My early career was a follow-the-crowd formula with a Bachelors degree onto a well-paid tech job onto changing for a higher pay in 5 years. While I have nothing against pursuing a fatter paycheck, it just that it kept me off-track. As a result, I had trouble finding my true north – a dream career I’d love.
Today I’m well on my dream career path and here’s my 3-point simple “message in a bottle” parceled via time machine, addressed to you, my younger self (YS).
1. You define your dream career, don’t outsource it
14 years ago, just into my first job, I painfully chewed every critical feedback with a fixed mindset that I was limited by my inborn talents.
I was enthralled, as I read a neuroscience revelation on growth mindset that I can acquire as many skills as I wish if I worked on them.
So my dear YS, Take charge of your personal identity. Don’t undermine the valuable feedback that helps refine your individuality but never let your bosses, colleagues and community judge their way to your sense of self.
2. Work to build your dream career, not your resume
Few years ago I sat on my appraisal discussion with an amazing boss. I presented a carefully scouted list of annual accomplishments and personally solicited appreciation letters from customers. I anxiously waited for him to reveal his hopefully big plans for me. This first question he asked still remains etched in my memory: Does what you do, excite you?. Although I did not have a succinct answer, it was an aha moment for what was missing in my career.
My beloved YS, Realize that career path is a journey that you’re excited to embark on, to narrate stories of, having used your innate and acquired talents to make a difference to your company, daring to solve big problems, losing your sense of self to a purpose much higher.
3. Make money work for you, don’t work for money
A year back, I went on an unpaid leave of absence from work to pursue my dream of getting back to college to learn what I wanted to. That helped change my trajectory.
It was an opportunity cost, but it paved way for a meaningful path that I’d always wanted.
Now dearest YS, What would you do if you were not afraid?. Listen to your soft inner voice. Do what you love; love what you do. Experiment, get better and be awesome at what you love doing. By law of karma, money will follow.
Here’s the benefit of my experience handed to you on a silver plate but as the paradox of experiential wisdom would have it, you will get wiser from your experience than from this advice.
So, all the very best, believing in yourself!
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Now, it is your turn to let your younger self, know what you’ve learned. Let the world know what you’ve been through to become the person you are, today!
1. What major event do you consider a turning point in your career?
2. Which conversation was an ‘aha’ moment to your career?
3. What are some of the fears you’ve overcome to be where you are today?