Stereotypically, growing up in an Asian family means you are born with the pressure of either following your parents’ career path or being told you ‘should’ become a doctor, engineer, lawyer or any professional field popular at the time.
Born and raised in Vietnam, I, however, had the opposite problem.
My dad suffered injuries from the Viet-US war and became disabled way before I was born. His physical condition didn’t allow him to work, despite his talent and wisdom. With dad requiring 24/7 care, this resulted in my mom having to stay at home to look after him.
Growing up, I really struggled with my identity and was unsure about the career path I should follow. While my friends whose parents were doctors, teachers, engineers, bankers, etc. had a pretty clear idea what they wanted, or didn’t want, to become.
Having no career orientation; combined with the curious and adventurous gene in my blood; meant that I would want to try my hand at EVERYTHING.
And so I did. Looking back, I think I have quite an impressive resume spreading across a few industries. I’m super proud of all the diverse experiences I have accumulated; as well as the wide knowledge I have gained, the complex network of people from all walks of life I have met; and the various management and leadership styles I have experienced.
However, every once in a while, I succumb to a deep admiration of people who have a remarkable decades long career in one industry. From outside looking in, it seems like they have it all figured out and are ready to go the distance. While I have, in the past, looked at my career and pondered, “What career path am I REALLY following?”
While I treasure every experience and every mistake that has made me who I am today (which I am absolutely happy with), I wish someone could have given me some much needed advice when I was at university in those early years, feeling lost.
So, nearly a decade after leaving university myself, I find myself writing this. To all the dreamers, the passionate, the crazy, the talented, the ones “feeling lost”, the ones who think they are not special - here are some career and life advice I wished someone had told me when I was a whole lot younger. I’ve learned them through trial and error and I hope they help you too:
- Take the time to look deeper at your values and interests to discover your passion and inner strength
- Never be concerned or make up excuses for your awesome past career or life experiences, whatever they may have been. Find a way to highlight all that you have learned as nothing is ever wasted. Now go for the job you love and walk into the interview proudly with what you have done and learnt!
- Every experience counts. Be the best you can be. Do what you love. Love what you do.
- And if the motivation, inspiration, passion, or love has worn out, it is time to move on. It's better for both you, and the organisation you work for. There is no point forcing yourself to stay in a job you are no longer passionate about. Life is too short to be stuck doing things you don't love.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. Don’t settle.” - Steve Jobs.
And if you still haven’t found your passion, that’s ok too. Keep searching because what you’re seeking, is seeking you too. Before you start searching for a career that sparkles, you need to understand yourself first. And to do that, you only need ONE tip, and the rest will follow.
TOP TIP: Look within to see beyond. Start by finding the answers to these:
- Pay attention to what you love doing so much that you lose your sense of time doing it
- What are your core values?
- What life stage are you at?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your resources?
- What do you enjoy doing the most?
- What changes do you want to see in the world?
- What are some burning questions and problems you see around you that require solving? And how can you solve that problem?
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything”
My final words to you.
Live life for the experience, not for the possession. I hope you are doing what you love and loving what you do!
PS: Still looking for your dream career or having a burning business idea but not sure where to start? Join us at our Career Date Night to mingle with some industry experts, business owners and inspiring entrepreneurs and listen to their success & failure stories and career journey.
Posted by Lynn Hoang
Experienced client & business manager - helping businesses grow financially and operate efficiently