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When choosing a career, do you prioritize enjoyment of a career or a career with a lot of potential?


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Carl’s Answer

Always prioritize a career that you find interesting, challenging and fulfilling. You will never enjoy every aspect of performing that job, that's why they pay you to do it. However, if you can't find some level of enjoyment and personal fulfillment in your career, you will be miserable. No amount of money is worth that.

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Lalitha’s Answer

Great question! I love this saying " Love what you do, Do what you love". It is important to pick a career that energizes you, allows you to use your strengths and grow and thrive. At the same time, a career gives you the ability to enjoy the lifestyle that you want. Dont worry too much about career potential when you start. As you start working and get exposed to many opportunities, you may find that you like doing something else that may end being your long term career. these are 3 rules to follow:
1. If you are passionate about something and really good at it, then pursue that as your career. This will automatically lead you to better career opportunities.
2. If you are passionate about something, but not very good at it, then pursue that as a hobby.
3. If you are really good at something, but it does not energize you (even if it pays well), then move on to something else.

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Francisco’s Answer

Hi Jiale!

I think this is a tricky question because careers don't have limited potentials, you put the limits on whatever career you pick. I think whatever field you decide to go into, there's limitless potential of what you can achieve, how far you want to go with it, and the goals you can set for yourself. There's art majors who have become incredible popular artists, business majors who have become multi-millionaires with their ventures, engineers who have become industry leaders, and doctors that save people with "incurable" illnesses.

A career is not something you pick and then go do the same thing for the rest of your life. You can mold it, edit it, expand it, and change it completely whenever you wish to. So my advise to you is look for a career that allows you to feel like the potential is endless for you. Focus on something you feel passionate about today, and that as your passions evolve you can edit or modify to match those ambitions. For example, I am passionate about solving problems and taking a project from start to end, therefore I became an engineer. Now, as I worked, I learned I want to be a leader, mentor people, and be part of strategic decisions, so I am working to advance in my career so I'm a leadership role, where I can have a sit in the decision making table, and I'm doing my best to mentor younger professionals (this website is part of those efforts). So for me my career as an engineer has limitless potential because I love it and I set the limits for how far can I go with it. You can definitely do the same in whatever you choose to do.

Best of luck! If you have more specific questions about careers or anything else feel free to reach out.

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Cheri’s Answer

You need to keep both enjoyment and potential in mind as you career choices. My advice when asked this type of question is to find something you are truly passionate about. If you are able to do that, the financial portion will come. Don't make money your top priority. If you are truly passionate about what you are doing work isn't just a job then. It is place that you are excited to go to and give to. The rest will fall into place.

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Rosemary’s Answer

As a student, even though it may not feel that way, your life changes fairly frequently--changing classes, schools, teachers, classmates, even locations as you move for college/grad programs. Once you start your career (or any job really), things are super exciting for a while and you're just learning the ropes and learning and fulfilling expectations until you reach a bit of a plateau--it doesn't necessarily get boring, but day to day, month to month, year to year, not as much will change as in your student years unless *you* initiate it, so think about what tasks you will enjoy, but think more about what kinds of challenges you will enjoy in both the short and long term.

For example, if you enjoy playing games, you may think you would love making games but that's about as valid a conclusion as saying someone who likes to eat food would love cooking it for tons of people every day. What you might actually love is the kinds of challenges in a game which often mirror challenges in the real world--optimization, resource management, teamwork, research and discovery, etc., all of which come with their own pros and cons. Often times the career that has the highest potential for you is the one you "enjoy" the most, and you usually can't enjoy a career for very long if there is no potential for change and development.

Finally, remember that it's never too late to change course--there are long-cuts for sure, but there are no dead ends no matter what you choose. Some of my favorite classmates in grad school were 50+ yrs old returning to school for a second career and they're thriving beautifully in their new careers.

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Lynn’s Answer

Like most things in life our careers tend to give us back what we put into them. The fulfillment will come based on what you've done to select the career, prepare for the career and your willingness to be open and learn. I'd venture to say that most people do not retire from the career they began in. Most important will be to always be a student. Never stop learning whether that is taking more classes, attending conferences, listening and learning from the outstanding leaders and peers who surround you. The choice of where you start can be complicated. Start with what's most attainable to you and always be looking for growth opportunities. If you start with a career that fits your abilities and strengths you are more likely to enjoy the career and be fulfilled. If you can't start in alignment with your strengths and passion then keep working toward that alignment. You are never stuck where you start as long as you remain open and continue to learn.

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Sandra’s Answer

Love this question! I would say prioritizing enjoyment of career. You have to enjoy what you do because then it loses its potential. If you hate your job, wake up dreading the day, and aren’t happy with your career choice chances are there’s no room for you to even see any potential cause it simply isn’t for you. Choose wisely and do what you enjoy. But of course set boundaries in regard to compensation.

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Pamela’s Answer

Hello !!
I think it is better to take both into consideration.
You can't be stuck in a career that you enjoy but with no future or no areas for development.
And also you can't choose a career that you don't like just because it presents lots of potentials.
For me, the ideal solution is to try to find a career that can provide a fair amount of both : joy and self satisfaction on one hand, potentials and personal development on the other.





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Brandon’s Answer

Prioritize both! These are definitely not mutually exclusive. But, if you have to prioritize one above the other, lean a bit towards prioritizing income. Here are several reasons why from my perspective.

First, it tends to be easier to migrate from a well-paying career path to a more enjoyable (but less well-paying) one than it is to do the opposite. So if you start off leaning towards seeking income, you can usually more easily shift away from it if you decide that's best for you.

Second, more income / resources should provide you more optionality. Optionality is is valuable for many reasons, including that things change in life and the more easily and less stressfully you are able to change with them, usually the happier you will be. Relatedly, more resources mean more options to enjoy yourself or share with others / causes. More resources may also mean more free time in the long run (over the course of your life) with which to seek enjoyment. For instance, maybe by pursuing the job with slightly less personal enjoyment but significantly more income you can retire 10 years earlier.

Third, income tends to be only attainable from your job, whereas enjoyment can be attainable in both your career and in your free time. For example, if you prioritize income (but still have significant enjoyment in your career), you can and will also also pursue enjoyment in your free time. The reverse is not true: people tend to not earn money in the their free time - they tend to spend it.

Ultimately, I strongly suggest pursuing both, but leaning a bit towards prioritizing income, and then changing course based on your personal values and circumstances.

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