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The Truth About Career Choices

It’s funny when you think of it – the word career is defined as “your course or progress through life”. Nowhere in the definition is the mention of the word “work” or “profession”. But if you look at the origin of the term, it comes from the Latin carrera which means race, an obvious reference to the rat race that we are in when we compete for jobs, designations, power and money. Yes, a career is important because it defines who we are; we introduce ourselves in relation to the work we do rather than in relation to the people we are related to or where we come from. But there are a few home truths about careers that we must understand if we are to raise the quality of life and achieve the work-life balance that experts keep harping on.

For one, it’s not wise to be blinded by ambition to the exclusion of all else in your life. You may think that chasing the rainbow will lead you to the pot of gold that’s hidden at its end, but very often, dreams are intangible and ephemeral. And by chasing them, we not only don’t get what we want, we also end up losing what we already have. Now I’m not saying that you must never go after what you want; it’s just that ambition must be tempered by wisdom and maturity. You must consider the pros and cons of your decision before you embark on what could turn out to be a wild goose chase. If people who mean something to you are going to be affected severely and adversely by your choice, then it’s time to rethink your options.

Also, once you do decide to go forward, remember that it’s hard to turn back again. So be prepared to face any obstacles that you might face along the way, and work hard to achieve your dream without regretting the choice you’ve made. The only point of indecision must be at the point where you’re forced to make the choice – once you’ve made it, you must strive to make a success of your decision. That is the only way you’re going to be happy with your career choice.

The second thing you need to remember about careers is that no matter how passionate you are about your job in the beginning, there will come a time somewhere down the line when your enthusiasm begins to wane. This is a natural part of life because you’ve become accustomed to your work and the gloss is wearing off as the days go by. But it does not mean that it’s time to look for a new career option and jump ship just when you’ve settled down. Rather, remember that any job is bound to become stale after a while and that it’s up to you to make things interesting so that your work life is fulfilling and satisfactory.

And finally, any career that affects the most important relationships in your life adversely is just not worth pursuing. At the end of the day, it’s the strong bonds we share with the people we love that matter, not the tenuous ones that we form with our professional identities. So choose your career wisely by taking into consideration the things that are important and permanent, not factors that are here today and gone tomorrow.