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How to Build a Career You Love

Lacking a clear vision for what you want to do with your life? You are not alone.

It’s no secret: for millennials, job security is a term of the past.

We’re not setting out to follow the stable, predictable career paths of our parents. We’re not interested in sitting at a desk from 9 to 5 everyday for the next 40 years of our lives. For many of us, we’ve let go of the idea of a cushy pension, and we’ve learned to get comfortable working from contract to contract.

But there’s still a lot we haven’t figured out yet, like what the hell we’re supposed to do with our lives, for starters.

There’s all this continued pressure on millennials to “find a career you love so you never have to work another day in your life.”

Thanks for that, world.

Now if someone could please explain what exactly that is, and how exactly one is to go about achieving it – that would be great.

I think it’s important to point out that as humans, we want to work. We find fulfillment in contributing to projects that challenge us. We want to work with other people, and provide value to their lives.

I’ve been fortunate to have a strong sense of direction in my career since a young age. I knew I loved to write and I knew early on that I wanted make a career out of it. I’m so thrilled to say now that I am actually doing it – but it hasn’t been easy.

While I can’t tell you what your life purpose is, I can share some ideas for how to go about building a career you love.

Take control of your career.

I’m not suggesting you go hand in your notice to your boss right this second and kiss your full-time job (and those wonderful benefits) goodbye. But I think it’s important to be mindful of who has the ultimate say in your career trajectory. It never hurts to have a back up plan when you’re working for someone else – just to avoid any rugs being pulled out from under you.

What does this backup plan consist of, exactly, and how does one go about achieving it? You can start by keeping your mind open to opportunities to create multiple income streams. A side hustle – like dog walking or selling handmade jewelry on Etsy – is a great way to protect yourself from the unexpected, while bringing in some extra income to help you pay off large, recurring expenses like a student loan or car payment (or maybe even contribute to that backpacking trip you’ve been dreaming of).

The question is: how do you find a side hustle that would be the right fit for you?

Stop pressuring yourself to find your life purpose.

You’ve been told enough times to pause and really think about what you want to do with your life. But broad reflections like this don’t really help you make any progress, especially when you don’t even know where to begin.

Instead of constantly reflecting on what you are “meant to do,” just find somewhere to get started. Don’t be afraid to dive in. Be flexible and adaptable, and allow yourself the space you need to evolve along with your career path. You can always change your mind and take a new direction. In fact, your 20s are all about experimenting in your career. Once you accept that truth, you may be surprised with what you learn about yourself along the way. Every experience you face has a hand in shaping your future.

Ask your friends for feedback.

So you’re having a hard time figuring out what you’re really good at. What’s that one talent you have that you can build a career upon? The truth is, you probably don’t have “that one talent” – but instead have many talents that can be combined to create a career path unique to you.

Sometimes we overlook the skills we have. We feel like they’re not enough, and we’re constantly telling ourselves, “anyone can do that.” Our close friends are able to see past these clouds of doubt and remind us what we’re good at. Take their feedback seriously.

Look at past performance reviews.

That performance review at your full-time job may have felt meaningless at the time, but dig it up and take another look. Compare your reviews over time, from multiple employers, and look for recurring similarities – not only regarding your strengths, but also your weaknesses.

This will help you narrow in on key skill sets, while also making you aware of certain limitations. All of this information is helpful when building your own career or business. Start brainstorming ideas for your side hustle based on this feedback.

Let go of self-doubt.

If there’s anything or anyone holding you back from building the career of your dreams, it’s you. Stop making excuses and start proactively looking for ways to make a change.

Take action, and start small – it could be as simple as selling one handmade scarf on Etsy, or launching a blog to showcase your passion for video games. That first step is always the hardest, but once you take it, you’ll find it leads to another step, and then another one after that. There may be some setbacks along the way, but keep pushing forward.

Building your dream career takes a lot of time and effort. Fortunately, if there’s one thing millennials have on their side, it’s time. With that in mind, what do you really have to lose?

Are you thinking of making a career change? What’s holding you back from chasing the career of your dreams? Let us know in the comments!

by

Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is Co-Founder and Managing Editor at The Reply. She is a writer, blogger and amateur photographer with interests in positivity, creative muse, generational differences and the future of work. She has written for Canadian Business, Zoomer Magazine, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. At her company, Web of Words, she helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and dog-child. To learn more, check out her website at charlotteottaway.com and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.

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