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

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

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.

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