How will you pick a career that's right for you with thousands of options right at your feet? If you're anything like me, you will get overwhelmed by the thought of it and you'll plan to push it off until last minute. The task of picking the route you're going to travel for the rest of your life seems insurmountable when you're in the thick of the decision making process, but it really isn't. I was faced with this decision too and it took some time to figure out how to navigate through it, but I did it. And if I did it successfully, then you can as well. Trust me.
With two parents that never graduated high school, I wasn't planning on probably never going to college. I had already accomplished more than what was expected of me, so I wasn't going to continue. But the people that had just walked into my life encouraged me to check out a few schools, so I did for fun. I went with my best friend to check out Nyack college and I went with another person to check out Eastern Nazarene College. While sitting in on a few classes and attending both chapel services, I knew college would be the place for me. I fell in love with the idea of continuing my education and building a bigger life for myself than I had ever been planning on.
When I did pick a University to attend, which winded up being ENC btw, I was undecided with my major for a little over two years. I had no idea what I loved to do, especially because I had no direction when I was in grade school or anybody to help me develop my skills from a young age. I was seriously clueless. I enjoyed writing poetry? I loved being in front of a camera? Fashion was really cool? Are there any binge watch Netflix careers? I was so lost.
After some thought, I settled on wanting to be a traveling journalist. I could write. I could be on screen. I could dress all cute. And I could watch Netflix while on a plane. It sounded like a score.... or not.
When I met my husband Ron, everything changed. He put a lot of things into perspective for me. He sat with me and asked me a million questions to get a better understanding of what I enjoyed and then explained things in a practical way to me. I had no idea how a full time salary worked. I had no idea what a work/life balance meant. I had no idea about what a true internship or externship was. But he laid it all out for me.
A few days later, I got an email from the marketing department at my college. They told me that I was a very outgoing girl and since I wasn't working at the time, they wondered if I was interested in an opening that they had in their department. They explained that they had a part time job available and asked if I wanted the gig. I took it and the rest is history!
The head of the department had been in this industry for years and he was a complete expert in the field of marketing. He worked at the University and also owned his own agency, which I thought was the coolest thing ever! I was fascinated with how fast-paced, creative, analytical, and fun marketing was. I found myself working more hours than necessary at the department, because I enjoyed it and wanted to learn as much as possible. I even asked my boss to be my career mentor! We spent a lot of time together, where I was able to learn from his expertise and he encouraged me to get experience, as well as network with as many individuals as possible. He gave me a list of contacts to reach out to and I did. This networking resulted in me landing three big time internships that summer and fall semester.
During this season, I didn't sleep much. Not because I was stressed out or overwhelmed but because I stayed up late reading the latest marketing articles, watching multiple tutorials, and getting online certifications. I wanted to now how to market anything and everything, so I began to market myself. I started my own blog and began implementing everything that I was learning in the marketing world, into my blog. I saw what worked for my niche, and what did not and I kept track of it. Eventually, I found a system that worked for me. I quickly grew my Instagram following to over 40,000, my Pinterest following to over 1 million, and my website traffic to 10,000 per month.
I was on a roll, everything was clicking into place and it was then that I knew I had picked the right career.
Now I own a marketing agency called Sunday Morning Marketing, and it's pretty rad (If I do say so myself)!
So, all that being said, how can you pick your career?
Here are some questions to help you decide...
What are you good at, and what do you love?
Many think that this question is overrated, but it's not. There is no problem pursuing things that you are good at, but there is a problem with pursuing something too broad and impractical. Your passion is your starting point. For example, if you want to be a full time blogger, break down your goal into something smaller at first, like writing and editing. Then do a skills inventory on Google and see what other things you can bring to the table that will supplement your writing and editing abilities.
Are you promotion- or prevention-focused?
Promotion-focused professionals are total entrepreneurs. They work well in a quick setting, they love new opportunities, and they think creatively.
Prevention-focused professionals like maintaining status quo and protecting how far they've already come. They are very analytical and prefer planning.
FYI: I am a promotion-focused professional. I would feel totally suffocated in a 9-5. I want to work with companies that I am completely passionate about and could stay up around the clock for.
What is the best environment for your personality type?
I would definitely suggest doing the simplified Myers-Briggs personality test. This will help you pinpoint whether you are an introvert or an extrovert and see what kind of environment you'd thrive in.
Some other tips...
-Make a list of occupations to explore and go over them with someone that knows you well.
-Conduct some informational interviews. Arrange to meet with people who work in the occupations in which you are interested. They can provide firsthand knowledge about the careers you've researched.
- Put together a career action plan, a written document that lays out all the steps you will have to take to reach your goals.
If you have any questions about my field, I'd love to give you some tips or advice!
I understand how difficult this journey can be, but remember to pause and realize how awesome it is that you're able to even be faced with a decision like this.