Updated: Jun 23
As we enter the month of July and celebrate Independence Day, we can’t help but consider what the
word “independence” means. When you’re independent, you’re free from other people ruling over you and your decisions. The same is true for your career. Career independence is when you autonomy over what you want to do with your life in terms of your job, goals, and dreams. Most people long for this kind of independence, so how can you set yourself up for the best chance of having it?
Lay the foundation for your career choice. You may not be sure what you want to do for a living, but if you are, set yourself up for success in that career field. That means knowing what it takes to do X for a living and noting measurable goals to achieve these things. For example, if the idea of being a book editor excites you, talk to a career counselor about the education required and get that under your belt. Next, look for some experienced book editors (try searching on LinkedIn if you don’t personally know any), and get to know what their jobs are like and what they needed to land their job.
Network with people at the places you want to work. Similarly, you can use social media like Instagram or LinkedIn to find people working at your dream companies. Sure, everyone is busy, but people also like to feel important. There’s a chance that, even though you’re a stranger, when you reach out to them they’ll be flattered you want their advice. If you’re dying to work for large companies like Apple, this may be a little more difficult but still has the opportunity for success. On the other hand, if you really want to work for a smaller, local company, you have a good chance of connecting with people who can get you in the door. The ability to do this successfully allows you to be free to find a job in any company.
Always be prepared. What you really don’t want to do is encounter an opportunity that is perfect for
you and not be ready for it. So, always have a recent resume ready to send and update your LinkedIn
profile because you never know who you might meet that has contacts associated with your dream job. Prepare your mind by taking up habits like mindfulness. Focus your thoughts on where you want your professional life to go. Also, don’t underestimate what financial freedom can do for your career
independence. If you can take some time to find the right job and not have to accept whatever comes along to pay the bills, you are in a much better position. So, prepare you household as well.
When you think about career independence, consider what career dependence means as well. When
you become enmeshed into your job and can’t separate your personal identity from your work identity, that can be a problem. True independence means you are in charge. People in high-pressure jobs can especially find themselves unsatisfied with their career path, even though they’ve worked hard to get where they are. If you find yourself in this position, it’s vital to rediscover what’s important to you first and then make decisions from there. The more deliberately you can separate your identity from your job title, the better. True independence is the goal.