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Discerning your career path I.

Archaeology is really a career in ruins.

When deciding on your vocation you should carefully consider three elements:

  1. What would you like to become? What are your deepest hopes and dreams? What are you really passionate about?
  2. What are your skills and abilities? What do you excel in? What are you really good at?
  3. What are the job market trends you need to know? What will the future be like when you finish your studies? What are the requirements and profiles demanded by the labour market: scientific and technical knowledge, ability to adapt to change, creative thinking, languages, leadership, etc.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” Confucius.

Your profession should fall amongst these three areas. It should be something that you really like and are passionate about, so that despite the difficulties, you will first study, and then, work harder and more efficiently. Forget about options that you really do not like! How many students have started a course because their parents influenced them to do so and then abandoned it afterwards?

Think BIG, be positive, and optimistic. If you work very hard, with passion, dedication and effort, you can achieve your goals.

Choose a job you love and never work a day

Choose a job you love and never work a day

You should consider that discerning your vocation and creating a meaningful life is like building a house.

Creating a meaningful life is like building a house

Creating a meaningful life is like building a house

Firstly, you are like an architect. You need to set out your plans and intentions.

Always plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark, Richard Cushing

Always plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark, Richard Cushing

Secondly, before you “get hands-on” (dig the foundation, lay the concrete down, etc..) it is time for planning. This is the stage in which we think and design how we want our house to be and, of course, create drawings with all the details in: floors, rooms, stairs, doors, windows, lights, etc…

If we are wrong at this stage and we do not give it enough time for consideration, then should we want to reverse or change anything, we would lose time ⌛, money $$$, and effort ⍨. A lot of the time we are so worried and busy with life’s many chores, that many decisions are not taken by us, but by our circumstances.

A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow

A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow

Life overwhelms us like a hurricane and we ourselves are like a weathervane in the wind of the many events that happen to us. Big mistake! First think and plan, then just do it! In our example, first we create the plans, and later we build the house.

But also, and this is where I disagree with many self-help manuals and authors, you need to know where your limitations and possibilities lie. Each one of us has both great talents and other areas in which it would be more difficult for us to stand out. If you want to gain knowledge about yourself, you should be very honest with yourself. This is essential. Search and discover your strengths, your real potential, where you think you can compete at an advantage.

Do not trust those who affirm that you have unlimited power, that anything is possible with perseverance and sacrifice. This point of view is known as the American dream with the Protestant moral Psychology behind it which has invaded us, and wants to make its ideology into a science. What cannot be, cannot be and is also impossible. It is as important to have the courage to make your dreams come true as it is to recognize your own limitations and the restrictions in your environment for undertaking your projects.

Finally, you should consider the labour market. It really is a market, isn’t it? It has a supply with governments, local councils, and entrepreneurs, including yourself if you are looking for self-employment, and it has a demand, with everyone who wants a job.

Sure many people want to become Barcelona FC, Manchester United, or Real Madrid football players, top models, movie stars, etc. These jobs are not considered to be too demanding and are highly paid. However, few people want to work in fast food restaurants, take care of the elderly, be a delivery boy, etc. This third pillar should not be underestimated or overestimated, like most things in life, it needs to be reasonably considered and taken into account.

What cannot be cannot be, besides which, it is impossible

What cannot be cannot be, besides which, it is impossible

The most in-demand jobs are those where the quality of work is reasonably good, with moderate stress limits, a reasonable number of hours and a good or very good remuneration. However, such jobs usually require much higher initial effort on your part to access them, and, in some cases, a lot of luck. Understanding well what they require is very important because before deciding what you want to become, you should analyze and judge what options are available and what each one involves: degrees, languages, University fees, IT skills, etc…

Deciding your vocation is about knowing what you really want to be, according to your true potential and the labour market’s demands. It is about putting in effort to discern objectively what you should do today, what the specific steps you must take to achieve your goals are, and finally, being committed to the task.

Take reality into account

Take reality into account

It is also very important to remember that our vocation or life project should make us happy. Money, fame, prestige, etc… help us and they are gratifying, but we will only be happy when we make others happy. Try to live your vocation as a service to others

Lastly, we quote Steve Jobs in his speech at Stanford:

Live as if today were the last day of your life, someday it will be, Steve Jobs.

Death strips us of our appearances, expectations, pride, etc… Before her, we are all equal and this perspective can help us:

  1. Living with intensity all the time, knowing how to enjoy the little things in life, and, more importantly, not wasting our time miserably.
  2. Be humble, have your feet on the ground, be able to accept your own limitations and mistakes.
  3. Make decisions without being too afraid: we do not have much to lose anyway.
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