We all have to work to “make ends meet” and “fund” the lives we want with our career. Whether that means supporting a family, building your dream home, funding an expensive hobby, traveling, or anything else you desire, you need to be able to support the lifestyle you choose. 


The fact of the matter is that in many ways, you control your own destiny. The choices you make early in your working life—in your late teens or early 20’s—will likely set the stage for the rest of your career and your life. 


Will you play it safe or will you have the courage to take a risk and seek a career that will excite and fulfill you?


Many young people choose the safe road. When starting out, they go for the job that pays the most at the outset and looks good to their family and friends. Oftentimes, that job isn’t fulfilling—it doesn’t let them utilize their talents and it doesn’t inspire them—but they get stuck. Maybe they start a family or have a mortgage and can’t take the risk of changing careers, which may require starting at the bottom for less money. 


Unfortunately, this happens all too often, and many people find themselves stuck in a rut for 30 or 40 years or more. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 


When you’re young and starting out (or if you’ve already started out and want to change your course), your title or your salary shouldn’t matter. Having the courage to explore careers that let you use your talents, excite you, or fulfill you can be the difference between getting stuck in a ho-hum, unfulfilling career and getting to do something you love—and maybe something that makes a difference in the world—every day. 


There are so many options out there that it can be overwhelming. But taking the easy path and settling for the “good” job can set you up for mediocrity.


Many young people never consider a job in the trades when starting out on a career path. Unfortunately, the trades are often considered “dirty” jobs or temporary jobs to “hold you over” until you get the job you want. That view of the trades is shortsighted and has led to a shortage of skilled workers in this country.


Making a career in the trades has plenty of advantages, including the opportunity to work outdoors (instead of behind a desk) with like-minded coworkers and to build something with your hands that you can be proud of every day. Many overlook the fact that construction and other jobs in the trades pay well and can be a rewarding career for those who put in the time and effort to build their skills and “move up the food chain.” Construction, for example, can be very lucrative for those who are ambitious and motivated. Some choose to not just learn the skills but also learn the business. These career tradesmen can earn 6 figures and beyond if they decide to start their own construction company after learning a trade inside and out.


It’s all about taking a risk, exploring what’s out there that makes you tick. It can be a process of trial and error. You may have to try several things before you find your niche. And that means that you may have to endure the questions and comments from family and friends who don’t understand your search. 


For some, it’s easier to settle into that safe job than to take the risk. But for those who have the courage to try something different, the payoff can be huge. Suddenly, your job isn’t a “job” at all; it’s something you look forward to and love doing every day (or most every day)—no spending decades of your life stuck in a boring, unfulfilling career.


The choice is yours: will you settle for a life of “good enough” or will you have the courage to find the career that makes you happy?