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Choosing the Right Career Path

All good things have a honeymoon phase, be they vacations, Taco Bell, or even actual marriages. They all begin in an explosion of jubilation and excitement, but eventually the novelty of it wears off and the excitement drops a few pegs. Now, I’m not saying everything becomes terrible eventually, but it is hard to keep up that initial level of excitement forever- so don’t expect things to stay like that forever. The same can be said for making a new career path.

The job search is finally over and you have found a job that will take you down a lucrative and hopefully long-lived career path. But is it the right career path for you? It is a question that sometimes falls to the wayside, which is unfortunate because it might be the most important one. What needs to be understood during the job search is that you are not looking for a gig to work for a year or two; you are choosing your career path. That’s supposed to last you your whole life, so you better make sure that you are happy with what you are doing.

You often hear of people who have decided to ‘switch career paths’ and that ‘it was the best decision’ they ever made. But what does switching your career down the line mean for you? For starters, it means a whole new job search and the possibility of having to work at a near entry-level position again. On top of that, the last however-many-years you spent working up the ladder have all gone to waste and you were probably very unhappy the whole way up. Why else would you suddenly switch industries?

There is one other scenario, but it is fairly uncommon. There are cases of people being offered positions in a new career that is better than the job they hold currently. If this happens to you then congratulations, throw yourself a party. But make sure that you ask yourself whether that new career path will give you at least the same satisfaction as the one you are on now. Personal joy translates to being a better employee and the better the employee you are the faster you’re going to progress in the company.

The job search can be wearisome, and after a while you may get to a point where you shed your trailblazing bravado and start making some sacrifices. Maybe you’ll go a pay grade lower or start looking in different cities for work- it happens. These are all minor hiccups because they can all be fixed. A salary can be increased and you can always move back to your hometown once you build up your resume a little, but one thing you cannot change is how happy you are with the work you are doing. If you are miserable today as a marketing associate you will be miserable in a year, so do yourself a favor: during your job search, make sure the career path you choose is one that you’ll be happy traveling on. It’s always better to drive on a sunny day than on a rainy one.

Have you though about changing your career path? Have you already changed it? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by quinn.anya

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Bane is a Purdue graduate and has been through a lot of the trials and tribulations every job seeker goes through. He is looking to spread his knowledge so that other job seekers don't make the same mistakes. Learning by doing is fine, but knowledge is king.

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