Thinking back on the early part of your work history, how did you get one of your earliest jobs?
Some people get jobs by following in their parents footsteps. You know, it’s the family expectation that you’ll become an Accountant because, well, your dad is an Accountant, your older brothers and sisters are Accountants; even your grandparents were Accountants. So there’s not much if any discussion about what you might be when it’s your turn to enter the world of work. Nobody really talks about what might interest you because you’re slotted in as the next Accountant in the family, carrying on the tradition.
This might sound like a bad thing but for many people it is exactly the opposite. You see they don’t have worry or stress deciding on a career, they’ve got excellent resources to draw on in the family when they need help and advice, and these family connections are their way in to the companies they work for. All they have to do really is follow the plan laid out for them. Yes for some people, this is normal, and they never really experience the conflict of self-determination, nor do they fight it.
Of course not everyone takes this path. The problem with this model for those who don’t follow it is that they may be drawn in other ways to other jobs. They might be creative, artistic, innovative and there’s no room for these qualities in the world of Accounting where numbers are input accurately and precisely. Following the, ‘family way’ and living your life playing up to the expectations of parents and extended family could leave you feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled and always wondering why you don’t discover what it is you feel you’re really meant to do.
Others follow their passion. With an interest in music, they may not be a celebrity, but they work in the music industry. Or, if the environment is what they feel drawn to, they work to save precious physical resources, encouraging others to live their lives thinking about sustainability and protecting our natural resources. They don’t necessarily have to work in a Ranger Tower in the middle of a Boreal forest; they might even work in a laboratory in a city but devote their time to finding better solutions to problems of creating and cleaning up our environmental waste.
If it’s not the environment that drives you, it could be a passion for sports. Perhaps you turn your love of physical activity and how the body exerts itself into sports medicine, physiotherapy, chiropractic work or you get a job working in a sports venue where you’re surrounded all day long by others similarly motivated. This can be very stimulating and adds a layer to the work you do everyday you wouldn’t get working in the same job but for a different employer. So back to my Accountant, you might be employed by your favourite sports team and the combination of the job and the organization might feed your need for satisfaction.
Many more people fall into jobs. They might take a summer job or a short-term contract job just starting out and without any planning they end up staying around for 25 years! Or they could get started when a friend asks them for a hand working on constructing a house and find they have a knack for building and end up in a classroom taking courses on home construction, codes and by-laws. “How’d I get into this?” is the kind of thing they wonder at some point, but they have no regrets.
Another way some go about finding work is simply to get going. I mean, these people figure the best way to find out what they’d like to do is just start working at a job, try it out for awhile and pay attention to the things they like and don’t enjoy. Then they move on and try something different; again paying attention to the things they find satisfying and want more of and always taking jobs that have less of the things they want to avoid. Systematically, they end up doing a variety of jobs, having a diversified resume and are better able to adapt into many roles.
The strength for those who take this last route is that being able to adapt well, they are resilient when change occurs. Whether the change comes from an external source – like being laid off or a company relocating elsewhere – or the change comes from within – a personal desire to move on – they can adapt quicker to change than those who have spend 25 years in a single job.
You can see there are many ways to get going when it comes to finding work. There isn’t one accepted way and all of the above are valid. Each way comes with it’s advantages and some disadvantages. Determining which is right for you is important, but remember that what’s right for one person is not necessarily right for another.
So, how did you get started? How did you get into your present job? Your comments are welcome and will be of most benefit to readers who are either on the cusp of entering the world of work or in the early stages of their careers and jobs.
Tell your story of how you got started and how it worked out for you. Was it a great fit? Are you still in that role or how long did it last?