Choosing the Right Career

Consider two very similar individuals: They both work sixty hours a week, attend the same church, are married with kids, and even grew up in the same family. Yet ten years into their chosen careers, one earns $300k a year while the other $100k.

How can two people with such similar backgrounds and lifestyles have such vastly different earning power? In many such cases, the difference is the industry they chose to be a part of.

The career or industry we dedicate ourselves to has an enormous impact on every aspect of our lives. At the end of the day we’re all looking for that one career that will allow us to do the things we want to do for the rest of our lives, the career that will give us the greatest sense of fulfillment. Most of us don’t like to change our jobs or careers over and over again, so to help you get started in choosing your dream career, let’s look at ten reasons why people hate their jobs or love their jobs.

Ten reasons people hate their jobs:

1.       Low income potential

2.       Schedule—too restrictive, hours that don’t fit their lifestyle, etc.

3.       Lack of freedom

4.       Office politics

5.       Little room for career growth

6.       Lack of job security

7.       Distance

8.       Boring

9.       Disagreeable environment

10.   The boss!


Ten things people love about their jobs:

1.       Income potential

2.       Flexible schedule

3.       Freedom

4.       Lack of office politics

5.       Plenty of room for career growth

6.       Job security (as long as you perform)

7.       Distance

8.       Fun

9.       Great environment

10.   They love their boss!

Can you see a trend in these two lists? Many of the reasons people hate their jobs are distorted reflections of why other people absolutely love theirs. Ultimately, personal job satisfaction is about finding a career or a job that offers what we’re looking for, whatever that might be.

One of the many things that we forget is the fact that most of us will spend more time with the people we work with than with our own family. That’s why it’s very important to choose an environment where we find fulfillment and satisfaction on a number of levels.

Here are some factors to consider carefully when choosing the right career path:

Choose a career path that…

1.       Gives you the opportunity to have a life.

Eventually, you need to get to a point where you get to do the things you want to do outside of your work—golf, pick up your kids at three from school, coach, get involved in our local community or church, etc. Find fulfillment outside of the office.

2.       Gives you the opportunity to earn as much as you’d like based on your efforts.

We all need to understand that a six-figure income no longer means what it once meant. With the current inflation rate and the US National Debt, we have to really take inventory and realize that we are a only few years away from a $250k annual income meaning about as much as a $100k annual income. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that income isn’t important, especially in light of the troubled economy. Income is a means to doing what you want with your life.

3.       Teaches you something you can use in your own personal life.

For example, one of the benefits of getting involved in the financial industry is that you’ll learn how to manage your own finances. Will that serve you and your family? It sure will! We would all agree that many people have been taken advantage of financially in recent years, often due to a lack of education. If you learn how money works, you empower yourself to protect your family from being taken advantage of next.

4.       Allows you to use your God-given talents.

We all have gifts that can be used to increase productivity. I see many people who have the gift of public speaking, yet they’re stuck in a job that will never allow them to fully use that gift. Those gifts are things that you don’t want to lose. Pick a career that allows you to develop your natural talents to the betterment of yourself and those around you.

5.       Travel and see the world.

I’m a firm believer in working hard, but I also believe in taking a nice trip every six months with your coworkers to refuel yourself for the job ahead. But even if your workplace doesn’t share this particular view, there are so many beautiful places in the world to see that you should make time to visit them.

6.       Create equity for yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with working for one place for twenty to thirty years, provided you’re creating equity for yourself. Obviously it’s all about you bringing value to the company, but eventually you know that you have a shot at equity in the firm.

7.       Generate a passive income.

There are many jobs or careers that are either paid hourly or salary. I remember working at a gym and asking myself why they were losing so many great salesmen. I decided to go to the regional manager with a proposal: What if the gym started paying 5% of the monthly membership dues to the salesman who generated that sale? I showed them how that would encourage the employees to stick around because they wouldn’t want to lose their passive income. Such a strategy would also make the employees more conscientious about members keeping their memberships. But they didn’t implement the plan, and they were bought out a few months ago. There’s so much security in knowing that if you stay at one place long enough eventually you could make $5,000, $10,000, or $20,000 a month from the old business that you brought in. That’s how it works in some industries if you look very carefully, especially in the financial industry.

8.       Is fun!

We only live once, and we may as well enjoy the ride. I’ve worked in very uptight environments that leave very little room for creativity and ideas; eventually the job gets very boring. But a fun environment keeps you excited and fired up every single day.

With all of this advice in mind, remember that no job will offer all of these things to you right off the bat—you have to earn them. The key is to know that total job satisfaction is available if you give it your all.


Patrick Bet-David
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