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How did you know when you chose the career that best suited you?

Everyone has a dream job, but not every dream job goes exactly how it is thought to be in one's head. As a student with high aspirations and a vast imagination, I've found that the careers that I thought I wanted to pursue, were going to be life-changing, and I would finally be satisfied with my contribution to the world. However, once I actually started working in the field I once praised, I quickly began to realize that this was not the path I wanted to continue on in my life. I now know the feeling of knowing what I don't want to do in the "real world", but how do I know what I do want to do ultimately when the time comes? #dreamjob #lifechanges #newexperiences #insight

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Rachel’s Answer

You have to do what you love, otherwise it won't feel right and you will end up unhappy (and likley switch career paths). Go with the career sector that involves things you have always loved doing or seem interesting that you may love doing in the future. Stick to your intuition.

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Melisa’s Answer

Eric, Great question. As Rachel mentioned in her answer, you'll likely be happier when your job is something you also love. It may take some time to find that "dream job" but often times, trying different careers and opportunities you get might help you decide what you do or don't like, as you seem to have found.

This is an older article, but I've always liked the advice given. Think about three simple questions you can ask yourself to find your own "Career Sweet Spot.":

1) What brings you joy?

2) What are you good at?

3) What will people pay you to do.

Source: http://developmentcrossroads.com/2012/08/3-questions-to-find-your-career-sweet-spot/

A mentor introduced this concept to me and I remember thinking, I'd love to find that and today, I feel that I have.

Good luck to you in your career journey.

Melisa recommends the following next steps:

Reach out to mentors or others who are in fields that interest you or that you'd like to pursue to get their perspective on the job as well. Ask if you can informally interview them or maybe shadow them on the job and find out what their daily work might be like.

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Scott’s Answer

Ah, the ultimate question! It's a similar question to the classic "how do I find The One (romantically)?"

Ultimately, it's likely impossible within a lifetime to find your "perfect job" (ideal role, ideal industry, ideal workplace logistics, ideal location, ...). What's more, your interests will evolve throughout your entire career, so your target is moving constantly.

What you absolutely can do though is ask yourself often, "am I generally excited to show up at work every day?"

If the answer is "yes", you then by definition you make yourself happy Monday - Friday, which is a huge win. As well, you're likely good at what you do (if you weren't, your day would be filled with critique from your employer and that wouldn't be pleasant), which will likely bring you sufficient financial success and autonomy in your job. Both of these is incredibly important.

If the answer is "no", then you have a great opportunity to learn something about yourself. What is it that you dislike about showing up at work? Is it your role? Your industry is too high-pressure or too formal? Your colleagues are too casual? Whatever the reason, you can then reflect on how to improve upon that pain-point. If you don't like your role then think, "what is my preferred role?" Then aim to study the skills required for that role, reach out to people with a similar role, and learn how you can apply to that role! It's actually a very exciting process.

In short, you may never have the exact career best suited to you, but the process of approaching your best fit as your career goes on is exhilarating and empowering. And best of all, it's entirely in your power to journey in the right direction!

I wish you the best of luck in that very personal journey.