Some of the most perpetrated career advice is “do what you love- you’ll never work a day in your life” – not only is this unrealistic but it sets those entering the workforce up for certain failure. There is an inordinate amount of pressure to find a career path that will not only fulfill your bleeding heart, but will also pay handsomely enough to cover those private student loans.

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It is unrealistic to think that every job that needs to be done could possibly satisfy all of your interests and aspirations for the rest of your life. While this is entirely speculatory- I would wager that your plumber doesn’t wake up every morning with the need to maintain your pipes to keep his heart beating. Instead- like most people, there are a variety of things (hobbies, friends/family, church, spicy foods, cute kittens) that your plumber probably looks to make their life complete. Instead, I propose a realignment of your career goals to not find complete personal satisfaction that defines your entire entity- but to find work that is a) interesting b) something that you can be successful in.

Define your goals. While this might need to be adjusted and refined as you grow into your career you probably have a rough idea of your general life goals and will give you a general direction between living off the land and climbing the corporate ladder.

Determine your strengths and weaknesses, then find areas that are realistic to develop. You can determine a lot about career satisfaction and potential success from your positions. Once you identify where you can be successful, pursue jobs in that field. This may mean identifying positions and searching by field or going by industry. If you have an extensive knowledge of airplanes- it makes sense to pursue aerospace and apply that kind of knowledge. The idea here is that you’re making strategic decisions in order to set yourself up for success. Of course you can determine what measures you’re using for success- we’re just suggesting that it doesn’t have to be curing diseases from 9-5 in order to find career satisfaction.

By choosing flexibility in your career path you’re allowing yourself the opportunity to advance at a rate similar to your talents and hard work, you’re opening yourself to professional experience you wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, and finally you’re establishing the fact that you are a well-rounded person.

Perhaps you will go into world-changing job with an impressive title- but in order to get there- or even to determine if that is the right field for you, you need to gain tangible work experience. You’ll be able to use this as a measure of development and success as well as open yourself up to fulfillment beyond your initial ideas.