Q & A: How Do I Find My Career Path?

Life Coach Jaya Narayan answers readers’ questions and offers practical advice to handle the problems of working women. This month she talks about figuring out your career path.

Life Coach Jaya Narayan answers readers’ questions and offers practical advice to handle the problems of working women. This month she talks about figuring out your career path.

By Jaya Narayan

I studied Mass Media (Journalism) and worked at a few places trying to be a journalist, but the fire died down prematurely. I switched to content development for e-commerce and drifted away from it within a year. I took some time off preparing for MBA entrances and got a decent college, but I chucked that to join a rural development fellowship and worked in villages across India for 2 years. I came back to Mumbai and joined an NGO who pays me decently but the work is confined to the office which is now making me uneasy. Throughout, one of my core work was communications but I don’t have any special technical skills in design though I manage and learn quickly. I am again fiddling with the thought of an MBA in communications as I feel I have stagnated my growth and I also lack a strong mentor.  

I do want to go back to the field but I know the pay is not at par with a city based job. I am basically confused as to what to pursue in career. Each time I think I know my passion but it simply dies down. The work I am doing currently is not bad but I feel I should be doing much more. Help me as to how to take myself forward? I’d like to eventually work with businesses who have a strong sense of moral responsibility and strive to bring maximum impact with their CSR.” – P.L

Dear P.L,

Let me start with a quote: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot.

In your questions based on a set of steps you took in the past, I sense disappointment. It seems like you had expectations from yourself while embarking on these pursuits and it did not yield the desired outcome. One is never late. Look at these as learning experiences to explore how you make decisions and the pulls & pushes in sticking to commitments for your own success.

Some questions I would ask myself if I was in your place:

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1. What are some reasons that make you join (a course or work opportunity) and quit? What are some common patterns across these instances?

2.  What do you really enjoy doing?

3. If you had all the time in the world, money was no object and all the resources what would you be doing?

4. If you had to prioritize the following aspects: nature of work, learning opportunity, compensation and physical comfort. What would be the order?

5. What are the assessment / feedback that your managers who worked with you in the past jobs provided to you? What according to them was your biggest professional strength?

If the answer to question 2, 3, 4 and 5 leads to a role of communication in a not for profit – you must persist with your heart and soul. If that is not the answer, be willing to flesh out the details of where you want to go in the next 5 years and milestones that would lead you there.

Question 1 would just help you become self-aware of the context in which you tend to call it quits or become disengaged. You could watch out for those aspects as you decide on the next course of action or job.

My recommendation would be to focus on the job or short course based learning (certifications) that helps you strengthen your profile to the dream future.

I would suggest that you get in touch with a professional to guide you to assess your strengths and explore the career goals you want to set for yourselves in the future. I am confident that you will taste success and a sense of fulfilment in your career very soon.

Do you have any career concerns that need to be addressed? Click here to send us your questions and get them answered by the experts!

*Image Source: Svilen Milev


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