Your career is going to take up a significant chunk of your time. Indeed, at some points of the year, it’ll feel like your career takes up virtually all your time. And, as such, it’s going to have a significant impact on your overall happiness and enjoyment of life. So it’s important that it’s not just left to its own devices — if you’re going to have a happy professional life, then you’ll need to manage your career correctly. There are some things you can do that’ll push you towards having a career that’s satisfying, fulfilling, and all the rest. In this blog, we’re going to run through some of the key factors that’ll contribute towards having a successful career.
Your Skills and Weaknesses
You can have everything, but you can’t do everything. When it comes to choosing a career, it’s always a good idea to factor in your skills and weaknesses — that is to say, what you’re good at! However, this isn’t just something that you should do just once. It’s a good idea to review your skills from time to time. While you’ll probably give a pretty general assessment when you’re starting your career, when you’re in your industry, you can get more specific. This will allow you to specialise within your industry, which will be your key towards long-term employability, higher salaries, and, most likely, more job satisfaction.
The Right Company
What you actually do for your work is only part of the equation. The other side of the coin is the company that you work for. You might have your version of a dream job, but if you’re working for a company that isn’t right for you, then you’ll find it difficult to really enjoy it! There are many ways that a company may not be “right.” It could be that their culture isn’t in line with what you need (let’s say, a traditional working culture versus modern working culture). Or it could simply be that it’s a bad company to work for. It sometimes takes a few false starts before you land in a company where you feel like you can move.
Willing to Move
However, just because you’re working for a company that you like, that doesn’t mean that you should settle for working for them forever. This is true even if you love the company. It can be difficult to move on to pastures new, but it’s sometimes worthwhile doing so. For instance, you can often earn more money if you move to a new company. You might also find better career development opportunities in other places. Even if you love your company, it’s important to think about where you’ll be in five years if you stay with them — if they don’t offer any opportunities to grow, then it’s probably best to move to a company where you can grow.
You’re going to learn a lot when you leave college and enter the workforce. But are you going to know everything? Absolutely not. That’s because no one knows everything — that’s as true for people who have been working for fifty years as it is for people who have just gotten their first job. If you ask the world’s most successful people, they’ll tell you that they’re always learning. There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can engage in formal learning, for example, by taking courses and so forth. You can also do it in a more informal way. For example, by just generally having an open mindset and learning from people around you, your mistakes, things like that. So as long as you have a conscious “learning” mentality, you’ll go far.
Find a Mentor
You’re going to learn a lot throughout your career. The problem is that, often, you’ll learn the lesson later in your career, when really, you could have done with learning it early on. Of course, there’s no way that you can travel back in time to give your younger self some advice (not yet, anyway). However, you can do the next best thing. By finding a mentor, you’ll be able to access a treasure trove of knowledge and advice that you would not otherwise have access to. And that can be extremely useful when you’re navigating your career, especially during the “crossroads” moments.
There are many reasons why a person might choose one career over another. There could be financial motivations, skills motivations, or even location motivations, for example. But if you’re going to have a long and illustrious career, then it’s important that there’s at least some semblance of inner joy that you get from your work. While the money factor can be good in the beginning, it won’t sustain you through decades of work. If your work doesn’t spark joy on any level or at any point, then something isn’t right. At that point, you might consider shifting in a new direction — you’ll realise just how much good work can be when you’re doing something that you inherently enjoy.
There’ll be stressful moments during your career. But as a general rule, your work should not be stressful — if it is, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do it for several decades. The good news is that it’s always possible to minimise feelings of stress. It’s just that you need to prioritise some TLC! Your work is important, but your well-being is more important. Making time for yourself, setting boundaries, and engaging in self-care practices will ensure that you can do the distance.
Finally, we can’t offer a list of ways to have a successful career without mentioning one of the fundamental elements: working hard! There’s no substitute for it, unfortunately. If you want to have the career that you’ve always wanted to have, then there’ll be times when you need to prioritise work and minimise your time doing other things. It’s not about reaching the top of the mountain but about reaching your full potential.