Plot your course to career success.
Look, we all want to make more money.
As an entry-level fast food worker, or as a high-level professional...
Finding a job that provides stability, growth, and an income that supports the lifestyle we want to live is a common expectation in all occupations.
For many professionals, their path has been clearly laid out by society and the economy. Their path takes them from high school to college, to graduate school, to internships - climbing the career ladder by cultivating experience, getting promoted, and eventually reaching a point of "human success" where they can take care of themselves, their family, and even put away money to retire.
But for many of us, our paths are not quite so calculated. There are so many ways to branch away from that default track...
Like maybe you went to college, studied something you cared about, but ended up with a degree that wasn't very high in demand! Or maybe you dropped out of college, or even high school, because of a family situation or because school just wasn't right for you...
Whatever the reason, when looking for the next step that will lead you to success, the main answer you get from people is to go back to college! Which might not be the solution you're looking for or even the one that feels right.
So now you're left feeling like your life and your career path are out of control. Like you're taking the crumbs that fall from the table of the successful class in society, and there are not a lot of great opportunities out there for you...
But in reality, our economy is booming and coming back to life. And there's massive opportunity everywhere. You just need to learn how to take control of the different paths that are available to you.
As kids, the school system tried to teach us to conform. They held our hand from K-12th grade, monitoring our progress and giving council in order to push us all down similar paths. But when we finally get out into the business world, we realize that there's no longer a teacher whose priority is leading us to the next step...
In the business world, we now have supervisors or managers - not all of which are interested in pushing us to move up the career ladder if they don't benefit from it as well. Most of them really aren't there to mentor you beyond doing your current job effectively.
And so the results are that people get backed into a corner with nowhere to grow, their career stalls or they have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
The core issue is that there are a lot of communities for non-professional level careers, but not a lot of those organizations are willing to mentor, or give advice in order to help you advance! And the alternative options to the non-professional level careers aren't promoted widely because they are alternatives for a reason, right?
So the solution starts with being aware that there are other paths available to you besides the generic options, you're just going to have to dig a little bit deeper to find them.
There are 6 steps that you can follow to take control of your career path journey...
#1: Determine what you could be good at. I suggest focusing on writing, marketing, engaging with people, numbers, or computers. What is it out of those things that you feel most drawn to?
#2: Make a list of your ideal work experience priorities, because these are important. Will you do anything anywhere, anytime? Or are you looking for more control or freedom over when you work, where you work, how you work, what you work on, the type of subject matter that you engage with, etc.
Not that I'm saying that you can always have whatever you want, that's just simply not true. But it's important to at least identify what your priorities are, and rank them in order of importance.
#3: Pick a core business path. There are core business paths that you can walk down that don't all require a degree to get into a successful position. Marketing, sales, hiring, even accounting and product development in the tech world are potential paths that people can walk on without a degree in that specific field.
#4: Find a career map, even though it might not be readily available, or right in front of you. The way I believe you start to do this is by picking a "spirit animal"! Find people who have walked the path that you want to walk. You can use keywords to look on LinkedIn or resume databases (like indeed), and find some people whose resumes look similar to what you want your resume to look like in 5-10 years.
The people who are in the roles that you want to be in, have the path on their resume for you to follow. Take their resume compared to yours, figure out what you're missing, and start filling in those gaps. Most likely, it's skills and experience. And those skills and experience can be gained by anybody, generally, for relatively cheap. It's as simple as following their lead.
#5: Find online communities that you can join. With Facebook or LinkedIn groups, you can almost find any group of diverse people within a specific occupation. You can join and engage by following along in conversations, asking questions, and getting feedback from people, once again, who are already on the career path that you want to walk.
#6: And finally, focus on getting 1% better each day.
This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. You're not going to be able to jump jobs immediately. You're going to have to allocate time to learn and practice what you're learning day by day until you build the skills and the resume that will allow you to jump into your desired role and start making progress.
It's not fun to have self-doubt, but if you can push through… it'll be a big opportunity for personal growth and development.