The exams have finally ended! Phew. You can embrace this period for a while before the realisation hits you that school is actually the easier part of life. Choosing a career and giving it your 100% is the real task. And to top it all, there are many career myths or misconceptions that halt your journey to a stop. As a current student, or an intern, you might be having many questions related to the development of your career. Questions like ‘What will I do with my degree?’ or ‘How do I know if I’m making the right choice?’ As someone who has just begun working, there are still doubts about where you’re headed. These questions might even give you some anxiety, when you have no foresight into the future. However, there are many myths developed over decades that give rise to this uncertainty. This blogpost aims to debunk some of them, at the same time clearing the many doubts that you might have against your future career goals.
Myth No. 1: Everyone already has it all planned out
This isn’t true most of the time. Many students change their major subject a few times before they graduate with a degree of their choice. One cannot know for sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives without having experiences or understanding themselves. You think your friends and peers have it all figured out, but they may have gone through, or may be going through the same decision-making process to access what they actually want to do. Just because you have decided to be a lawyer, does not really mean that you’d be one for the rest of your life. And that brings us to the second point:
Myth No. 2: Once you’ve chosen a career, you stick to it for life.
You’ve spent a good portion of your academic life prepping for Chemical Engineering. But only recently have you discovered that you’re inclined towards biology. Years of hard work and time are already invested in your career, and you’re anxious about putting that all behind and spending a couple of more years studying again but in a different field this time.It is reported that an average person goes through at least 6 careers in their lives before retirement. Shocking, isn’t it? But also very true – choosing a career option now does not guarantee or limit you to that same position 10 years from now, or even 5 years for that matter. So, if you’re unsure or unhappy with your career plan, you can reassess what you wish to do and get yourself back on your desired track! It will require patience and alot of deliberating before making the big switch.
Myth No. 3: You might hate it now, but you’ll grow to love it
Starting on a job that you dread from day one is the glaring red signal that tells you to re-direct your path. You think you’ll grow to like it. A year has passed and you still find it daunting to leave the house and face the colleagues and the tasks which you already hate. To tell you the truth, it’s not going to get better, and you need to consider handing in your papers and giving yourself a break to reassess.
As it has been mentioned before, this is not the end of the world – changing a career, or just the firm that you’re working in, too quickly does not undermine your abilities or make you look like a failure. In fact, it has become ‘trendy’ to change your job every couple of years. Some might even feel outdated not to do so! While being trendy isn’t a reason to switch roles or careers, it would be wise to take stock of your professional growth and direction and give yourself a second chance (or a third or fourth, nobody’s judging and nobody’s keeping tabs).
Myth No. 4: You must choose a career based on your passion
Passion-driven careers do not guarantee the perfect job role for you. What you need to understand is that it’s not just the passion for that job, say as a singer or a litigator that should keep you hooked onto the job role. What if you love to sing, and are pretty darn good at it, but you’re also an introvert and cannot face the stage without a mini panic attack? Or let’s say, you’re pretty good at manipulating decisions but you hate reading! You need to reflect on yourself – your skills, personality traits, threshold, capacity, along with your interest of course, to make sure that you’ve chosen the correct career option for yourself. So before making a definite decision, you must consider the perfect balance between skills, interests, and the output.
Myth No. 5: Hard work will ensure a climb up the ladder
This could be hard for some of you to digest, but working hard does not necessarily mean that you’re on the path towards success. Spending hours on desk or on site to appease your employer may not be the best way to impress them. Focus on your skills and not the amount of time you spend on a task. There is someone else that might get the job done much faster and also more efficiently; take inspiration from that person. If you’re working towards an appraisal, then deliver beyond your job description, look for opportunities that show your skill sets above your profile and required day-to-day tasks. If you think you need to study further, or take a course to hone your skills, then take that course to get ahead. Hard work is important but what’s better? Smart work.
As Mark Twain has said, “The trouble with the world is not that people know too little; it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so.” When we’re not sure about something, we must keep exploring or researching to find our answers. When you have doubts or anxieties related to your career options, you can always reach out to our Career Guidance experts at Young Scholarz who can provide the right counselling you need to move forward.