Why You Must Choose Your Career as if Your Life Depended on It

Deciding on your career can be one of the most important decisions that you make in your life. It’s one of those pivotal decisions that can make all the difference in the world to you, your family, and even society as a whole. It’s up there with major life decisions, like deciding where you want to live and whom to marry.

Lamentably, many people don’t even get to the point where they consciously decide on a career. Instead, they stumble from one job to another, learning a considerable number of skills but never mastering anything in particular.

While you are always free to change careers, it is not easy to do. Since it often requires such a huge commitment to build a career, changing to a new one is unsimple. In fact, it’s rather like getting an ocean liner to change direction. It can be done, but it’s often a slow, prolonged process. 

Consequently, the sooner you find a career path that works for you, the more likely you are to have a more secure and joyful life. This career path can be anything from being a fashion merchandiser to a being a writer to being a surgeon.

Let’s use these three examples to get a better idea of some of the things you should be thinking about when you choosing a (possibly new)career.

A Career in Fashion Merchandising

What is fashion merchandising? When people think of a career in fashion, they often think in terms of design. While that’s a vital part of the fashion industry, there are many other equally important paths you could take. Fashion merchandising involves promoting the sale of fashionable clothes and incorporates almost every aspect of business necessary to get the artistic work of designers to consumers. It might involve playing a role in the supply chain, like organizing manufacturing and distributing apparel. You might develop marketing campaigns, or direct a retail sales strategy. You might be in charge of creating enticing product displays in a retail environment. Since it’s a rather broad discipline, it’s crucial to find the right school. In addition, you should get plenty of real-world working experience, like participating in an apprenticeship program.

A Career As A Writer

There is no particular path to becoming a professional writer. While you can go to school for journalism or get a Masters of Fine Arts degree, these don’t automatically qualify you to become a journalist or a novelist.

Many acclaimed authors throughout history learned how to write well by simply stumbling through the rules of grammar and spelling until they developed fluency with the written word. Even then, they still needed good editors to help them polish their words and even rethink their best writings. It’s hard to imagine the works of Ernest Hemingway or Scott F Fitzgerald or Thomas Wolfe without the invaluable guidance of William Maxwell Evarts (who was better known as Max Perkins), the famous book editor at Scribers. He was something of a genius when it came to recognizing artistic talent and encouraging it.

Since writing is a skill rather than a profession, you can start anywhere. What really matters is the passion. Writing well is all about getting plenty of (formal and informal) education and consistent practice.

A Career as A Surgeon

Establishing a career as a surgeon is almost exactly the opposite of building a career as a writer. Surgeons need plenty of structure throughout their careers. It starts with four years of undergraduate schooling, then four years of medical school, then as many as ten years of residency and fellowship. Even when you’re working as a surgeon, you will need to maintain your license and stay well-informed about the latest advances in medicine.

What can we learn from these widely different career tracks? They all involve three things: doing work that you love, a commitment to education, and plenty of work experience. Without these three qualities or disciplines, it’s impossible to achieve excellence.


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