While we’re growing up in our teens it seems like adults have it all figured out. They went through the system and came out the other end with a solid career that fits their needs and skills. But we feel lost don’t we? Most of us don’t have a real idea of what we want to do for the rest of our lives. If we do, chances are that we’re wrong.
It turns out that adults really don’t have a better understanding of how to find the right career. A very good portion of the population is unhappy with their job. This means that yes there’s a decent amount of adults who feel chained to their current career for financial reasons but really, would rather be doing something else.
People work towards finding the right career for their entire lives. It’s one of our many challenges and probably the most difficult. Even after you do find a career that fulfils you, things change. You might find yourself having to start from the beginning at some point in your life.
The other part that makes it difficult for adults to advise students in their search for a fitting career is that the traditional path to success has changed in the past 20 years. In our parents time, the basic model was to go to school, graduate, find an entry level job, and work your way up the ladder. There wasn’t as much emphasis on finding a job that you loved, but this was still considered the way you gain the credibility to be able to search for a job that appealed to you.
That model is proving to be ever less true. College graduates are finding it more difficult than ever to get a job with the salary they need to begin paying off their debt. For one, the national student loan debt is higher than ever, and second, graduates simply don’t have the skills employers are looking for.
This model of working your way up the ranks of a company seems pretty secure but it isn’t at all. It puts all your eggs in one basket. If something happens with that company, you really do have to start at square one. This has happened to several members of my family and older friends throughout their careers.
There are a couple solutions to this problem. People feel like a way to have a secure career is by having a signal that shows your value for you. It’s far more effective to be intrinsically valuable. Building a powerful personal brand opens up far more connections than your degree or a certain amount of time at one company.
The other solution is to become an entrepreneur. It really doesn’t matter if a certain company or degree offers job security if you can create your own. The best part about entrepreneurship is that you can build whatever you want! Whatever you create, just make sure it’s something you care about. This seems far riskier than going to school and getting that entry level job, but it really isn’t. The entrepreneur is in control. He decides his future. He is taking a risk yes, but he is completely in control of the outcome.