Random Observation/Comment #394: Each career path is unique and none of us should follow a cookie-cut one. Instead, one should take calculated risks and pursue something of passion.
In order to do figure out what I was personally passionate about, I: 1) tested every career I could see myself doing, 2) kept my options/opportunities open, 3) spoke with as many people as possible, and 4) narrowed down things that I didn’t want to do.
Testing careers and finding what I don’t want to do:
- First hand experiences – spoke with people that were backpacking as I traveled Europe soul searching and figuring out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I learned a great deal about different professions.
- Write down my hobbies – I looked at all the things I wanted to do (or thought was cool to do) and tried to see how much money each would make. I found out that all of my hobbies would make me very poor and into a struggling artist. In addition, I wasn’t really amazing any anything – just marginally above average.
- Reach out to people who are successful in “hobby-like” careers – It’s rare to find, but if you join the right meet-up groups in NYC, you’ll see people who you think have the ideal job. Talk to those people and see what their talents are.
- Take risks – if you want to do something risky and take it seriously, make your own start up. Think about what company you’d start if you could have one and had capital to do so. Take that one idea and really develop it in your mind. Even if you don’t do it, you will at least have something crazy awesome to talk about during an interview.
Skills in life that I found apply to all careers:
- Communications – effective communication is key to being in any career. Whether you’re an engineer representing your project and pitching it to your manager, or if you’re a business analyst giving presentations to investors – you need to know how to convey those ideas in a convincing manner
- Read quickly and digest information thoroughly – a lot of people read the news, but not a lot of people analyze it. Read a lot more and try to think about what you’re reading. Form your own opinion about it and comment in a sophisticated manner if you want to remember it and take it seriously.
- Ask questions – Keep that Cooper passion of needing to know everything. Dive deeper into subjects and practice speaking in depth about those topics.
- Writing – Telling a story quickly is important. Practice writing shorter emails and keeping them professional. A big part of my job is writing emails and I wouldn’t be good at them if I didn’t practice organizing things and bolding important points.
- Interviewing – Along the lines of telling stories, you should know how to represent yourself. The interview is 80% of getting the job. People want to know that you’re motivated and you will work well with the rest of the team. They are looking for your overall energy. This also helps with dating and more social situations. Smiling and other body language pieces will make a big difference.
- Taking the initiative – Challenge yourself with new things and do something different. Life is an experiment. Make sure you’re doing things that work best for you by trying them out.
In my two interest groups (iClick photography and Toastmasters), I am the president and event photographer. I specifically chose clubs for my early career that are horizontal and help out in the main skills that everyone requires.1) Photography is an easy way to help with networking. Everyone loves pictures. 2) Public speaking and communication is key to every job ever. From there, I came up with new ideas to move those groups forward. I kept thinking about little improvements and molding the club into something I’m proud of.
Everyone has their own strategy for an early career, but make sure it stays true to your interests and don’t just do it merely because I suggested it: Do it because you love it.
~See Lemons Passionate