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3 Questions to Help Unveil What You Want Out of Your Career


If you’ve hit a fork in the road on your career path, don’t fret, because you’re not alone. Figuring out which path to take can be a daunting task, which is why we’ve compiled a list of three questions to help unveil your true calling in life and be on your way.

career path

(Photo Credit: sacks08/Flickr)

1. What makes you happy in life?

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Take a moment to ask yourself, honestly, what makes you happiest in life? Is it helping others, or being outdoors and being active? Whatever you find most fulfilling in life, see which careers, if any, stem from those raptures and seek out the leaders of those industries. It’s possible that you might find what brings you most joy in life isn’t the most viable career path for many reasons (financial, geographic, or personal), so remember to be realistic when considering the career opportunities of life’s pleasures.

2. What accomplishments are you most proud of in life and why? 

Studies show that professionals nowadays want to carry out meaningful work that makes a difference in the world, and they’ll even forgo pay raises and promotions to accomplish that. Chances are, the accomplishments that you’re most proud of are probably the things you find great purpose in and are passionate about, which means they’d also make fulfilling careers. Therefore, make a list of all your life’s achievements and consider whether or not you can pursue work in any of those fields.

3. If money were no object, what would you pursue?

Many professionals make the mistake of going after careers that have the greatest earning potential, and they neglect to consider whether that line of work will be fulfilling or not. Therefore, if money were no object, what work would you like to pursue in life? When you subtract money or finances from the equation, your life’s calling becomes clearer.

Another way to help guide you to your true calling is to research and follow the lives of people you admire or who have lives that you would like to have. If you wish to run a tech conglomerate one day, then you might want to consider looking into the lives and careers of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg, so that you can familiarize yourself with what they went through to warrant their immense success in business. On the other hand, if you’re looking for inspiration from a women who went from rags to riches, then Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Xerox’s Ursula Burns. Part of the process in deciphering what you want is to envision it; therefore, find people who exemplify exactly what it is that you want out of life and live vicariously through them until their reality becomes yours.

If you’re not in your dream career now, then don’t lose hope – these things don’t happen overnight. First, answer the three questions above as honestly as you can, then begin researching the people you wish to mirror your life after. Once you’ve gotten a good idea of what it is that you want and what others have gone through to get there, it’s time to construct a realistic plan to help you bring those dreams to fruition.

PayScale’s Make It Happen email courses offer the tools and resources you need to stop wishing and start achieving. If you’re more interested in where your current career path will take you, consider trying out the GigZig tool that provides you with a snapshot of the different “zigs and zags your career can take” over the next five years.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you turned your career dreams into reality? Share with our community on Twitter using #MakeItHappen, or post your story in the comments below. 

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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