Taking Side Roads
If your skills and dreams don’t quite match, don’t give up. It’s possible to take a side road into an area you’ll enjoy by applying the skills you have. If you want to be a chef and go to culinary school, but find out that you’re dangerously clumsy with knives, you might use writing skills to make a career as a cookbook author or restaurant critic. It’s the matching up of talents and abilities with interests that makes or breaks a career.
One of my first clients was torn between career choices. She had a natural talent for art and was passionate about the environment. Her dream was to become an environmental engineer. But she was rejected from all of the engineering programs to which she applied. Eventually, she decided to apply to an art institute, where she was accepted and did very well. She now uses her artistic talent to increase public awareness of environmental issues by designing and creating scale models of habitats.
Choosing a career is only the first part of your job. You may have made the perfect fit for a career in terms of abilities, interests, experience, and knowledge but fail miserably because of impulsive interactions with coworkers or poor social skills. If so, you must recognize what is happening and take steps to correct it before you lose your dream job.
Also, look for a mentor — a person in your field but not necessarily at your workplace — who can guide your career, and point out trouble spots before they become barriers to advancement.
What is most important is to work with what we have and recognize and accept ourselves for who we are. No amount of money or prestige can make us happy without self-acceptance. Love who you are, and it will be easier to love what you do.