Your career, like your life, is the sum of all the decisions (good and bad) you make along the way. That means you must be diligent about understanding what you want out of life and how you’ll get there. Having a road map is always a good start.
As the son of immigrants, I was determined to go to a four-year school and start working as soon as I graduated. I believed higher education was a gateway to prosperity. Like most college graduates, I believed I could make money quickly and change the world in the process. I learned over the course of my career, this wasn’t always the case.
I offer my experiences as a guide to help you create your own road map to your purpose. The hope is it will guide you to a more direct career path that allows you to prosper financially while also fulfilling your God-given potential.
Step 1: Work backwards
If you want to live and work on your own terms, take time to figure out what you want to do with your life. Then work backwards from there. In my early years, I was determined to give back to the country that had given me so much. After 9/11, I decided the best way to do that was by working in government. While that did not enrich me financially–government work rarely does–it gave me an incredible amount of experience. Over the span of a decade, I worked in various roles at different governmental entities. At times as a public employee and at other times as an appointee. With my goal of giving back I learned that large entities (like the government) move slowly towards change. Being diligent and patient is what helps create change.
Step 2: Understand that choices have consequences
While it’s good to ask family, educators and others you trust for their input, ultimately you live with the outcomes of your choices. For example, in high school I wanted to learn French and asked my counselor whether it was a good idea. He discouraged me and told me I should take an automotive class instead. I went against that advice and now I’m doing business with a French company in French.
At the end of the day, the responsibility to find a rewarding job and make a good living falls squarely on your shoulders. Never give that power to anybody–not your parents, teachers or friends.