Can’t decide on which career interest to pursue? Choose the best path and combine all of your interests to design a lifestyle that works for you.
Many people come to me with this challenge. They have so many interests and it is important to them to have a career that is more than just a job, but work that keeps them engaged, motivated and passionate. Life is precious. Too precious to spend our days in jobs that suck the life force out of us and do not light us up. But sometimes that very common diversity of interests plagues many with paralysis and confusion about which direction to go, which career interests to pursue and how to pursue so many interests.
Maybe you may daydream about a job that allows you to travel the world and get paid. Unfortunately, this leads you down a path of unrealistic career daydreams, which can be fun, but futile. Don’t fret, there is good news. You can have it all. Figure out how to weave your interests into a pragmatic and practical career path. You may ask, “Well, which career path do I choose? How do I choose the best career path for me?” Focus on the one that makes the most sense in matters of both- practical and interests. Then research and brainstorm the ways that you can weave in your other interests.
Let’s say your career interest assessment suggests that you are best suited for careers that are social, artistic and enterprising. Now, you’re torn between pursuing a career in healthcare, writing, and neuropsychology. The best place to start is to research the career trajectories of these three options. What are the future trends for these careers? Do they pay well? Will there be plenty of job opportunities? How competitive is the industry? Will I need to specialize to be more valuable and more employable? What is a realistic work day like?
Perhaps, your other interests are writing, research, psychology, kiteboarding, and travel. All great interests to have, but some of them will be quite challenging to pursue as careers. You can still weave these interests into your life. These are your lifestyle needs. I worked with a professor who identified that it was critically important to have a lot of flexibility and freedom in his career and life so that he could travel and pursue his other interests. He decided that staying in his job as a university professor would allow him to have the summers off so that he would be free to travel and engage in his other interests. It also allowed him the freedom to have other freelance jobs that were interesting to him. This is how he navigated the career existentialism that was initially overwhelming for him and now he finds peace and contentment as he has found a way to weave in many of his interests into his life.
It is not uncommon to have many interests. Many people are quite diverse in their skills and it is quite possible to blend many of your interests to create a lifestyle and career that you love.
Kristen A Tolbert is the Founder of Career CoLabs, Author of Careers Reinvented, and Facilitator of Neuro at Work – Leadership and Workplace Satisfaction Programs. Kristen’s programs serve a global clientele via live seminars and in online classrooms. Learn more about her programs at careercolabs.com.