How to Pick a Career That Will Make You Happy

By Brilliant Hua on Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Have you ever heard the saying that there is a major difference between what a “job” is and what a “career is”? A job is a temporary necessity to make money. A career is something you are passionate about and driven to do; it is the job that will last you a lifetime.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible for everyone to attain this so called “career.” It may be impossible due to time or money constraints. Here are some tips on how to pick a career that can make you happy.

1.) Acknowledge there are different paths to happiness

There have been many studies that income does not correlate with levels of happiness, and you may feel selfish or wrong for wanting a career partly for its higher paying wage. Do not feel bad. Money can definitely buy happiness to some degree, and there is nothing wrong with wanting material positions in the consumerist world we live in. It is completely fine to make income a priority in the level of joy you will feel in a career; an issue arises when money is the only reason you are choosing a career. Go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and look up some of the median wages of your potential careers.

2.) Match Your Intended Lifestyle to Your Career

Do you want to travel a lot? Do you want off all holidays or a flexible schedule? Where do you want to live in the future? There are careers that will not match up to your intended lifestyle. You may have always had the intention of living in your hometown, but there may be no job opportunities for your dream career there. You may be fulfilled in your career, but if it conflicts with your dream lifestyle it will be difficult to stay happy.

3.) Take Every Sample

Finding a career that will make you happy for the rest of your life is difficult for almost everyone. When it comes to a career, always sample the flavor before you buy the entire scoop. Take every opportunity you can to intern, extern, shadow, and research before you have committed yourself to a path that is difficult to stray from. Use the resources at your disposal such as your career center or alumni network to set up short externships where you can shadow your desired profession.

4.) Don’t Be Afraid to Switch

If you’ve invested yourself in a career that makes you miserable, don’t be afraid to jump ship. A big fear people have is that they’ll be behind their peers. It is better to switch sooner rather than later, and taking that leap that can lead you to short and long term happiness.

5.) Find Purpose in the Career You Have

Sometimes it is impossible to switch. It may not be possible to pay for further education, you may have people depending on your income, or any other reason that mandates you stay in your position. Unfortunately this happen often, and you may be stuck with a career that doesn’t make you happy. Continuing this career takes refocusing your perspective and finding purpose in what you already do. It may take breaking down your path into steps: focusing on a promotion or an upcoming event. If you cannot find purpose within the job itself, try volunteering outside your job. It may be enough for the time being that your work gives monetary support.

Finding a career that will make you happy is no easy feat. Happiness is something almost everyone in this world is searching for, and work is a huge part of our lives that contributes or takes away from our joy. I hope these tips help in your search of finding a career that can make you happy.

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