Practical Advice on Finding the Right Career
We get a lot of visitors who are 100% certain they want to be electricians, and they simply want information on how to get their careers started. That's awesome, and we're glad to help those people.
However, over the last year or so, we've discovered that many of our visitors---maybe even most of our visitors---aren't quite sure whether or not an electrician career is the right path for them, and they're simply exploring their career options. They're younger---maybe in their teens or early-to-late twenties---and they're trying to figure out which career is the best fit.
And---a lot of them are pretty stressed out! After all, it's really, really difficult to choose a career. It's one of the most important decisions you'll ever make, and once you've chosen, it's tough to make a switch to another career. There's a lot of pressure involved.
So, if you're one of those people who's trying to figure things out, this post is for you. We'll share some career philosophies, debunk a few of the career myths that confuse people, and hopefully help you think about your career search in a new way.
Most People Have No Idea What Career They Want
This is a great one to start with. A *lot* of people feel like there's something wrong with them if they have no idea what they want to do. The truth is, there are very few people who grow up knowing what they want to do. It may seem like everyone but you knows exactly what they want out of life, but that's not the case.
So if you're feeling frustrated because you don't everything figured out, relax and go easy on yourself. It's normal to feel a little overwhelmed at the start of your career, and if that describes you, that's TOTALLY ok. You'll figure it out.
"Do What You Love." What Does That Even Mean?
You've probably heard this advice at least 100 times. "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life."
That's terrible advice, for a couple of reasons.
1. Most people love lying around and watching television and hanging out with friends. There aren't too many jobs like that (we know, because we've looked). The things people actually love are difficult to make a career out of.
2. Not many people have a burning love for something work related. Some people love write computer code, and for those people, their career choice is pretty obvious: they become coders. But most people don't have a passion in their life that's easy to turn into a career. That guy you know who looooves basketball---chances are he's not going to become a professional basketball player. And that's ok, by the way---it's pretty normal not to have a hobby that's work-related, because... why would you have a hobby that's work-related?
3. Even if you can find work in a field that you love, the tasks you do probably won't be related to the thing you actually love. We talk about this in the next section.
Here's the truth of it: you don't have to love your job. You just have to like it. Here's why:
No Job is 100% Perfect
Even if you can actually find something you LOVE to do, that job probably has some drawbacks.
Here's a great example: someone may love being a doctor and healing the sick. That's a noble cause, and it helps a lot of people. But that same doctor who likes healing the sick, probably doesn't like all the paperwork he/she needs to fill out at the end of the day, or telling a patient's family that they're about to hear bad news, or dealing with hospital administrators who are constantly making up new and stupid rules. That doctor may love certain aspects of the job, but there are certain aspects of the gig that are awful.
We even know one guy who LOVES video games, and develops them. For a living. And gets paid to do it. But guess what---even he has parts of his job that he doesn't like. There are endless team meetings, a lot of super-competitive people who make the workplace a nightmare, and INSANE hours---like, 90+ hours a week, working from ten in the morning until midnight, every day. It's hard to have a life outside work when you're doing that.
The point is, don't try and find the perfect job or the perfect career, because it doesn't exist. Find something you'll probably like, and go from there. Once you stop trying to find the job that's 100% perfect, you'll find that the job search becomes a lot easier and a lot less stressful.
Do What Comes Naturally
This one seems obvious, but it's important.
If you're not handy, don't become a mechanic---even if you really love cars. If you're terrible with people, don't become a teacher---even if you were inspired by a really great teacher you had. If you're not great behind the wheel, don't become a truck driver.
You need to gravitate towards things you're naturally good at. Be honest with yourself, and take a tally of your skills, abilities, and interests. In the end, it's a LOT easier to build on strengths than it is to overcome a weakness.
With that in mind, here's the next piece of advice:
Make a Broad Decision and Get Specific Later On
There's a lot of pressure on young people to figure out *exactly* the job they want, but it doesn't really work that way. You don't need to figure out, "I want to become a hoisting equipment operator, and work with hydraulic mobile cranes." All you need to do is figure out, "I like the construction; maybe that's the industry I should get into."
Find an industry you like, and find out a way to get into it. It could be anything you're partially interested in: psychology, construction, nursing, cooking, politics, or whatever. Find a general field you like, and find a way to get in and work your way up.
It's important to just get started, because...
Your Career Probably Won't Be Permanent
It used to be the case where the job you had when you were 25 was the job you had when you retired 40 years later. That's not the case anymore. In fact, if you're an electrician (and perhaps we should talk a little bit about electricians), you may spent a few years doing construction jobs, and then find that you want to become an electrical engineer. Or you may find that you really like industrial work, and settle down in an industrial setting. Or you may get seduced by the bright lights of Hollywood and do the electrical work on movie sets. You can literally end up anywhere, and the place you start will not be the place where you finish.
So, embrace that! Find an industry you like, and dive in.
Work with People You Like
There's something else we should mention, and it's really really important. There have been a ton of studies done, and it turns out that your happiness in life isn't as much related to what you do, as to who you do it with.
In other words, it's not the job itself that brings job satisfaction, it's the people who you work with. If you love your job but hate your boss, you'll be miserable. If you love your job but hate your coworkers, you'll be miserable. A very big part of job satisfaction is not the actual work itself, but the people you do it with.
Something to keep in mind as you move forward.
So, What About Being an Electrician?
This has been a more general post about finding a career, but what about if you want to become an electrician? Here are the things you'll need to keep in mind.
- Electricians work with a lot of different types of people. You don't need to be a people person, but it definitely helps!
- Electricians are in constant motion. If you're into sitting still for long periods of time, this ain't your gig! As an electrician, you'll be up a lot of the day. But that's a good thing---it keeps you healthy.
- Electricians use their brains a lot. We've talked about this in a few other posts, but you'll use some basic algebra and you'll have to figure out how to solve problems. And, finally---
- Electricians make a pretty great living! Check out our homepage for income details in your state.