The Merriam Webster dictionary has two critical definitions of a career:
(i) a field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life
(ii) a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling
That still doesn’t answer that nagging question: what is the best career for me?
There is no shortage of career and money advice on the internet. If you don’t believe me, I’ve sampled just a few from the top sources:
“No matter where you go, don’t lose who you are.”
“Speak up. Don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind or ask for what you want.”
“Life happens—and the conflicting demands of work and home often change your ‘original’ path. Lateral movement, or even moves to smaller positions, can differentiate skills and experience in ways that eventually lead to bigger roles.”
And you should believe them; I think this is the same advice they’d their children.
Heck, career advice is the stuff of moving commencement speeches all over the world. You can take a look at the top ones here:
Bill Gates, one of the smartest and wealthiest guys around also had pretty good career advice. You can read the whole piece here especially if you are looking to future-proof your career or you can read his recommended book on the issue:
The Better Angels of Our Nature, by Steven Pinker (a 700-page book)
The gist of it if this. Some fields will be crucial for the future of humanity, and anyone working in this areas has a more significant chance of having a significant impact on the world. His top three:
But I think what I liked about his thoughts and what might help you settle on your best career is this:
“Intelligence isn’t everything, you need to surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you and push you to your best self!”
That coming from a brilliant guy should count for something.
The Oracle of Omaha has been known to dish out lasting and dependable advice over the years.
When asked about careers he had this to say to young people:
“When you go out in the world, look for the job you would take if you didn’t need the money. You really want to think about, what will make you feel good, when you get older, about your life, and you at least generally want to keep going in that direction.”
Now that’s some life and career advice you can take to the bank!
There is no shortage of career advice books. A quick search on the internet will reveal the top ones.
Here would be my top absolute best ones you can check out:
So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport
The Startup of You – Reid Hoffman
How Will You Measure Your Life – Clayton M. Christensen
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Mark Reiter and Marshall Goldsmith
Refuse to Choose – Barbara Sher.
This post is starting to look like who said what on the best career for you. So let’s pull the brakes on and put the thinking caps on for a while:
First, ignore all the noise.
I’ve said this and will repeat it. Deep down in your souls of souls or whatever there is, you do know what you want to do. And no matter what, do that.
Maybe that will turn out to be the best career you’ll ever have. There is something about a passion that ignites creativity. With 7.6 billion of us as of this writing, someone somewhere will be interested in what you do.
Just get really good at it.
A career is not just about money. It’s also about happiness, fulfillment and being of use to a fellow human being. If you are helping people; if you are happy; if you are good at what you do. You will be successful. The world is an abundant place, and you can let that abundance permeate into everything that you do.
Nobody has it all figured out. You wake up, learn as much as you can, work hard at something you like and a skill you’re good at.
The world keeps spinning around. And will keep spinning long after you are gone.
I keep two quotes near me at all times. One from Steve Jobs and the other from Albert Einstein. (Two people who had great lives, great careers, and changed our perception of life itself)
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life” – Steve Jobs.
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness” – Albert Einstein.
Hopefully, those will inspire you to choose the best career for you, and be happy doing it.
Please share the best career advice you’ve ever received in the comments section below.
Simon Elstad is a freelance staff writer & blog manager. He writes on b2b topics, tech, personal finance, freelancing, gig economy, etc. An essentialist who zeroes in on what really matters. Check him out at SimonElstad.Com on Twitter, & LinkedIn