In life, you need to date all the Mr. Wrongs to find your Mr. Right. Some people are lucky enough to find their soulmate in high school. Other people need to kiss a lot of frogs before they find their prince charming. Some people never even know what they’re looking for.
The same can be said about your career. It’s common, and completely normal, to work numerous jobs until you find “the one.” The one job that you want to do for the rest of your life. The one that makes you excited to get out of bed every morning. It’s confusing, exciting, frustrating, and wonderful all mixed into one.
For most, the career path is never a straight path. There are so many ups and downs you’ll wonder if you’re on a roller coaster or on the corporate ladder.
In my opinion, the type of jobs everyone has in their lifetime can be boiled down into four categories:
The “Right” Job
This is the job that checks all the boxes. It may be the first job you land after college. The job that you bought your first suit for. This job is exactly the type of job your college career counselor said you should get after college with your shiny new degree. The job that was supposed to be perfect. Until you realized it wasn’t. Great company. Great salary. Not at all what you imagined it would be. You struggle to leave this job because it’s supposed to meet all your expectations and more. But for some reason, it just doesn’t feel right for you. You’re unhappy, unfulfilled, and unlikely to do the work long term.
The Rebound Job
You’ll end up at this job once your muster up the courage to leave your so-called “right” job. It’s something different. A job that seems interesting and exciting in comparison to the one you just left. But in reality, it’s just something for you to escape your unhappiness while searching for the work you’d rather be doing. It’s the job you take when you know you don't want to do what you were doing, but you're not quite sure what you want to do next. Your day to day responsibilities are mundane and leave you feeling unfulfilled. This is the job that buys you time.
The Job Before The Dream Job
This is the job that is your forever job...almost. You’ve done a little bit of soul searching. The work is more aligned with where you see yourself long term. There are a lot of aspects you like. It’s more than tolerable. You’re happy and fulfilled enough, but there’s still something missing. This is the job that you’re comfortable staying at because it gives you the freedom to explore what you want to do next. A lot of people with stay at this job for an extended period of time because they're content.
The Dream Job
This is it. This is ‘the one.’ It’s everything you dreamed of and more. At this point, you’ve done a lot of soul-searching and self-discovery. This the the job you want to do forever. You’re happy and energized everyday. You’re excited to wake up in the morning because you love what you’re doing. For some, this will be a dream position at a dream company. For others, this will be starting their own company, so they can create the career and work they love. The possibilities are endless.
Ultimately in the workforce, there is no right or wrong. The ideal job and career path for one person, won’t always translate to another person's goals and aspirations. Straying from what society thinks you’re supposed to do is okay and even encouraged. At the end of the day, you need to be happy.
You are the one who needs to live with the decisions you make every day.
Trust your gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s okay to try something new. Don’t be deterred from trying new things because your diploma says you should have a certain kind of career. Forget the “shoulds” and “supposed tos.”
Do what makes you happy. You may have to kiss a lot of frogs, but you will get there. Trust me and, more importantly, trust yourself. No one knows you better than you do.