Do What You’re Good At, Not What You’re “Supposed To”

For most of us, our career journey looks like this:

  • Go to school for about 12 years.
  • Choose what to study in university:
  • This is one of the most important decisions in your life, but no pressure!
  • Better be sure about what you choose. How? That’s your problem.
  • Study for years & graduate from university.
  • Get a job in the field you studied.

For a lot of people, that works just fine and they do great. I wasn’t one of those people. That whole process was broken for me from the start: I had no idea what I wanted to study in university after high school. I ended up majoring in Software Engineering (5-year program). Why? I liked computers. So… I guess it wouldn’t be too bad to study computer-y stuff? Fast forward 5 years and I graduated then got a job as a web developer. And yeah it wasn’t too bad. But…

All this while, I didn’t know if this is what I wanted! Seriously, I was still as unsure about my decision after a year of working as a web developer as I was 6 years ago before choosing to major in Software Engineering.

Then I had a chance at my company to try a different role, something that required technical knowledge as well presentation and sales skills. I was really intrigued by the idea and jumped on it. I’m really much happier doing this now than in my time as a web developer. And whereas I was ok in my previous role, I think I can be great in this.

This got me thinking… what else am I good at that I have been ignoring because I was limiting myself by looking at jobs that I was “supposed to” be considering (i.e. jobs related to what I studied)? Through inspiration from close friends of mine, I tried listing the things that I was good at and could get a job doing. This has really changed the way I look at my career. Now I’m working on improving the things I’m already good at, which means, I naturally enjoy them.

If you’re good at something that other people value, then you have a better chance of excelling at it and making good money from it than if you were to continue at a job you’re not so good at just because that’s what you studied in university and so that’s what you’re “supposed to” be doing for a living. Get a pen and paper, list what you’re good at, don’t be modest, get better at them, make money from them all!