How bad do you want it? - The Career Plan 1/7
This is post 1 of a 7 part series !
How do you get your dream career? Your current job should lead to you building your dream career ! So how bad do you want your current career aspirations?
a paid position of regular employment.
an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress.
Being able to understand the length you would go for your goal helps you weed out the options that you don’t feel are worth the stress. This is not to encourage toxic working situations but acknowledging your limits and setting boundaries to make sure that they aren’t crossed!
Being able to narrow this down allows you to understand your options and only focus on a few. Knowing what you want comes with honest self reflection and pin pointing your main motivational factor. Motivation comes in waves and determination and consistency is what drives your goals to make them a reality. Its a weird cycle though, without motivation you can’t be determined and consistent.
You may pick a particular career because of money and that is okay! We all need money and I want to be a rich aunt with a private island in some version of my life. Financial stability is important and if your current situation calls for that you will have real decisions to make! You may have realised that you’re not done learning, exploring and will choose further study and in another sense you may not see a future in your current field so need to plan an exit strategy.
Humans learn by example so lets use me ?
Who am I: a medical physiology graduate with a masters in medical ultrasound where my masters was chosen to provide me the job security a lab based degree doesn't offer. Two months into my degree I knew I wanted to do something else and the hospital environment wasn't where I wanted to be. Not that I couldn't do it but I appreciated basic science more !
This feeling brought me back to my initial decision not to pursue medicine. At the time I couldn’t pin point it but I just knew It wasn’t for me.When looking to alternatives to medicine the option of pursuing a Physician's associate degree came up and my dad asked the very simple question “ Why not a Doctor” . The role of a PA is similar to Medicine so indeed a very good question.This isn't to say a PA is not as good as a doctor, but if I had really wanted it, I would have been able to justify my reasons and tell him it was the career for me !
This was the same for my msc. The obvious career path was an Echocardiographer . I couldn't see myself in that role for anything longer than I had to be in it. I had conversations with someone amazing on twitter far along in her career and I just couldn’t see myself in the role. She also mentioned I had more passion talking about lab work ! I stuck with that point and let it guide my job search.
So pandemic, I had two options further additonal training to get the hospital job I had initially planned or pack it in and try something else. The added training I needed to do wasn't worth it to me and certainly didn't interest me as much as basic science. My msc experience was all forms of negative so that is where I set my boundaries of not dying for academia and dropped my hopes of a Phd in that exact same field.
The Phd thing is still an option but How bad I want it is still up for debate. I am taking the year as it comes and trying to enjoy the present. I have set my boundaries of prioritising my mental health and realising that things take time while continuing to find myself outside of academia.
Note: me writing this post makes it sound like a smooth process but throw in trying to make proper career decisions and a pandemic and it was what I will call STRESSFUL ! I made it out Alhamdullilah because I cant finish this point without saying God really took me through it ( sorry if you aren't religious lol)
To end, remember you don’t need to have all the answers but you should have checkpoints with yourself to assess how bad you want something. Regular checkpoints help build motivation and to be productive you must have the most efficient strategy and to know this you need to constantly self evaluate your outlook on your career. If the job or route is no longer serving it s purpose, don’t be afraid to move on !
To end. Here are two TCIM career profiles that are shining examples of determination and following a career based on desire and not time limits set by the outside world. Both Lynn and Adama decided to pursue a career in Medicine much later than the usual grad entry route.