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How do I know I have found the right career?

When I ask people how they knew that their current career was the right one for them they usually answer with "you just know" or "I'm happy" or "it just feel right". In a general sense I understand that but since I have not experienced it I am questioning if the vagueness of *just knowing*. What if I don't know? I'm not working yet (since I'm a confused college student) so how can I know I will be happy in that job? #career-counseling #career-development #job #career-paths #career-finding #july20

Hi Racheal! This is one of the issues that haunt me every time. On the basis my experiences, the best thing to do are: 1) Do internships. It doesn't always have to be related to your major. If you find any kind apprenticeships, internships, or even jobs interesting then give it a try. 2)Participate in workshops or events that has anything to do with your interests, major or career. 3)If there are any club or organizations related to your major or desired career path then be part of it. They provide valuable information like internships, job opportunities, scholarships, etc. Sometimes we even get to go on field trips in different companies where we get to observe the working environment and even network with professionals. Babita G.

Thank you so much. That was really helpful. It's really cool that you get to go on field trips like that.Thanks again. Racheal L.

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John’s Answer

Racheal some people immediately know what they want to have as a career. It might be a dream they have had since they were children, or it could be an idea that came to them later that they knew was exactly right for them, "it just feel right". Other people have a harder time picking their career path, and this can lead to uncertainty when they have decided to go ahead with something, even if they enjoy what they are doing. Asking yourself if you have chosen the right career is something that you might find yourself doing, but how can you answer that question honestly?


Plenty of people chase paychecks. Don’t be one of them. If your work satisfaction is based solely on money, you’ll be miserable in two years if you aren’t already now. Choose a career that revolves around work that you truly enjoy. We spend most of our waking hours on the job. Make sure it’s something you’re interested in doing.

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, your job outlook won’t hinge on one bad day. Likewise, every task won’t always be exciting and wonderful. Those content in their careers view these mundane tasks as a bridge towards a greater company or professional goal. The positive outlook makes the workday go quicker and gives it new meaning.

If you’re good at what you do, it doesn’t automatically mean you have picked the right career, but it does help. Some people are born with specific talents, and some are able to work hard to become masters at their particular sector. Using those talents and skills in your work will make the job much easier; if you’re struggling to do the work because it just isn’t something you’re good at or something you enjoy then you may have chosen the wrong path. It is best to assess your skills and see if they match up to the jobs you are applying for. If they do, then you will be more successful and be happier. If they don’t, there is sure to be something that does match, and you’ll simply need to look further afield.

If you feel excited about going to work and doing whatever it is you are asked to do, you are probably doing the right job. It is so important that people enjoy their work, and don’t necessarily look at the financial side of things. It is healthier and will make you happier if you are excited by your career. When you are excited about your job, you’ll wake up and be glad to go there. You might not even call it work because it just doesn’t feel like a chore. This is a wonderful state to be in, and is certainly not impossible. If you’re thinking of switching careers, then determining what it is that excites you is the first step and everything else can be worked out from there.

Engaged workers are driven to succeed at their current company. Is there a career path that you’re excited about? Are there opportunities to develop professionally? Team members that are invested in these options are more likely to take on new projects, challenge themselves, and ultimately invest more time and energy into the company.

Racheal choosing a career path is one of the most important decisions you can make, because life’s too short to be miserable at your job. Employees: look for companies that align with your interests, abilities, and sensibilities. And employers: create companies that people want to work for.

Hope this was Helpful Racheal

Thank you so much, John! This was extremely helpful and has made me think a lot about what it is I'm looking for in a career. I really appreciate the long, in depth message. I know I will look back at this a lot in the times to come. Thank you again! Racheal L.

Your Welcome Racheal, It was my Pleasure. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible”! John Frick

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Ceil’s Answer

The accurate answer is "you'll just know," since we only learn what sings to us in the doing of it. I'm guessing that your real question is something like "I hate my job and I fear this is NOT the right career." I'd go with that gut feeling, too, provided you first:
1. Is it the work, the organization, the people, or the manager you hate? If it's anything but the work, you need more evidence before deciding if you're in the right career.
2. If you hate the work, is it all the work, the way it's organized, or some other specific thing you hate? What would you prefer the work to be? It might be that you could re-craft the job to include more of what you love (it's called job crafting), without having to leave your current work.

There are assessments I'm sure that can help you, but they're all variations on astrology. Perhaps Marie Kondo's advice is most pertinent. When you think about your chosen career, does the very thought bring you joy?

Thank you for your input, unfortunately though, I don't think you understood what I was asking. I currently don't have a career, I'm a college student. I'm wonder how I will know whether or not a career I am considering is right for me. Racheal L.

Ah, thank you for the clarification. You have some wonderful answers to go with up there - lots of good thoughtful ideas about how you can confirm that a career you've chosen is right for you. All I can really add is that a career is like any relationship - it grows and changes over time, and early fireworks and happiness don't necessarily mean a career will be right for you long term - or that a hard slog early on won't turn into the best career ever. Imperative does some terrific work with Purpose - connecting you with work that is meaningful to you, and I encourage you to investigate that field - Ceil Tilney

Thank you, Ceil. Those are some wise words. I will put that into consideration and try not to make any hasty decisions that won't last long. Racheal L.

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Kim’s Answer

Hi Racheal,
You've been given some really good guidance with a number of options to explore. Tagging on to John's response, you may want to gain further insight into your natural/true strengths as a building block for career options. I agree that being good at something doesn't always translate to liking it. However, understanding the strengths that come naturally to you may help you better understand why you like some things better than others. At the same time it provides you with an understanding of what drives you. There are several assessments available. My favorite is StrengthsFinder. The assessment and resulting report focuses purely on your strengths and how they can be applied in a career. It may also help "bring you back to center" further down your career path if you feel like you have gone astray. Best wishes for your success.

Kim recommends the following next steps:

Research StrengthsFinder and other strengths assessments to find the right fit for you.
Take the assessment and review the resulting report for insights into your strengths and possible career options.
Retain the report for reference as your career path continues.

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Andres’s Answer

Hi Racheal,

I have experienced that is a mix of "art and science", where what you like the most meets what your natural skills.
Also, as you go along the way, while giving your best effort, opportunities will present to you and you will be building your career.

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Rebecca’s Answer

You can start on what you are interested on. E.g. You like drawing, photo taking, technologies, etc. Then, you can explore any career relevant to your interest, E.g. You can consider to become a painter if you like drawing, photographer if you like taking photos, etc.

You can do more research on the careers you have interest on. There is always difference between the reality and your expectation. You can also explore any intern opportunities to work in the area you are interested on.

Hope this help!

Thank you Rebecca. I'll put that onto consideration as make my search and make my decisions. Racheal L.

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Hoang’s Answer


Thanks for posting the question!

I think career is one of those abstract concepts where there's no one right answer, despite it being such an important part of modern society.

I personally based my career path upon subjects that I enjoyed in school.

Those who are part of your inner circle might know you well enough to provide you accurate feedback of your strengths and skill set.

Hoang recommends the following next steps:

Feedback from your loved ones.
List of interests, hobbies, favorite classes, activities.

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Helen’s Answer

You need to have a genuine Interest in the area, be motivated, and engaged by your day-to-day work this will allow you to be comfortable taking initiative and trusting your instincts.
You will feel it once you settle but it is important to give yourself time to settle in to a new job but once you don't dread the the next day you will enjoy it.

Thank you Helen for your response! I'll keep that in mind. Racheal L.