According to a recent survey reported on by Express Employment’s Refresh Leadership, only about 7% of respondents say they’re currently where they thought their career path would take them. The article goes on to say, “the vast majority of respondents said their career path has led them somewhere completely different than what they envisioned.” Where would you fit in this range?
Maybe you’re among the 15% who found themselves in a different industry than they expected or the 12% who were doing a different job than they prepared for in school but were able to use at least some of their skills in that job.
If you thought you had a “key” to your future at the outset and have ended up somewhere you didn’t envision, do you know why that happened? And if you still aren’t where you really wanted to be, how can you rediscover the path that will lead you there?
Much as you might hate to admit it, maybe you made a career mistake while you thought you were pursuing your intended career path. For example, maybe you passed up an opportunity you should have taken or took a job you should have declined.
On the other hand, if you aren’t where you expected to be, you should probably try to determine whether that’s a bad thing or a good one. Was it really a career mistake or a choice that ended up being satisfying? For example, if you aimed to become a CEO and you’re not yet at the next level down from there, it might be a bad situation. But if you really enjoy the special area you’re now managing and find it very fulfilling, is CEO actually where you still want to go?
You might start by asking yourself a few questions to help determine if you made a misstep on your original career path or could happily continue in your present direction:
If you’re satisfied with your current career situation, even if it’s not what you intended, you probably don’t have a big issue to worry about. However, let’s say you’re not happy about being where you are. Then what?
A life without regrets might be impossible to achieve, since human beings are less than perfect. The same could be said for having deviated from your chosen career path; however, if you don’t want to spend the rest of your working life looking back with regret, it’s important to take a constructive look at where you can go from here and implement actions to make the best progress possible. As a man named Mason Cooley once said, “Regret for wasted time is more wasted time.”
Don’t let yourself waste time regretting what you can’t change. Instead, change what you can that needs to change.
Then take time to celebrate your smart decision–and move toward your new goal! That’s a winner’s choice.