How to choose a profession?

Many people ask me “How to become a business analyst?”. But the first question is – should you become a business analyst at all? How to make sure you’re choosing the right profession for you? Let’s check. 

Why it’s so important?

I observe how some people flourish at work. Some others struggle and come back home exhausted and frustrated. I’ve seen some of my talented friends ending up in some job they don’t even like. Why is that? I guess they haven’t asked themselves the right questions or haven’t asnewered them.

Some people do not pay much attention when selecting studies, the next job or some new professional direction. They don’t appreciate how great impact it has on their lives. Salary seems to be the obvious consequence. But have you ever really put an effort to imagine what money gives you? It’s not only some virtual number on your bank account. It’s a mean to fulfill your dreams, experience life, help others. You gain more freedom, development opportunities, reduce fear of the future for you and your dear ones. It’s great to take someone you love for a trip where they can see something they wanted so badly. It’s great if you (or your child) can just go to the best specialist, when you need a professional help and you just can afford it. Or to buy a nice audio set to your car and experience how wonderfully the music can sound when you drive through blooming fields. Or to give larger amount to charity, to help people in need or support a social action you strongly believe in. But still… it’s “just” money.

Maybe you haven’t thought about other side effects of work? I can see that what you do professionally it an important part of your identity. You introduce yourself to many people with your profession. It describes you somehow, gives a first impression. Your work can become a great source of your self-confidence. If you’re good at it, you feel proud, strong, having an impact. 

What’s more – you’ll spend a lot of time with people at your work, doing similar job. If it’s true that you become a sum of 5 people closest to you, what kind of people would you like to surround yourself? What kind of people will you meet working on the certain profession?

Your private situation will be changing over years, there will be more difficult moments that you will have to endure. In hard times work will give you stabilization. It will be something that you can relay on when the rest is falling apart. Like an oasis of peace on a turbulent ocean. And the other way round – when the time of changes at work will come, you’ll need to find some support in your partner, family, friends as well as in your hobby. Choose wisely. If there are 3 fundaments of your life – relationships with others, your hobby and your work, it would be a pitty to have a one poor fundament from the start.

Beside all that – you spend at work 1/3 of your life. So many years devoted to your professional activity. How great would it be to have fun, change the world, do something good than just counting hours to finish and leave the office exhausted and miserable.

And what if you choose wrongly? You can requalify anytime, right? Yes, that’s true. As much as the fact that it will cost you time, money, you’ll miss precious years of experience. It’s more difficult to learn overtime when you have a family, small kids, a lot of duties. And probably you won’t be so eager to move to some less-paid position staring as a junior when you already used to a certain life style. 

How to find the right profession?

I’d say that the right profession is a composition of 3 factors – you like it, you’re good at it and people need it (would like to pay you for it). How to discover what you like? Just remind yourself the times when you have experienced the flow – the moment when you lose your sense of time being extremely focused on what you’re doing. You’d do it for pleasure even if not payed. Why it’s so important? You’ll spend years working – it would be good to have fun and satisfaction on the way.

What you’re good at? What are your talents? Maybe you have it in your mind. Maybe if showed up in the childhood? To discover your five biggest talents, do the test – Strengths Finder from the Gallup Institute. Know what’s your personality type. Check for example MBTI type. Sometimes your strengths are so natural to you that you stop seeing them. Ask your family, friends, colleagues what are you good at. The answers can surprise you ;).

How to discover what people need? Just remind yourself what have they asked you for help? Could someone pay for it? Is this something that will be needed on the market now and in the future?

OK, so you have the 3 factors. Let’s combine it all together and brainstorm ideas for what profession can it be? For me the book was very helpful: I’ve asked also a career counselor for advice, did a training and tried coaching.

How would you like to work?

When you have some ideas for a profession, let’s ask yourself how would you like to work? With people or alone? Mornings or evenings? In peace or in the center of events? In the office or in the field? What your desk should look like? What your perfect day would look like? What are the people you work with? Imagine in.

Check it

Before you invest your time to get qualification to a certain profession – check if it’s worth it. Talk to people doing it already. Ask for pros and cons – what do they like and what’s difficult. If it’s possible – observe those people at work or try to practice it for some time. Do you like it? Could you stand the drawbacks?

What’s your live mission?

Remember that you only live once (YOLO :P). What would you like to devote your live to? If you had a magic wand and everything would be possible, what would you like to do?

  • Which problems of the world you’d like to solve? What bothers you the most? Choose 5.
  • What you think that others should learn and you’d like to learn it too? Choose 5.
  • Which things you really like to do? Choose 5.
  • What would you like to achieve? Choose 5.
  • What would you like to do for the rest of your life? Choose 5.

Don’t choose a profession… create one

When I was at school my favorite subjects were math and polish (writing, reading literature, interpreting poems and paintings). I was good at it, had pleasure, was losing my sense of time. It became problematic when needed to decide if I’d like to become a humanist or and engineer. It seemed that my interests were opposite, impossible to be combined, like I had to choose only one of them. What I think about it now? I guess I have found a way to do all of it. 

I work with people, dealing with soft skills, human factors, psychological and social aspects. At the same time I bring new projects, complexity of organizations and IT systems to feed my analytical part of the brain. I work for a large company being part of something bigger, working with people and have my own business having total freedom, individual work, experiencing entrepreneurship and how many people I can reach with my writing. What I wanted to tell you – you don’t need to choose from some fixed catalog of professions. Tailor what you do professionally to yourself – to your preferences, talents, aspirations. Brainstorm creazy options to combine it all. You’re deciding. You’re creating.

Look forward to a crisis

In most cases we decide on some serious changes in our professional career when experiencing a crisis. You get tired, struggle, break down… but eventually it leads you to some new conclusions about your life. A crisis forces you to stop what have you been doing, sit for a while and think again. It gives you another chance. It hurts but also it teaches you, opens some higher wisdom, brings you closer to the true you. Just keep asking yourself the questions as the years are passing by and listen to the answers carefully.

How to build the foundation of your dream work as an analyst? 

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