As a creative, you tend to face a lot of career ambiguity when it comes to deciding what you want your career to look like. Creativity is a skill that can be exercised in so many different professional environments, and is highly valued in team dynamics. If you have a creative background, or even just a natural flair for creative thinking, you actually have countless career options– contrary to popular belief. While you can pursue a traditional creative path, creativity is also deeply interconnected with a lot of scientific thinking, and is further an invaluable skill in positions like marketing or content creation for businesses. Career development can be overwhelming and stressful, especially in its early stages, but thinking about a few targeted questions will streamline the process and unveil the best options for you.
What sort of things are important to me?
This question targets one of the most important aspects of career development: purpose. Think about the things you really value– do you like hands-on work with helping people? Or do you cherish creating things for other people? Maybe you like to do bigger-picture work. Every person experiences fulfillment in different ways, and each job brings a unique sort of fulfillment. Recall past work, volunteer, or school environments and take a moment to reflect on how each of them left you feeling. Have you had a specific job that left you especially uplifted? Or maybe you’ve worked somewhere that particularly drained you. Once you start finding connections between your work and the things that you regard with importance, you will start to uncover not only the type of work you were meant to do, but also the type of people you enjoy working with and the types of professional environments you especially thrive in.
What do I have a natural flair for?
Addressing your natural talents and figuring out how you can incorporate them into your profession is another major part of career development. Usually, the things that we’re good at also tend to be the things that make us happy, but sometimes figuring out how we can turn that into a profession can be tricky. Are you a people person, and love chatting to people even if you don’t know them? Then you might fit right in working in sales. Are you a master communicator? Then working in a PR role could be perfect for you.
One of the main things that constitutes a happy work life, besides purpose, is mastery. That doesn’t mean that you have to be a master of your craft right off the bat– instead, it’s focusing on being able to concretely build the skills that make you good at your job. If your job requires a certain skill set that you don’t wish to develop, it will create a stressful and overall miserable work experience. When working on your career development, think about jobs that requires skills you already have or would be motivated to develop.
How big of a role do I want my career to play in my overall life?
This is often a neglected question when working on career development, but is deeply important. Every person has varying levels of importance of their career: some people highly value their life outside of work, such as their family and friends, more than their professional life, while some wish to hold their career as a major part of their life. Some wish to hold a perfect balance between their work life and personal life. The nature of some careers will demand more space in your life. For example, an entrepreneur will needs to sacrifice more of their personal life for their career than someone who works a more conventional 9 to 5 office job. Though career development is a major part of our overall human development, there is much more to life besides your career. When you’re thinking about what career you wish to pursue, ask yourself how much space in your life you wish to dedicate to your profession versus the other parts of your life.
What sort of environments do I work best in?
Do you thrive off of fast-paced, high energy environments? Do you prefer working alone at your own pace? Maybe you need to be surrounded by other people to keep you motivated. Knowing the types of environments you not only work best in, but enjoy working in is extremely important when focusing on your own career development. Think about whether you crave a regular schedule, or if you enjoy having each day bring something new and different. Do you wish to work with children, or other adults? Sometimes, at the early stages of career development, we don’t yet know how we work best. This aspect of your career development will unfold as you start working various jobs and internships. Compare and contrast how the different work environments you’ve experienced had different effects on how you worked. Were you more productive in one environment? Did other environments make you feel anxious or stressed when you came to work? You have to deal with your professional environment every day, so aligning it with your own preferences is vital in career development.
Planning what you want your career to look like is as overwhelming as it is necessary. By organizing your past professional experiences, your values, and your own passions, you at least have a place to start. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to pursue your career– it’s all about collecting knowledge about yourself and what inspires you. However, thinking about these questions will at least give your career development a jump-start.