You've Taken a Career Quiz; Now What? 3 Tips to Achieving Your Dream Job.
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Do you know what you want to do when you grow up? If so, you’re ahead of the curve -- and if not, don’t be discouraged. A Teens & Careers poll found that 15 percent of teen respondents didn’t know what kind of job they wanted after school. Over 40 percent of millennials surveyed plan to leave their current jobs within two years, according to Deloitte research.
Work culture is no longer defined by finding a full-time job and sticking with it for decades. That ethos is a relic from generations past. Many people are moving across industries and job roles to find out what sort of job they are best-suited for.
If you’re at a crossroads -- perhaps you’re working at a job where you’re miserable,or you’re trying to decide what to study in school -- you might use personality or career testing, such as the Meyers-Briggs survey, to gain insights about what you’re good at and what you might like to do going forward.
Career testing can be helpful if it introduces you to new job roles you aren’t familiar with or reminds you of old passions you let fall by the wayside. But Gary Vaynerchuk says you probably already know what you like to do -- it’s what you do for fun when no one’s paying you. The successful entrepreneur and influencer doesn’t care much for tests or school in general. According to a Medium post, as a student Vaynerchuk made the decision that in spite of his painful report cards, he would show up at school and focus on what made him happy.
Either way, the hard part isn’t necessarily figuring out what you want to do, but how you’re going to make money doing it. So, regardless of whether you relied on career testing to find your passion or just knew it innately, there are three things Vaynerchuk says you need to do to make your dream a reality.
1. Be honest with yourself.
Don’t do something just because it’s expected. Being a doctor or a lawyer isn’t better than being a painter or a counselor, particularly if you hate or aren’t good at medicine or law. In fact, Vaynerchuk says he would have become a counselor himself, if he hadn’t gone into the family wine business.
You don’t need to have prestigious passions -- you just need to be honest with yourself about what your passions actually are. That way, you won’t be fighting against yourself to find success -- you’ll wake up excited and ready to make the most of every day. You can turn that enthusiasm into a work ethic, which will pay off in the long run.
For instance, Vaynerchuk is famously a sports fan, and has been for a long time. And he’s been open about being a terrible student in academics. However, he had received five A's in high school -- and all five were in health or physical education, as he showed in a picture of his report card on Instagram.
His sports enthusiasm parlayed into his being an established fan of the New York Jets. Here he is at the NFL Draft, cheering on a Jets selection:
On a more professional front, Vaynerchuk’s lifelong interest in sports translated into his co-founding VaynerSports, an athletic agency that represents NFL players like Houston Texans receiver Braxton Miller and Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan. It also represents Josh Jackson, whom Vaynerchuk accompanied to the NFL Draft this year.
It was just a few years ago that Vaynerchuk watched the draft from the stands, like other fans. But, with hard work, passion and a vision, he was able to move from the stands to watching the draft from the green room, as an insider.
2. Cut out the B.S. and do stuff.
This is pretty straightforward. If you’re passionate about something, then you can’t allow yourself to make excuses. Or, as Vaynerchuk wrote, “No one should ever point to time or money as an obstacle. They are firmly in the excuses column, and I have no patience for that. I will never make an excuse. Everything that is a problem with me, everything I don’t achieve and everything wrong with VaynerMedia is my fault…. There will always be problems, and you need to get out of the mindset that they are obstacles, because you should already assume they will be there. They’re just part of the path, my friend.”
There are a million things that can and will go wrong. But if you can fight through any struggle and keep moving forward, then eventually you will reach your target.
Of course, there are some aspects of life you just can’t skip over. For example, you might need to work a full-time job to support your family. But that only means you will need to work on your passions in your off hours. Cut out time-consuming distractions, such as Netflix (Vaynerchuk says there are too many people watching Lost) or video games, and use that time to build the thing you actually care about.
Make whatever you care about a priority. Don’t let time slip by without making progress. It doesn’t have to be a lot -- Stephen King says in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft that he likes to write 2,000 words per day. That’s only about five notebook pages, but over a three-month period, it equates to 180,000 words -- the length of a full novel. His consistency has allowed him to become one of the most prolific authors in the world.
3. Become part of the world you love.
When Vaynerchuk started building his wine brand, he would spend 16 hours a day on every wine forum he could responding and speaking with new people. He went to the websites relevant to his world and became part of the conversation.
Once he had established himself, fellow readers or enthusiasts would want to know more about him, which would lead them to checking out his content. Then, Vaynerchuk would win them over with good content, and in that way, he built a following without trolling or begging people to come to his site. This strategy eventually led to his founding his own media company, VaynerMedia.
The key for Vaynerchuk was time and patience. He wanted to focus on delivering value by being responsive and helping others.
This is a great strategy for all entrepreneurs, but many people reject it because it is slow growth. We all get excited about one great idea and expect to see immediate, positive results. That’s not how this works. You can’t expect to make one Facebook post and expect it to go viral. Many of our contributors and experts agree that consistency is the most important skill you can have as an entrepreneur.
You’ll need that consistency to build your brand, client list or business. Don’t get discouraged, but keep pushing and establishing yourself in your world. It will pay off eventually.
You’re done with career testing. It’s time to act.
Regardless of your industry, passion or place in the world, following Vaynerchuk’s three tips can help make your dream a reality. To recap, those tips are:
- Be honest with yourself. You probably already know what your passion is, even without career testing. Don’t run away from what you’re good at or like just because it doesn’t fit someone else’s perception of success.
- Cut the B.S. and just do stuff. Always make your goals a priority. If you don’t accomplish them, you can’t blame your situation or other people. Vaynerchuk blames his failures on himself, because then he can’t make excuses.
- Become a part of the world you love. Establish yourself with like-minded individuals or businesses who see what you have to offer. This might not happen all at once; keep working, anyway.
These tips are simple in theory but harder to do in practice. They require patience, persistence and self-discipline. If you can stick to them, though, you can start the real career test and live a life of doing what you love.