The importance of choosing the “right” career needs to be handled with a delicate sort of balance.
It’s not fair to give anyone undue pressure to choose their career as if it will be the pivotal factor in their life’s happiness. Indeed there is much to be said about having the contentedness to just “get by” without chasing ladders.
On the flip side, you spend a decent portion of your life invested in your work, that’s just the nature of the beast. Naturally, your pleasure or pain here will carry over into other aspects of your life, so you don’t want to be where you’ll be miserable either.
But where you think you “should” be, and the best place you can be in may in fact be two different things.
Passions can be misleading
I’m a big advocate of letting your natural passions play a significant role in this decision, especially in your early years. However, if you are in search of a particular career that will be very demanding and require a lot of background preparation, you need to be sure you have the full passion.
One of my first articles for AGDAILY.com was none other than “Yes, I was an animal science major. No, I never wanted to be a vet.”
This article did very well on social media, and I think I can understand why.
In this article, I explained the natural expectations for someone who loves animals (e.g. be a vet) in contrast to the many career opportunities that passion actually could equate too.
Here is where a lot of people, especially young folks, are misled. Animals are a passion, but a very broad very generic passion. The emotional desire to help them leads many to one of the most over yet under glorified, professions there is – veterinary medicine.
You see, medical practice is another passion in and of itself. To practice medicine on animals you need both passions together to make a career. This is a field where you cannot simply love one side of the business and just have a half-hearted approach towards the other; both passions are pivotal to success.
This is one very specific example, but hopefully you can get where I am going with this.
Most careers are not a one-track thing, you need to embrace multiple elements otherwise failure or misery is likely to follow.
So, what makes the right fit?
Glad you asked.
In my career journey, I had to be realistic with my expectations while not ignoring my passions. I knew what I wanted to do but I needed to build a career journey that would actually provide me with the opportunity to reach that end goal.
That is, I wanted to work in animal agriculture, and eventually have some form of a livestock operation of my own. But to do that, I needed a career that covered several of my skills and interests to get me there.
Lo and behold, I (eventually, after a few trials and errors) became an ag writer. No I haven’t reached all my career goals and dreams yet, but I’m in the right place.
To get here, I had to make the hard career choices and ask myself the hard questions about not only what what I wanted, but also what I was willing to do.
In my follow-up AGDAILY article, I spoke to some actual vet students about their recommendations for deciding on vet medicine as a career.
Every single one of them mentioned the hardships future students would have to face, and the many different facets of the business you need to be passionate about.
This includes medical practice, learning and challenge. If you find those things resonate with you and don’t scare you off, veterinary medicine may be the right fit for you. If you don’t bode well with those things, maybe you need to ask if its the career you really want.
I encourage teens and young adults to really, truly get to know themselves as they go through job applications or major options. Part of that is knowing what you hate as much as what you love.
It means sitting down with yourself and being able to ask the hard questions of what you want, why you want it, and what you are and are not willing to do to get there.