Finding the right career for you gives you security and stability, plus a standard of living that you find comfortable. It’s always a good thing when you find that you can get paid simply for doing what you love and that you’re good at doing! Finding your “life calling” involves the work you do and the person you become.
People commonly don’t thoroughly understand exactly what it is that they want to do with their lives. Career goals aren’t discovered by accident. A bit of effort, along with choices and decisions, are usually involved.
One career counselor developed the “Life Calling” method to aid people in figuring out exactly what it is that they should do career-wise with their lives. The formula involves enumerating your gifts, your passions, and your core values.
Your gifts are your general natural abilities and strengths. Passions, of course, are the things that you love. And values involve your basic personality and your lifestyle.
Whether you’re just starting to think about your future, contemplating a career change, or simply want to be satisfied in your current career, here are some tips that can serve to either help you find the right career, or discern if you’re already in it.
Discover your gifts. You’re likely already are aware of some gifts you have. You know you have specific talents, strengths and aptitudes. But if you truly don’t know yet what your gifts are, you may want to consider taking a career assessment test. Many free tests are easily available online. Once you come to an understanding of what your gifts are, you need to figure out where and how they can be used best.
Discover your passions. It’s possible that you don’t feel a level of passion about any one specific career. Conversely, you may have so many options that you love that you can’t decide from among them. Either way, beginning this process is a simple step.
Start out by taking an honest and focused look at what things matter to you the most. What is it that you deeply care about? Which issues are most important to you? Do you find that there are communities that you feel a deep connection to you?
It helps to write out a list. Here are just a few sample questions to get you started:
- Do you love architecture and art?
- Does computer science excite you?
- Do you choose to use only natural products?
- Do you love science? Or accounting? Or business and finance?
Look at where your two lists intersect. Analyze where your list of your gifts and your list of your passions seem to overlap or point in the same direction. For example, you may be good with numbers and spreadsheets and you love math, so you may want to consider working as an accountant. But you hold deep moral objections against large corporations, so you should consider a career with small, independent businesses. But further, you have issues working for someone else, so you should seriously consider starting your own accounting firm.
Explore all of your options. Nearly everyone is aware of the most basic career fields and professions. Some require extended education, such as medicine, law and engineering. A college education is required if you desire a career in business management, teaching, law enforcement and the sciences.
If you’re interested in a less-traditional career choice, you may find it helpful to read through the Occupational Outlook Handbook, released biennially by the U.S. government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Browse through to see which careers pay well, and what level of education the options require. Find the handbook online here: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Here are some other ways to make sure you’re exploring all of your options:
- Set up a consultation with a career counselor, or browse websites like LinkedIn and careerkey.org. This may help you find career options in which you can do something using your personal strengths, passions, gifts and abilities.
- Talk to family members, friends and the people who know you best about their careers. You can acquire lots of valuable information this way.
- Read through the U.S. Department of Labor’s website. This will help you see the range of salaries for different careers. You can also see there the number of job openings in specific professions, which is especially important before beginning an expensive education, as you can see if you would have future prospects available.
Researching the wide range of opportunities available may help you eliminate professions that may be in conflict with your values, gifts and passions. It’s also a good way to focus on careers that highlight your own personal set of skills and find something you’d love to do.
Make a specific, detailed career plan. Whether you’re just beginning in your career journey, or you’re moving into a new field, or you’re seeking a new job, it’s important to have a detailed plan. Having a personal plan in place will make it easier to make decisions as you move forward. As architects require blueprints to build structures, career-hunters require plans to kick-start their professions.
All of the research you’ve done should have yielded for you a list of job descriptions, employment fields and possible companies for which you may work. Now, you need to focus on planning the goals and resources necessary for your success. For example, how will you pay for further education? Are there companies for which you could serve as an intern, or participate in training programs while working? Be sure to include these options in your planning. The length of further education may increase the timetable of your planning. Watch for changes and improvements in your intended field of employment, and keep an eye on the companies in the industry.
Stay as flexible as you can, but maintain your values. Note that you will probably need to make adjustments to your plans as you live it out. Your plan needs to be flexible:
- Obstacles are almost certain to arise.
- Though you’ve thoroughly done your research, the marketplace may surprise you anyways.
- Experiences you have in school or in your new employment field may not be what you were expecting.
- As you age, your professional desires may need some adjusting; for example, your career may require frequent travel, but you would rather be at home more often.
Try to make sure that as you use your gifts doing what you love that you’re in an environment in which your core values can be reinforced.