would like, most people say “One that is not too stressful.” But experience shows that undemanding work is undesirable because it becomes dull and uninteresting. Fulfilment comes from work that challenges you. Hence, a suitable job is one that makes you exert beyond your comfort zone, but not so far that you suffer mental anguish.
• The work should make a difference to the lives of others: A research study published in the Harvard Business Review in 2016 found that amongst people working and earning equal salaries, those who gave to charity were always happier than those who did not. If you perceive that your work is making a positive impact on this world, it will result in inner fulfilment.
• It should be work that you are good at: When you can do something well, the sense of achievement is a huge source of happiness. Further, your expertise and abilities give you greater power to negotiate the best jobs and remunerations in your field. You get to work on important projects.
What to do when you are unsure of your career path?
Youngsters are in the mode of exploring their talents, likes, and dislikes, and hence, their goals and aspirations evolve with time. While many want to follow their passion, that is not always a realistic career goal. When unsure of your job or career interest, try the following:
• Explore your aptitude and strengths: For some, maths and science come easy; while for others, writing, reading, and language arts are strong subjects. Try out an aptitude test and discover the various career paths available that highlight your skills and interests. Then research those careers within the field of interest.
• Intern or job-shadow: Part-time jobs, such as internships, help us learn valuable skills: management, people skills, public speaking, problem-solving, etc. These provide us with work experience and a sneak preview into what’s ahead. Another way to research jobs is to job-shadow one person, where you watch them at their workplace and observe job responsibilities. Also, try volunteering your existing skills to gauge if they interest you enough to pursue as a career.
• Take a personality test: Do you like to work in groups or on your own? Are you naturally a leader or a collaborator? Are you better suited to work for others or venture into entrepreneurism? Personality tests help answer these questions and give greater clarity on goals.
• Research industries and their projections: Look at online resources and talk to people in different sectors of work to learn how a particular industry is performing. Explore both current and future prospects of that profession.
Remember, money is undoubtedly important to ensure the standard of living you desire. Yet, emotional well-being and inner satisfaction are equally important. Hence, take the time to evaluate your talents and interests, along with meaning and purpose. This is the recipe for choosing a wise career for yourself.
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