How I Found a Career that I Love (And How You Can Too)

Picking a career can be very difficult. Let me share my story with you and find out how you can find a career that you love too. I started wanting to go in one direction, giving my all to it. Then suddenly, and admittedly it was a painful move, God moved me into another career path. Guess what? I love what I do now. 

The question always arises: What do you want to be when you grow up? A lawyer. An engineer. A math teacher. A firefighter. A scientist. The choices are endless. There are no shortages of books, either, that provide advice such as, “Follow your passion” or “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” After having done these things, many people still find themselves not satisfied in their work. The Washington Post published an article in 2013 in which it cited that only 13% of employees worldwide were “emotionally invested in their work and focused on helping their organizations improve” [source]. Forbes magazine, on the other hand, reports that job satisfaction has been on a decline since the 1980s [source].

Are we doomed to this depressing work culture or is there better? I believe there is a better way. 

I want to talk more about my own journey to the career that I have today and what I have learned over the years about what it means to have true job satisfaction.

When I was 14 years old and a freshman at the Church Farm School, an all-boys boarding school in Exton, PA. I woke up one morning with the answer to the all-too-common question screaming in my head. I immediately called my older brother and exclaimed, “I know what I want to be when I grow up… a doctor!” From that moment on, nothing was more important to me than attaining this one dream.

During the next four years of high school I lived and breathed for this one purpose. I devoured books about other doctors who had made the journey and tried to imagine myself in their shoes. One of my favorites was a book called The Pact which highlighted the journeys of three black doctors from Newark, New Jersey. I knew if they could do it, I could too.

I went one to graduate second in my class in high school and received a full scholarship to attend Swarthmore College. There I majored in Biology and Pre-med. The dream continued to burn strongly in my heart and I dove head long into my studies. I also continued to pursue internship opportunities in the medical field. The capstone opportunity was a 2-month internship in Haiti, where I shadowed a surgeon during a number of surgeries including a leg amputation of a diabetes patient.

After graduating from college, I quickly started preparing for the MCAT; I was just a few steps away from my dream.

Coming to the end of one Road, Taking a Different Path

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

I don’t remember the exact moment, but sometime during the process of preparing for Medical School, I started doing something that, up to that point, I had not done before. I started to think deeply about the road on which I was embarking and asking myself some poignant questions. Is this truly what I want to do? Do I have a passion for this career, beyond just the excitement of attaining the prestige and honor associated with it? The more I reflected, the more I realized that the motivation that had been driving me for so long was a need for prestige and accolade instead of a deep desire to help heal the physically sick and disabled. In my heart, I knew the only reason I wanted to be a doctor was because I wanted to feel important. It was a self-serving motive, rather than a selfless pursuit.

I spent the next two years weighing my options and gathering input from others. Not seeing a rekindling of the passion I had at the first, I decided to forgo Medical School altogether and decided to focus instead on working. This was one of the hardest decisions I made, especially because I did not have a backup plan. I felt like a failure and was embarrassed by how things had turned out. But I also knew that I had made the right decision.

One year later, I started learning about Organizational Leadership through the works of Dave Ramsey, Jim Collins, and John Maxwell. I became intrigued with the idea of mentoring, teaching, and coaching others, things which I enjoyed but never really explored before. When I got the call to join my current organization’s leadership team, a new path opened up to me. It is here that I find that my passion for teaching and mentoring others is tied nicely with the work that I get to do on a daily basis.

Today, I manage a team of over 100 team members, and I can sincerely say that I love my job. Each day brings a new challenge which keeps me engaged and challenged. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but when I look back on my journey thus far, I am amazed at how God has guided me. For many years I had planned my steps, but ultimately God knew where he needed me. Those who knew me well growing up always told me that I was well suited for teaching. Today, I get to teach and coach my team on the skills they need to be successful in their roles.

Perhaps you are going through a similar situation, wondering what to do next, or facing a tough decision about a potential career shift. Take things one day at a time and do everything with the highest level of excellence. Often we get so caught up in planning for the future that we forget that the present is in need of our attention as well. It is as you excel in the day-to-day, sometimes mundane, tasks that you will build the confidence and influence to be trusted with more responsibilities.

You can learn about being trusted with more responsibilities in my post about being promote-able.

And if nothing else, remember that God knows exactly where he wants you to be, and he will lead you there in his time.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

– Led by the Book

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