How to find your career sweet spot
Not sure about the career you want to pursue? Don’t think the job you’re in is a perfect match? Well, you’re not alone
I THOUGHT I WAS going to study fine art after school. I decided to take a gap year, which turned into four, during which time I changed my mind. After a year at university doing a Bachelor of Arts, I decided it wasn’t for me and opted to study specialeffects makeup instead. After a year of that, I realised I didn’t want to do that either. (See the pattern here?) I had an existential crisis: at 24, shouldn’t I know exactly what I wanted to do with my life? But here’s the thing: you shouldn’t. Or, at least, it’s OK if you don’t.
Take these tips and apply them to your career sweet spot diagram to identify your best fit. Got a clearer picture? Now you need to figure out how to get there... TO STUDY OR NOT? If you want a degree
‘Start with a broadbased bachelor’s degree with subjects that pique your interest,’ says career development consultant Annette Miller. ‘This gives you a year to understand which fields could excite you longterm.’ Then pick more specific subjects in your next few years. If your career sweet spot results suggest numbers and finance as a great track for you, opt for a broad business or finance course to upskill yourself without having to lock down an exact career yet.
If a degree isn’t for you
‘Consider a oneyear highercertificate course in something practical, such as personal training, computer skills or basic business principles,’ says Miller. ‘You’ll achieve a recognised qualification while learning valuable skills, and get the space you need to make informed career choices.’
If you want paid experience
There are paid internships and work experience that only require high school entry and offer onthejob training. Many large businesses also advertise internships on their company websites.
It’s OK to change your mind
Career indecisiveness affects everyone – stats indicate that the average person changes their career five to seven times in their working life. ‘In the past, people would work for an organisation for 40 years until they retired,’ says Miller. ‘Today, we are more inclined to seek significance, worklife balance, and the potential to invest and retire early.’
That’s what drove personal trainer Rushda Moosajee. After five years as a designer in publishing, she wanted to try other avenues. ‘I wanted to give more and be more,’ she says. ‘I was driven by the positivity and strength that shifting your body could create in other areas of life. Through my own journey I inspired other women almost by mistake – it was organic.’ Moosajee quit her job and redirected her career towards fitness. ‘My parents thought I was making a mistake and that I wouldn’t be financially secure. But I don’t just work in the gym – I have an online business and use social media to sell diet plans.’
Your career is not set in stone – you can find or create a job you’ll be excited to wake up for every day. Not knowing which career path to pursue can feel like a catastrophe, but it isn’t the end of the world. Explore your options, continue to learn, and keep your eyes and ears open.