6 Signs You're on the Right Career Path

Fresh out of college, graduate school, and/or a seemingly never ending cycle of crappy jobs, it is almost effortless for twenty-somethings to feel like they are slipping into a quarter-life crisis.

Post-grad life offers an initial series of shocks for twenty-somethings entering the workforce for the first time as they learn to navigate uncharted territory. Similarly, millennials who have been working, but find themselves stuck in dead end jobs rather than thriving careers also struggle to attain fitting career paths.

Both graduates and young professionals of the millennial generation are victims of career unhappiness. This unhappiness may stem from demeaning bosses, unrealistic role expectations, a poor match of skills for the required responsibilities, and/or  millennials genuinely unsure of their perfect career path.

It can be difficult to find your professional niche, and for most people it’s a series of trial and error. It may take a few bad gigs to find the good one. There’s no magical recipe for achieving employment satisfaction. Career happiness is a direct result of finding your dream job.

As it turns out, it may not be the illusion you had as a child wishing to become a pop star or doctor. Your dream career could very well be something you never even considered! If you want to know how to travel on the right career path, you’re in luck.

Here at GenTwenty we have the telltale signs you’re on the right career path:

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1. You don’t think of work as “work.” 

You have found your career niche if you honestly don’t feel like you’re working when you’re in the office. If your work days fly by, you’re always having fun, and the challenges of your daily routine invigorate you rather than drag you down, you’ve probably found the perfect fit.

2. You’re excited to jump out of bed each morning. 

As soon as your alarm clock sounds at the hint of sunrise you zip out of bed to get ready for the day. Adults who genuinely enjoy their career can’t wait to start their work day. Even on sluggish mornings when the body wants to rest upon duvets and pillows, the mind is geared with a sense of possibility and encouragement to accomplish new projects, meet deadlines, and continue the work flow.

3. You agree with what you do and how you do it. 

The organization you work for may never have come to mind when initially dreaming up career possibilities. The reality of your work may have paled in comparison to what you imagined at first. Yet, in the day-to-day happenings of your job you agree with everything you do. From the monotonous, routine tasks that need tending to, to the larger projects you are assigned, you come to love every aspect of your role’s responsibilities and the overall culture of your organization.

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4. You feel valued and respected. 

Working is part of life balance. Earning a paycheck and the livelihood that comes with a career takes up at least forty hours per week. With much of our daily routine dedicated to working, most people would prefer to feel valued and respected by their coworkers and peers.

For millennials, respect and value are difficult to come by when you’re the bottom rung of the vertical ladder of professional mobility and success. It is an obstacle to prove yourself worthy of respect right away, and is typically earned overtime. Yet, if you feel value and respect in your career, you have likely found your professional niche.

Being surrounded by people who admire your work and respect you as an individual (as opposed to being a cog in the wheel) is bound to inflate your confidence and exude professional happiness in your life.

5. You have no regrets. 

You’ll know that you have found your career niche if you have no regrets. When twenty-somethings first join the workforce they may feel like they pursued the wrong degree, or should have continued onto grad school, or should have applied for more internships in college. Yes, these should-haves may be applicable under certain circumstances, but if you find the perfect career type for you they really won’t matter.

If you find a job that brings you more joy than struggle and allows you to utilize your unique skill set, then it won’t matter how many internships you passed up. If you truly love your job, you won’t regret a single thing it took to get you there.

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6. You finally stop job hunting. 

Gosh, it’s such a wonderful feeling when you stop perusing job boards, isn’t it? Twenty-somethings often exhale in relief when they can finally end the interviewing process and get into the nitty-gritty of their new career. When you finally put an end to the job hunt you have likely found a career that will become your professional niche.

Knowing you’re on the right career path is a different journey for everyone. For some, it takes trial and error to find the diamond in the rough. For others, it’s perspective and understanding that makes you realize you may have already found the perfect job.

Twenty-somethings often struggle to gain footing in today’s uncertain economy, but luckily we live in an era that encourages creativity and individualism. If you haven’t found your professional niche yet, keep looking or go out there and make it! If you have found that perfect career, hold on to it. Employment satisfaction is a great feeling; one to carry with you through retirement.

Related: What It’s Really Like to Love Your Job