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Pain of failing to choose the correct career

Photo Credit to Steven

In most of the interviews I have had with job seekers in the last 40 plus years, in both the UK and Israel, I regularly say, "It is relatively easy to find a job but painfully difficult to choose a career." With greater longevity we are working for many years, and so now choosing a fulfilling, satisfying and enjoyable career is even more crucial. Happiness at work is not a luxury.

When you see someone who appears always to be happy I bet he is working in a career perfectly suited to his skills and personality. Confucius said, "Find a job you like and you will never work a day in your life."

Do we choose a career? Rarely. Do we choose a career with the intensity and care that we choose a partner? Rarely. We tend to follow the general path that our academic advisors suggest (normally biased towards subjects that they themselves enjoy) or follow family trades or professions, or agree to parental ambitions of "my son the doctor".

At some stage in our lives we all have to face the often painful challenge of starting to search for our first or next career. The only exceptions are a very lucky tiny minority of people whose jobs are their hobby, their work totally satisfies them and they would happily continue without pay!

This is a hint how to start your search.

Do you have a hobby that could provide, with training, a source of income?

Next hint is to look at your family members. Are there any traditional family professions or businesses that you could pursue? Remembering to put aside any ego-motivated opposition to these - just to prove your "independence". Genetic careers can be a part of us - like the size and color of our eyes and our hair.

A further hint, even if it is not a very commendable character trait, is jealousy. Can you identify with any friend, acquaintance or family member who is so happy with his/her job that you are jealous? If so, maybe this could be a career for you.

Asking for career hints from your parents, partner, siblings and even your children can produce surprisingly positive and creative ideas. They may know you better than you know yourself!

Success in your chosen career requires two elements – the correct skills and correct personality. A well established psychometric testing company has sold millions of tests worldwide using the marketing slogan, "People obtain their jobs because of their skills and lose them because of their personality." Both elements are essential.

The key route to success in your career choice is "Self-Discovery". In describing the challenge of self-discovery, the world acclaimed psychiatrist Rabbi Dr Abraham J Twerski writes: "Most people say that a careful self-examination reveals many of their character defects, and this is frightening. It is not the discovery of our defects that is frightening, but the discovery of our strengths and skills. We discover how much good there is in us and how capable we really are."

When is the right time to consider, or reconsider, your career choice (…not just a new job)? This is very individual but there does seem to be a seven year cycle. However the worst and most painful time is when you have just been made unemployed because of career incompatibility, or when you cannot financially afford to learn a new profession. The stress and depression this can cause will magnify your task. If you see the writing on the wall in your present employment, start searching immediately.

Can career advisors help? Some may be able to relate to you – especially if they have had a similar painful crisis themselves. The regular well-meaning career teachers and psychologists are normally of little value and some even offer just superficial advice.

Only self-help works. If you are beginning to question your current career, start "looking in the mirror". Early diagnosis and action can prevent years of poor performance, lack of promotion and the even more dangerous, painful feelings of stress, frustration and anxiety. Good luck in your difficult task!

Nat Gordon is the founder of Marksman International Personnel Ltd, Israel's leading employment agency for English and multilingual personnel – since 1982.



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Tuesday, 16 April 2024

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