What did you want to be when you grew up? Often times, the answer to that question isn’t the job we are doing now. Since there aren’t surpluses of astronauts, ballerinas, mad scientists, or even would-be presidents, it is safe to say that somewhere along the way, many of us veered from our dreams.
At some point during early adulthood, we became more realistic and found our paths to a comfortable career. It may not have been a glamorous entrance into our chosen field – perhaps, we began in Data Entry, transitioned to Administrative Assistant and then Manager, but whatever the case may be, we have become good at what we do.
Once we’ve come to accept our careers, the question stops being “What did you want to be when you grew up?” and instead becomes, “Is this my destination or a pit stop?”
If you’ve answered “destination,” then a congratulations are in order. You are one of the few who have actually reached their goal. For those of us who hesitate to answer the questions, it’s not too late. We can still make our marks in our current positions while preparing for something grander.
If the sample career path from Data Entry to Manager resonated with you, and you’d like to kick start your career into new possibilities, the following are some of the many ways you can take charge of your career.
- Stretch out of your comfort zone and volunteer to take on more responsibilities at work. This will show initiative on your part and present you as a team player. Join committees and projects that open up other areas outside of your scope. This is a great way to uncover skills and talents you may not be currently using.
- Take additional courses that will provide you with credentials for a leadership position, and make you a viable candidate for future promotions. Not sure what courses to take? Find a mentor or role model, examine the path that they took and determine if it fits for you too.
- Get more experience. If the experience you need is not available with your current company, look at outside possibilities. Non-profit groups offer opportunities for volunteers to hone in their special craft or learn new ones. If you are a writer, seek opportunities to write newsletters or press releases. If your interest is in politics, go join a local political campaign and learn from the professionals. If teaching is your dream, start at the local library and volunteer to be a reader. Or better yet, find a literacy program and teach someone how to read. Volunteering is a great way to help yourself while also helping others.
Now, let me ask you another question. If next year, at this time, I were to ask you, “Is your career by accident or by design” – how will you answer?
Ready When You Are
At American Public University, students are priority one. We are committed to providing quality education, superior student resources, and affordable tuition. In fact, while post-secondary tuition has risen sharply nationwide, the university continues to offer affordable tuition without sacrificing academic quality.