Yes, being in the wrong career can kill you, it is a suicide mission. A slow, painless, and sometimes excruciatingly painful death. It will eat away your flesh bit by bit and drain your blood drop by drop until one day, on a bright afternoon, you drop down dead!
Well, growing up we all wanted to be doctors, surgeons, pilots and engineers. These were the top strata of careers and anything else ‘below’ was considered a total botch. Well, we faithfully went through the rigorous education system, exam after exam and lesson after lesson.
Some of us actually went to the school when corporal punishment was allowed, so we also endured the canes. We worked and strived harder each term, following through with this infantile dream. Fortunately, or unfortunately, most of us ended up in the “big” careers.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with such careers, only that they’re not meant for everyone.
Now, why are so many people so unhappy at work, hate their jobs, and constantly dream about quitting? I mean, they made it! Everyone in the village venerates them and tells their children to look up to them.
So, what happens when you move your hand against the grain of a velvet carpet? it’s rough right? and when you flow with the grain then the carpet feels very smooth. The same thing happens to us when it comes to careers.
We all have different personalities, according to Myers and Briggs, the two psychologists who came up with the famous MBTI assessments. When a career choice does not match your personality type, you will be moving against your psychological rhythm, against your personal grain. Stress and tension will build up, you will be extremely frustrated and more susceptible to burning out. Long-term stress leads to serious mental and health issues. An average adult spends 3500 days at work, in a wrong career, that’s 3500 days of misery. Is that worth enduring really? I think all that is a bit too expensive with too much at stake.
Not to mention how a toxic work environment can tint our relationships with loved ones.
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The best career choice is the one that matches your personality, if you are an Inspector (ISJT) be a Pathologist, if you a Counselor(INFJ) be a Psychologist or a Writer, if you are a Craftsman(ISTP) be the Engineer, if you are an Idealist (INFP) be a journalist, a copywriter, a marketer, a designer, heck, anything that utilizes that artistic flair. It is that simple.
Again, don’t forget that this is the Age of Information, things are now moving ‘online’. So research and see the new careers that are coming up, and learn and reinvent yourself. It is not that difficult and you don’t have to go back to freshman year, masterclasses and short courses are being offered almost everywhere, even virtually. Pick the one that suits you and is relevant to the evolving job market and jump right in. Trust me, you will be much happier and more fulfilled, or what Abraham Maslow called Self-actualized.
Whatever you do, be ‘relevant’, when your boss decides to retrench, tech savviness might just be the leverage that will save you.
So how do we land in the wrong careers? I already explained, we followed unhesitatingly what was considered ‘success’.
Secondly, lack proper career guidance, I am still trying to wrap my head around the career counselling offered in our schools today. More and more young people get to college entirely clueless, I remember having a classmate who dropped a course in her third year and went back to freshman year to start another course.
So many things can be said about Generation Z but I hold nothing against those kids, they self-actualize faster than most of us. Learn a thing or two from them, they don’t just stick to something they hate, they learn new things, are awfully tech savvy and if we’re not careful, they will replace us!