Many don’t really and unless you are one of those people who just know, it’ll take work and certain mental frameworks to get there. The trick is to know that, make your peace with it and to keep working on it. It’s about exploration, building career capital to help you get to where you want to go and creating a network of connections. The books below are excellent guides.
Good Luck! You’ll need it.
#1 Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha
As a co-founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman knows a thing or two about careers and success. In start-up of you he shares his framework of approaching career planning in our modern days where there is no more job safety and a ton of macro-economic ambiguity (thanks Trump & Brexit co. we really needed a bit more spice in our lives, things were going just a little too well). The ideas in the book are very actionable too. Definitely worth giving it a go. You’ll find the summary of the book here but the whole thing is worth a read.
#2 Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
It’s the core idea of this book that is critical. It simply presents a very compelling case to shift your career development focus from focusing on fixing your weaknesses to doubling down on your strengths. In this hyper-competitive environment the only way to sustain a long term career is hidden in this core idea. This is the trick to have an unfair advantage. Combine it with some of the ideas in Start-up of you and you have a winner. While the idea is simple, if you have bought into the fixing your weaknesses framework, it’s a hard one to digest. Digest it, it’ll do you good.
#3 So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
This book dispels another dangerous (and romantic) myth about career planning – follow your passion. This book talks about acquiring tangible skills in a certain field (aka career capital) and then leveraging those skills to create situations that are inline with what you are seeking from your professional life (freedom of location, more financial gain etc.). It also warns against jumping into areas where you feel passionate about without the right level of skill investment. It doesn’t give a romantic view of professional life, but rather a level-headed one that most of us need to hear. That’s precisely why it’s a strong book.
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