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Why making time to reflect on your career path is always a good idea

Every single day, whether you like it or not, you make a 24 hour withdrawal from your 600,000 hour lifetime account. On average, 100,000 of these are spent at work so hit pause, check your work balance and your spending history before reflecting on whether you'd like to do things differently from this point forward.

123RF / Roman Samborskyi

Regardless of whether you’re at the start your career and aren’t sure what you want direction you would like your working life to take, in the middle of your career and not sure you’re on the right path, or later in your career placing a higher value on legacy projects and purpose over profit; you are more qualified to figure out what’s best for you than anyone else on the planet.

One minute you’re playing with your friends, being called to come in for dinner and on any given car ride asking “are we nearly there yet?” And then suddenly, you’re there – in the real world, the adult world where you’re expected to go and make something of your life. Choices that were made for you are now yours to make. You are tasked with answering stressful questions like: Who am I? What is important in life? What are my options for career paths? Which one should I choose?

Then life happens. You find yourself on a career path and then that path ends up becoming your life story.

If you’re lucky, in the middle of your career you’ll end up starring in Groundhog Day asking: Who am I? What is important in life? What are my options for career paths? Which one should I choose?

A career can end up seeing you work a total of over 92,000 hours, plus commuting, overtime and time spent thinking about work so let’s round that up to 100,000 hours.

The average human life is estimated to be around 25,000 days or 600,000 hours. Deduct 175,000 hours for childhood and you’re down to 425,000 hours. Then there’s time spent sleeping, eating and exercising. There’s time spent with family and friends, watching Netflix or mindlessly scrolling through social media… and so the game of life goes on.

123RF / lightfieldstudios

The possibility that you are allocating 100,000 hours of your life to work must surely make you stop and think about how you are spending your time – Are you fulfilled with the work you do? Is there something else you’d rather be doing? Are you having a positive impact on others and the world we live in?

Every human life touches thousands of other lives in thousands of different ways, and all of those lives you alter then go on to touch thousands of lives of their own. All lives make a large impact on the world and on the future – but the kind of impact you end up making is largely within your control, depending on the values you live by and the places you direct your energy. Whatever shape your career path ends up taking, the world will be altered by it.

Maybe you feel unsure about your career path. You’ve been told to follow your passion, but you don’t feel especially passionate about anything, let alone the job you’re doing every day. You may feel you had answers in the past, but like all of us, you’ve changed along the way and you are unsure of who you are or where you’re going.

Some of you will see a clear path ahead but you know in your heart that it’s the wrong one for you. Even if you know where you want to go and believe you’re heading in the right direction, pause and ask yourself: Who actually chose this route for me? Was it me? Was it my parents? Was it influenced by the education choices I made?

Regardless of how many of the 100,000 hours you’ve already used up or whichever example you most identify with, taking a moment to review and reflect on your career path is always a good idea!

Every single day, whether you want to or not, you make a withdrawal of 24 hours from your 600,000 hour account and when the hours run out, its game over.

So if you find yourself wanting to spend what remains of your 100,000 hours in a different way, in a way that makes you feel more satisfied and in a way that has a greater impact on the world, I revert to my original point: you are more qualified to figure out what’s best for you than anyone else on the planet.

The clock is ticking… what are you waiting for?!

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