Get to Know Myself Better
I didn’t really know a whole lot about myself as a I graduated from college. I had successfully completed my studies and was going on to graduate school. As for a career path or choice I was vague. I wish I had taken time during my college years to think about and reflect on these questions:
➼What are my interests?
➼What are my skills? Which ones am I good at and enjoy using?
➼What are my innate talents/abilities?
➼What is important to me (my values)? What motivates or engages me?
➼What do I find meaningful/purposeful?
➼What difference or impact do I want to make in my stumping grounds, neighborhood or community?
As I look back over my career journey, the choices I made pertaining to the career path I have pursued, were not intentional on my part. In high school I focused on getting good grades and taking the classes I needed to graduate.
When I started college my declared major was based on what my older sister had studied in college – business. Fortunately during my sophomore year I attended an introduction meeting for a new major being offered – social work. This piqued my interest and so I decided to pursue both majors – business and social work.
I have been fortunate to do work that fits in with my interests, values, I enjoy doing and that I find purposeful and meaningful. I have gotten to know myself more along this career journey.
Have a Vision for My Career
I wish I had taken the time to develop a bigger picture of where I wanted to go with my career or had an end goal in mind or had a sense of direction of where I wanted to go with my career.
After graduating with my Master’s in Social work I began my career in youth programming. I found the work interesting and I enjoyed it, but I never took the time to think about where I wanted to go with it.
➼Did I want to grow in terms of leadership?
➼What skills and abilities did I want to develop?
➼Was I interested in other opportunities within the organization?
➼Were there other organizations that would have provided more opportunities?
I didn’t really have a vision for my career path. Opportunities opened and I stepped into them.
Even though my career journey has not been aimless or directionless, I can say for the most part I was not in the driver’s seat.
I have learned this along my journey – If you are not in the driver’s seat, someone else or circumstances will direct where your career goes or how it grows/advances.
Have Mentors Along the Way
I wish I had taken the time to seek out and develop mentor relationships along the way.
If I could give young professionals one piece of advice, it would be to ask someone to mentor them. Mentors aren’t going to go out of their way to drag someone along if they don’t show initiative. Mentorship is something that requires strong commitment from both parties and takes a lot of effort.
The end results, however, are more than worth it. The lessons, connections, and opportunities that mentors provide are invaluable. It’s up to you, however, to ask and take advantage of what mentors can offer.
I am learning to do this more as I continue in my career journey.
My takeaway – it definitely would have been beneficial to have done these three things early on in my career but It’s never too late to start.