How do you feel about your future career? Thrilled, hopeful, nervous, terrified? Somewhere in between?
Your answer has a lot to do with the type of person you are. When it comes to forging a career, as a recent article in The New York Times pointed out, there are basically three types of people: Sprinters, Wanderers, and Stragglers.
Sprinters know exactly what they want and go for it. Wanderers need more time exploring their options, while Stragglers take the longest time of all, sometimes drifting for years before owning a life goal.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each and how you can succeed in your career faster—no matter what type you may have been in the past!
Sprinters: Taking Life by the Horns
Sprinters have a clear vision of what their future should be and they seize (and create) opportunities to make it so. They are forward-thinking and confident in their decisions. Being prepared to take risks makes them unafraid to start over, even when they fail (which they usually do at some point). They allow themselves to shop around for jobs, realizing that if they get stuck they are allowed to change. Adapting is seen as a good thing.
If this is you, then you, my friend, are the lucky one! Don’t take it for granted. Don’t get lazy. Don’t coast. Take advantage of this clarity of purpose and give it everything you’ve got.
Wanderers: Sampling Everything
Wanderers have something in common: Their minds change. They’re like the unsure eater who needs to sample half the menu before placing an order. Maybe they picked one major but switched sophomore year. Maybe they’re vaguely interested in three careers but can’t pick a favorite. Maybe they’re considering going back to school to get the degree they actually wanted.
Is this you? Don’t worry! Wanderers simply take longer to find their fit. The key is to actually commit to something. Pick a goal, give it an honest try, and see how you like it. If you hate your education or career choice, shift gears and pick another. You’ll quickly learn enough about yourself that you can probably eliminate two or three options at once, thus narrowing down your choices until you land on the perfect path.
Stragglers: Struggling to Figure It Out
If Wanderers change their minds, Stragglers can’t make them up in the first place. Confused. Misguided. Unmotivated. After high school, Stragglers often find themselves living at home and working so-so jobs or else joining the military by default, because they simply don’t have a clear plan for their life. Career path? Unknown. Urgency? Nowhere to be found.
If you’re a Straggler, you might not be able to become a Sprinter overnight (and that’s okay), but you can fix your indecision by taking the same steps as the Wanderer (see above). But first of all, get motivated! You are in charge of you. Even if you end up taking the scenic route to your ideal career, get off your duff, get in the car, and drive. Go somewhere! Destinations don’t come to you; you have to go to them. NOW IS YOUR CHANCE.
All You Can Do is Hustle
I myself—along with many people—have felt pressure to be the Sprinter. A common assumption is that if we aren’t the ambitious go-getter who has known what they were wanted to do since they were five years old, then we must be behind. Not true! We cannot decide when we receive inspiration to follow a particular calling. We can only control how hard we hustle when we do.
No matter which of these three types you are, you can still discover the right career. Take ownership of your life and become who you were made to be.
While reading this, have you realized that you aren’t on the path to where you want to go? We can help you get there! Take the first step by answering our Discovery Questionnaire to find careers worth pursuing. Get career tips and education advice by following Find Your Calling on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Sign up here for the monthly newsletter. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.