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Note: This is part 2 of a 2-part series looking at the enormous topic of careers. In part 1, we broke down the average human life, showing how after all is said and done, you're left with 250,000 meaningful adult hours. What you choose to do with those hours is up to you.
Wants vs. Reality
What do you want to be when you grow up?

For most of us, we're probably not in the career we imagined when we answered that question as kids. I'm not a pilot and most of my friends aren't doctors. Heck, I didn't even know what marketing was at the time.

But here we are, faced with the reality that we probably won't end up chasing our "dreams." 

Or will we? 🤔

The Happenstance Learning Theory posits that:

"What-you-should-be-when-you-grow-up need not and should not be planned in advance. In a nutshell, human behavior is the product of countless numbers of learning experiences made available by both planned and unplanned situations in which individuals find themselves."

In other words, on one hand, sure you might want to be a engineer or a scientist or a doctor, but in reality, what you really need is a career that stimulates you mentally. One that is right in front of you and you might not even know it.

The perfect career is smack dab in the middle of your wants and reality
The want side is incredibly complicated. It consists of hundreds of different factors that come together to make up who you are as a person. We all want one thing one minute only to find that we've changed our mind the next. 

The reality side is equally confusing. Reality tells us that we can't be an engineer because we don't have the degree in engineering or the experience. So we go for other career options that we feel better suit our current skill level.

The catch is, with enough time, you could be an engineer. That's the reality. It all boils down to whether or not being an engineer truly aligns with your want box or not.

Sometimes we imagine ourselves in a certain career, but forget the amount of long hours, stress, and self-doubt that come along with becoming skilled in that area.


Finding the Balance
In order to find the perfect career or one close to it, we have to find a balance between wants and reality (as mentioned before). 

But how? 

Ask a career counselor.. The end. Jk, but no seriously, lots of people struggle to find what truly makes them happy and career counselors are a great resource. 

In the meantime, I suggest a bit of self reflection. Let me give you an example. 

I work for Buffer. A SaaS company that makes tools for businesses to thrive on social media. While I love my job and the company, I'd guess that the 10-year-old version of myself would have a few questions. 

At the same time, I'm 30 years old. I have car payments, rent, student loans, and my future to think about. I can't up-and-leave everything (and would I really want to? Probably not).

And so I started to examine parts of my life. Throughout the day I would record in the notepad on my computer anytime something got me particularly excited. 

Teaching... ooh that was fun.
Investing... loved that. 
Spreadsheets... not so fun.
Writing... yes!

Wait a second. I'm in a career that allows me to do these things every day. I teach other businesses how to be better at marketing. 

The money I make at Buffer allows me to invest for fun on the side. 

I have the opportunity to write about things that interest me (personally and professionally). 

Re-framing the current situation (reality) in my mind made me realize that what I think I want and what I actually want are two very different things.

What makes you happy? Reflect. Take notes. 

If you find your current career truly doesn't match your wants, then it might be time for a change. But don't let reality stand in your way. 

With time, anything is possible. 

Until next Friday, Thinkers

- Brian

P.S. Read of the Week: How Wharton Launched Warby Parker - and Dozens of Other Companies Just Like It.
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