How did I end up here? The three biggest influences on your career path

Have you ever found yourself asking this question?

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A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by the ABC National News here in Australia. I commented on how people make career choices in relation to a new University funding proposal from our government. 

As I talked with the reporter, our conversation reminded me of how easily we can end up in a job without thinking much about how we got there. (ABC Article here

Having self-awareness of how we make life decisions is so valuable.

If we can understand how we make decisions, we can then reflect, review and improve our choices for the future. In the context of our careers, better choices mean better alignment with who we are, what we enjoy, and what we value. This means a higher level of satisfaction and fulfilment.

So, take a moment to think about your career path, 

“How did you end up where you are now?”

For most people, the influences boil down to one or more of these three things:

  • Following an interest. Your favourite school subject, a hobby, or a passion.
  • Pursuing what you’re good at.
  • Being guided by the job market (or perceptions thereof). What would be secure, high-paying, or in-demand?

However, of course, it’s not just about these factors. We are social animals and are also strongly influenced by the people in our lives.

Our parents commonly have the strongest impact here. Their knowledge, opinions, and expectations play a large part in our decision-making. 

Our teachers can also be strong role models. If you think back to your favourite subjects in school, those subjects likely had great teachers. And vice-versa for those, you enjoyed the least. Teachers are also likely to actively encourage us into fields of study we are best at.

Our wider network of family and friends can also be highly influential. Perhaps you had an uncle, aunt, grandparent, neighbour or family friend who’s inspired you.

Reflecting on your career path and understanding your choices is powerful. And I hope these ideas give you valuable insight into how you can be intentional in your career planning. 

After all, who wouldn’t want to be in control of their own career satisfaction?

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