One of the biggest pressures young people face is in finding a good job that would support them financially. The ideal scenario is that they would find one that is perfectly compatible with their skills but is not too stressful, pays well, and has prestige. However, this is not the real situation they find themselves in most of the time.
Entry-level jobs, for the most part, do not have a well-defined description. This means that you may find yourself taking care of many tasks that have very little to do with your specific training, and you’re continually dealing with learning curves. Besides this, your goal shifts from doing what fulfils you to meeting the expectations of the higher-ups. It goes without saying that the early stage of building a career can often be laced heavily with disappointments and frustrations.
Attitude Is a Game-Changer
Despite the less-than-ideal reality, it’s important to maintain a positive mindset. This is easier said than done, naturally, but attitude is the real game-changer when you want to lay down a solid foundation for your career. This is one nugget of wisdom that the best performance coaches always reiterate.
Indeed, it helps significantly to be kind to yourself and be open to all that you still have to figure out. After all, labour statistics reveal that it’s rare for young people to hold down the same job for a long time. Between the ages of 18 and 40, people switch jobs about 10 to 12 times on the way to finding their true career. They either leave their company and search for different employment, or advance in the rankings, or serve in the same field but with a new job title.
That being said, always make the most of what you currently have to keep on moving forward. It’s also best to try to enjoy the process because this is one of the keys to experiencing real growth in your work.
It’s Crucial to Understand Yourself
Aside from having a positive attitude, it’s likewise important to understand the kind of person you are to work toward your career goal effectively. The little details of your personality, such as your preferences and working style, can have a huge impact on your ability to succeed in your job.
For example, do you prefer a workplace that’s close to your home because you find long commutes mentally draining? This is something to take into great consideration when you start looking for employment. Do you want work-life balance because adequate time away from work actually serves as your fuel for your job? Then, find a company whose values and operations will allow you to establish a good sense of work and life balance.
It’s vital to assess your aptitude or skills as well. Be honest about what your strengths are, as well as in which areas you still need some mentorship or extra training. Choosing to work for a company that is devoted to growth and offers talent development services can prove to be the best for cultivating your dream career.
A better understanding of oneself will allow you to create a more pleasant employment experience. It will also make you emotionally invested in your job, which will motivate you to become better at everything you do. Best of all, it will establish your worth, which you should always keep in mind when discussing your salary.
Learning Doesn’t Stop
For all career-oriented individuals, education is a lifelong commitment. Continuous learning will not give you a boost in whatever job you have, but it can also keep you happy in your journey towards finding the career you want.
Another critical lesson when building a career is that there are always new things to learn. Say, for example, you’re a chef; it will help you to have diverse know-how, especially when you move from working in a restaurant to owning a restaurant. To keep operational costs low, you may want to prepare most of your products in-house.
Therefore, if you have specialised in French cuisine, it would help to hone your skills in preparing bread and desserts as well. Consider enrolling in a French macaron class or an artisan bread baking class. These are highly useful skills to have, particularly when you want to grow your business.
It’s essential to mention as well that continuous learning will help you create a sustainable career. You’ll be able to adapt to changes and roll with trends more easily.
Networking Is a Must
Whether you are employed or running your own business, an integral part of supporting your career is building connections. It needs to be a conscientious effort to reach out your hand to others. Grab all the opportunities you have to link up with others, and this, more often than not, will work to your advantage.
Although most people tend to frown upon the idea of getting somewhere due to connections, this is simply the dynamics within the business or professional realm. So, learn how to network and connect with as many people or organisations as you can.
You Don’t Love Everything About a Career, But It’s Fulfilling
The common differentiation people make between a job and a career is that a job is something that you just do, while a career is something that you love doing. But, the truth of the matter is, even with such definition, a career does not always involve activities you love or even enjoy doing.
There are still a lot of technical aspects about this love- or passion-driven source of livelihood that are no fun. The consolation here is that you are doing what you’re good at, and you’re generating results that you can genuinely be proud of. It’s imperative to get in full touch with this reality. Otherwise, you can waste so much time just searching for the dream career.
So, do remind yourself constantly that building a career does not take place in just one point in time; it’s a long-term process, and there are so many changes to expect along the way. This is why you should focus more on doing every single task with quality. Be and do what you must until you get to that place in your professional life wherein you are no longer struggling too much, and there are more of those moments of happiness and satisfaction.
Leila Rezaiguia is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Kompass Consultancy, an innovative global talent management consultancy headquartered in Dubai and with offices in Abu Dhabi and Sydney, that specialises in enabling individuals, organisations and educational institutions to achieve performance excellence and career success. Leila is a multi-lingual (English, Arabic and French) PCC Coach, Mentor Coach, Trainer, Facilitator and Business Mentor who is passionate about coaching, women in leadership, talent management and organisational development.