The road to choosing a career may be marked by curves and bends; but one wrong turn can cause a detour to last for your entire life, keeping you from reaching your destination. Hence, you have to carefully unfold the intertwined strings of your career so as to find your perfect job. Any mistake in untying the threads can land you in a completely different profession not meant for you. Just like a Virat Kohli cannot prosper in the field of Ed Sheeran, similarly, a person meant to be a Writer cannot do well in Engineering.
To avoid such mess-ups you should consciously refrain from committing the following deadly sins:
1. Submitting to Parental Pressure
Oftentimes, parents urge their children to pursue popular career paths, or even professions they are a part of (a doctor’s child should be a doctor), without considering what the child is fit for. However, it is you who has to spend your life in that career, so make sure you take the best decision for yourself. Parents want the best for you, but they may not always know what’s best for you. Taking in their inputs is important, since they also speak from experience, but whole-heartedly submitting to their opinions without giving it a second thought or curbing your dreams to gain their approval, not a good thing.
2. Not Listening to the People Around You
While this point may seem like a counter to the previous (“you just told me I should not listen to my parents?”), listening to others is not the same as submitting to their wishes without a thought. You’d be surprised to know how much you can learn by listening to people around you, like your parents, friends, relatives, seniors and counsellors. Talk to them about their motivations, ambitions, goals and learnings in life, and use it to learn how they got to where they are today and how you want to lead your own life.
At times, taking help from a professional career counsellor can also prove to be helpful, as they can share valuable knowledge and insights about different careers and help you choose the right ones for you.
3. Not Taking the Time to Understand Yourself
This is perhaps the biggest mistake you can commit. Without knowing who you are and what would make you happy, how is it possible for you to make a wise and informed career decision? The first step in any great endeavour is self-knowledge. According to Psychology Today, the building blocks for Self-Knowledge are Values; Interests; Temperament; Around-the-Clock Activities; Life Mission and Goals; and Strengths/Skills. Try to understand your self by reflecting over fundamentals like your values, interests, passions, strengths, areas of improvement, motivations and personality.
This may take some time, but it will be worth your while. When you find the answers to questions like “Who are you?”, “What would make you happy?” and “What is your purpose in life?”, your career decisions will start making sense to you.
4. Not Enjoying What You Do
Enjoying what you do should be the most important aspect of one’s life. The cardinal aim of finding a career is to find a purpose in life (not money). Choosing a career you’re passionate about, one that incorporates things that excite you, is the right step in finding that purpose. One of the biggest indicators that you’re on the wrong career path is that you don’t enjoy it. Of course, work is work, and you don’t have to love it all the time, but a certain degree of enjoyment is necessary to pursue it in the longer term. To ensure this, again go back to the point #3, and search for something that interests you the most.
5. Not Leaving Your Comfort Zone
Residing within your blanket of comfort, you will not get to taste the different flavours different professions have to offer, as a result of which you might never come across your perfect career. By fixating on a career option without first exploring what the world of careers has to offer, you will only hamper your personal growth. Leave your comfort zone and open your mind up to possibilities – did you know there are hundreds of career options available today?
Hence, look out for careers that are very different from what you already have in mind, and widen your horizons before you start ruling things out.
6. Not Utilising Time Effectively
If you want to have a great career, then you have to avoid wasting time and start investing it in your personal growth. Attend seminars, workshops; read books, articles, newspapers; participate in extra-curricular activities; join clubs and societies; play sports; engage in vocational activities like dancing, singing, painting and turn yourself into a powerhouse of productivity and performance.
Lack of extracurricular activities, internships, voluntary participation in NGO drives and less efficiency in time management will only make your college applications weak and your job resumes less impactful. They will not only get you closer to finding your career goals, but will also take you closer to achieving them.
7. Expecting Too Low From Yourself
Keeping low expectations can be hazardous in your career journey. Whenever you think about your dream university, a position of responsibility, the willingness to land up in your dream job, you must believe in yourself. No person who did well in life ever reached their destination by dreaming small. Rather, they set big, bold and challenging goals that make them strive to achieve big things and help them learn from their failures.
Whenever you think of a goal, go one step ahead and set it at least 2 notches higher. Struggling through to reach it will teach you a lot more than getting to a smaller goal that is easily achieved. Aiming high widens your boundaries and causes you to think and work differently. The only way you can achieve something big is by thinking big.
(+2) Bonus Sins:
These two sins are something I strongly believe in, and ones I always share with my counselees. They will help you in not just your career choice, but in your career journey itself.
8. Not Keeping a Positive Mindset and Giving Up Easily
Staying determined on your path requires a positive mindset. You would be surprised to know how much of a difference your belief about yourself can make a difference to your success and happiness in life. Don’t let others deter you with their limited thinking or opinions. Stay focused on the path that brings you contentment and success will soon follow your happiness.
9. Not Standing Up for Yourself
It is essential to stand up for yourself, for your expression of thoughts, your aspirations, goals, and career choices in life. Do not let others pressurise you into doing or pursuing something you don’t believe in. Learn to express yourself openly and honestly in front of your peers, teachers, parents. Try to avoid combative tones or accusatory words. Clarify exactly what you meant and don’t settle for something unjustified.
These deadly sins can take you down a dangerous path, so avoid them like the plague. Aim high, stay focused, and success will knock at your doors!
Recommended Read: 6 Real Life Stories of How My Friends & I Made Our Career Decisions
Do you think there are any other sins that should be avoided? Have you ever fallen prey to the ones listed above? I would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.