This is the million-dollar question that we are confronted with early in life. It often remains unanswered as we grow in our careers. It is a question that many of us are still searching to answer.
Recently I participated in a local career day events, where elementary school children are introduced to different career fields. At the end of the day the teacher asked that same question that I myself have yet been able to answer. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I noticed that many of the kids struggled to offer an answer. Many give up on the quest for the right answer and offer a quick reply in hopes of being able to move on with their day. The majority of them shrug and respond with a lackluster, “I don’t know”. What is the point of this exercise? Are we even asking the right question?
Is the job title the end game?
The question that we should ask, is “When you close your eyes and see your life in 5, 10, 15+ years, what does it look like?”
Do you travel for work or for pleasure? Are you home every night, eating dinner at the table with your spouse and children? Do you live in a trendy Manhattan apartment and wear business suits on the subway? Do you own a house in the suburbs or rent flat near the beach? Do you work out every day or take a walk at lunch? Do you bbq on the weekends or enjoy the museums? Are you at work at the crack of dawn? or mid-day start from a home office? Are you raising your children and going to the park each day? Are your boots muddy or are the heals red bottomed?
What does your life look like?
Once the picture of your life is visible, the next question to consider is: What type of career do I need to obtain that life? and finally, what skills do I need to obtain the career?
That million-dollar, soul searching question continues to nag at us even after we have established a career. There are many reasons why this question pops into our mind throughout our life; i.e. a business reorg, the loss of a loved one, earning an advanced degree.
If you are faced with this question, I encourage you to change the perspective and ask yourself, what do I want my life to look like?