I find that there are two main influencing voices in the realm of career decisions.
One voice is the “Practical Parent”. This voice will advise you to avoid risks. Choose a stable and predictable industry. Bring home the bacon consistently. And, of course, more bacon is clearly superior to less bacon.
The second voice is the “Passion Police”. This voice demands that you find your passion. Do what you love. Don’t just put your time and talent toward any old thing. Instead, do something you really care about and enjoy.
Both of these voices focus on what you’ll get if you listen to them.
Security and wealth.
Passion and purpose.
Unfortunately, what neither voice conveys with any sort of clarity is this: any career choice you make will also have consequences.
Maybe your secure 9 to 5 government job comes with a lot of bureaucracy and boredom. Or your high income job comes with a correspondingly high level of stress and a constant feeling of being ‘on’. Perhaps your passion job isn’t earning quite as much as you would have hoped, or your ascent to success is taking longer than you’d like.
Take a look at the areas of job satisfaction below.
Which elements are present in your work? Which are lacking?
A set start and end time to the work week
Intrinsic motivation and enjoyment
Can be yourself at work
Benefits (Health Savings Account, Retirement Matching, Paid Vacation)
Work is appreciated by superiors
Work makes a positive impact on the lives of others
Career choice supports your overall health
Does anybody have all of these elements in their job? While it’s completely possible, I imagine most of us achieve a few of these work satisfaction areas and sacrifice a few as well, particularly when we’re in the early stages of our careers.
And that’s okay.
In fact, I mention these career choice consequences because acknowledging the full effects of what we’ve chosen can be empowering.
For example, knowing that a high stress job is taking a toll on your health might mean you cope by taking luxurious, unplugged vacations whenever you get the chance. Knowing that your passion pursuit is still in it’s infancy may mean that you decide to take another job to fill in while you learn how to bring your dream to life.
Whatever you choose, and whatever corresponding consequences come along for the ride, can be dealt with. Or you can change your choice and try something different.
Just know that the grass isn’t always greener in a new field or career path. Most choices come with some upsides and some downsides. It’s comes down to deciding which ones you’re willing to put up with.