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Are you in the right career?

Do you sometimes wonder if you're in the right career for your skills and interests? Or do you not have a career, but rather are in a job while you try to figure out what to do with your life? To find the answer you can meet with a career counselor, pay a mint for services that identify your strengths or, more arduously, try a dozen different jobs in hopes of finally locating your bliss.

Or you can take this simple career aptitude test from Rasmussen College.

Although the exam isn't definitive -- no test is -- in a matter of minutes it can give you a list of careers that might fit your skills. What good is that? Well, to start there are some things that popped up on mine that I know very little about, like an administrative law judge. Personally, I'm very happy in my current career, but if I wasn't, or if I was looking to go back to school, having a list of possible careers that align with my skills could be a very good thing.

How important is it that you love your job?

As I'm fond of saying, we call it work because it's not fun. Yet for the most part my career has been fun. Not like an amusement park, but fun in that I have been blessed with a career that interests me, challenges me and allows me to interact with other interesting people. But make no mistake, it's work. I do love it in that general "love" sense that encompasses times when I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than read one more email or write one more word.

What's important to remember is that you will spend more time working in your career than you will with your spouse or children. So it's important that your career fit you. (Of course, it's most important that your career provide an income, and that is a priority above chasing your dreams. If you don't believe this, please give me your mom's phone number and I'll call her and have her kick you out of her basement, at which point you'll agree with me.)

The Engineer and Leadership Blog lists five great reasons why loving your career is important:
  1. At least half your waking hours are spent at work. If you're upset about being at work... that's no way to live.
  2. It will be very difficult for you to invest in your career.
  3. You'll never be truly great at what you do.
  4. You won't get promotions.
  5. You'll lack fulfillment
While this isn't altogether true -- plenty of people have gotten promoted at jobs they didn't love, and few of us will achieve "greatness" in any career, regardless of whether we love it or not -- the points ring true. Working in an area that fits your skills and passions is a lot easier than forcing yourself into a situation where you lack natural talent.
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