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How to Choose a Career You Will Love

I WROTE THIS SEVEN YEARS AGO AND AM RE-POSTING BECAUSE IT STILL APPLIES.

I often get asked by high school and college kids for career advice. Over the years, I’ve distilled it down to two steps. This is what I tell them:

There are two steps to choosing a career. If you do the work on each, you will exponentially increase your chances of having a career you will love.

First, identify people who do what you think you want to do and follow them around. Don’t stalk them, volunteer to help them for a month or two. Give them free labor in return for learning about their work.

I know what you’re thinking, duh, of course. But this obvious first step is often skipped.

How may college graduates jump to law school, business school or other graduate school and invest countless hours and money into their studies only to realize two or three years later that they hate being a lawyer, teacher, accountant or financial advisor? But now they’re in big debt and have lost two to three years of earning capacity.

Make a serious effort to shatter your misconceptions. Bring a big hammer. Find out what the work is really like by shadowing someone who does it. You will

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In addition, we may be structuring our work as if it was still the 1980s, because our industry still does it that way and our teachers and bosses still think that way. Professionals like lawyers are especially guilty of this. Most lawyers and law firms still organize their work and delivery of services to their clients like it was done 30 years ago, although maybe with more email.

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