From Vlogger to Vet — What Career is Right for You?
How to use self-awareness to find a career that works for you.
How you figure out what career is right for you?
Whenever I think about careers I envision a load of 17-year olds asking whether being a doctor is better than being a lawyer. Whether becoming a YouTuber is worth the risk because you could make it big but you could be a total flop. Whether there is more money in being an affiliate marketer rather than getting a regular 9–5.
It’s hard right at the start of your career to understand where to put your eggs. You can see all the baskets in front of you but you’re not sure how sturdy they all are. You’re not sure where to place your eggs because you’ve not had chance to test out of the baskets and so you end up spending a lot of your time wondering which baskets are better.
Which basket is the most reliable.
When I started work I was juggling eggs. I had a few in a couple of different baskets and didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Having graduated University I felt like I had the world at my feet. I could do anything. Somewhere between graduation and getting into the thick of working I realised:
I could do anything.
I know, I’ve said that twice but there is a difference. At first I felt like ‘I could do anything’, I was ambitious, ‘ready to take on the world’ kind of anything. The second was more of a daunting, overwhelming, weighted ‘I could do anything’.
It’s both exhilarating and terrifying to feel like you could do anything, go anywhere.
That feeling can overwhelm if you let it. It can start to make you think a little bit more logically about the situation. You could ask yourself, okay what is my priority? Your answers could range from anywhere between work-life balance to having a tonne of money. Logic is good.
However, I want to offer a different way of thinking about things. Before you approach the trajectory of your career based on logic, I want to convince you that you should look at something much more soulful… what you are a) good at and b) enjoy.
Let me explain.
You can make money doing anything – choose the right career for you
The reason I don’t think looking at money as the decider is the right thing to do is because you can make money doing anything. Figuring out what career is right for you comes first. It doesn’t matter what career you have, there are ways to capitalise on making money if that is something that is important to you. Sure, you could make more money upfront as an investment banker than being a teacher. That is true. There is no arguing with that. However, teaching is fast becoming a digitalised service.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, the best teachers in the world were restricted to having only the kids they taught listen to them. They used to have to be present and correct for every lesson and their audience was limited to 30 students in a class, meaning on any given day they were influencing the minds of perhaps 200 students. Now, the internet, YouTube, Udemy and whatever platforms have paved the way for the best teachers in the world to do what they do best. Teach. Just to a much bigger audience.
It means if you are a world-class Biology teacher in the UK, you could record your lessons and teach an American student. It means you can teach other Biology teachers how you get the results and what techniques work. You can record talks on the best tools and techniques for kids to understand the concept of evolution. That course could be sold over 10,000 times if you’re good.
What I’m saying is, a few years ago, we were all limited to the amount of lives we touched. Our audience was limited to the people in our jobs, in our classrooms, on our trading floors. That is no longer the case. You can have an audience of 100M if you work hard enough.
Where there is an audience
Where there is an audience there is money to be made. If you are good enough, you will drive an audience to come watch you. If you can do that, you can monetise it. Whether that be YouTube ads paying you a percentage of their advertising revenue, or you creating a course online, releasing it on Udemy and charging $46 per admission. Sell a few hundred courses and you’ll have doubled if not tripled your yearly income from teaching.
My point here is that in today’s world if you’re good, you can make money doing anything. You could literally love Pepsi cans and be the expert in Pepsi cans. I’m not kidding here. You could create a YouTube channel all about how Pepsi cans are made, designed and why they say ‘sold as part of a multipack’ around the top. I guarantee if you are consistent enough and have enough of a passion for it, you could make enough money out of it to sustain yourself.
You can make money in absolutely anything in today’s world, granted you have to be really good at it but that leads me to my next point.
You’re more likely to stick with it if you like it
Writing is the only thing I’ve ever been consistent at. Over the last four years I’ve tried about every ‘side hustle’ in the business. Amazon FBA, eBay reselling, drop-shipping, Shopify store, the lot. None of them stuck because I didn’t like doing them. You can read every article in the world titled ‘Most Lucrative Businesses to Start in 2020’ but if you’re not interested in veganism, biotechnology or AI you probably won’t get past the first 10 days, let alone the 400 odd days you’ll probably need to put in before you see any return.
Enjoying something helps you get up early before work, to work. If you hate scrolling through Alibaba trying to find a product to resell because you’re not motivated by money but you see it as the only way out of your job, you won’t get very far. From my experience, you need to like something enough to stick with it through the first 90 days. Once you’ve done the first 90 days you’ll find that the magic of habits take over.
90 Day Mark
Getting the 90 day mark is the challenge.
Now, 90 days might not sound like a lot. However, 90 days of doing something without any reward, any pay back can be pretty difficult. It can make you feel pretty down. In those dark days when you want to give up, the thing you will lean on is what else you get out of it. If you get nothing out of it, then you’ll be likely to throw in the towel. However, if it gives you a sense of fulfilment, if you love the inner works of constructing an article or a good advertisement. If you love working with people and figuring out how to solve someones problem — you’re likely to stick at it.
My point here is that you’ll need something to hold on to when you get fed up of it. You’ll need something to lean into on the days where you feel like giving up and you’re getting nothing back. Those days will come and if you are doing it as a money making scheme and nothing else it’ll be hard to stick with it because in the first 5–9 months, it won’t give you much money.
No one career is better than any other, it’s the right career for you
Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid — Alan Watts
Figuring out what career is right for you is the key. Not anyone else but you. We are all born with a set of unique gifts. That might be in what you see i.e. our looks, height. Or it might be in what you don’t see so obviously i.e. the ability to be consistent, have a positive mindset, creativity. Whatever it might be, we all have a set of skills that would be wonderfully suited to a certain career. I really believe that. Somewhere in the world there is a beautiful poet who is working a job in retail, hugely unhappy. Somewhere in the world there is a Data Scientist on £60,000 a year that hates her job that would be way happier working at a Maths teacher.
Like Watts said, if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree it’ll live it’s whole life believing that it’s stupid. Our job, so I believe, is to figure out who we are and what environment we thrive in.
So we need to deploy a big dose of self-awareness and then we need to use that self-awareness to capitalise on what we are a good at and forget everything else.
What that means is there is no career that is better than another. More likely the case is there are careers that suit people better.
Your job is to figure out who you are and what career is right for you. Not to idolise the fancy job title, idolise the person that is overwhelmingly fulfilled by life and their work and ask them how they found it. A job title, money, fancy things mean nothing if you hate what you do.
Surely we all want fulfilment. Happiness is the return on investment, not money.