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  • Writer's pictureVeronique Couttee

Finding the right career path for you.

In the last four years, I have been extremely lucky to work in a field that I am passionate about and which makes me truly happy. I am a conservation biologist and even though some people think I am just an enthusiastic tree huger and fluffy animal lover, I know there is great value in the work that I do for the environment. My work has been primarily focused on the protection of unique and endangered species in my home country Mauritius and neighboring island Seychelles.

However, it has not always been a career that I was confident about. When I embarked on this journey, many little voices whispered to me that it was not a stable career path, that I would be underpaid with no real career prospect. I could feel the pressure that society imposed on me to have a stable job, to buy a house, to buy a car, to get married etc. My mind was clouded by doubts that still sometimes comes back to haunt me when I am the most vulnerable. Yet, I hold on tight and my future might be uncertain but I am proud of where I am today and what I have become. So, I want to share with you some of the key thoughts that allow me to continuously advance in my career

Some shoes are not meant for you..

Growing up, my dream job was definitely not to become a castaway scientist on an island in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to become a veterinarian because I love animals. Since I had good grades, I believed I was predestined to have a career in either medicine, law or engineering. When i realized the financial implications of theses careers, I quickly understood that I would have to give up on my dream job. It was a hard pill to swallow and I was miserable with these thoughts.

I resigned myself to thinking that I would be just a wasted potential and that I would never find a career for me. In hindsight, I see that I was just ungrateful and blind to all the opportunities I had around me. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to make the most of whatever resources I had. I had stop focusing on the things I could not do to focus on what I could achieve with what I already had! You must be wondering though what helped me change my mind?

The answer is pretty simple and I call it getting life experience. Before I started my undergraduate degree, I volunteered for a couple of days in a conservation organization called the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF). These days represent a small but very significant moment of my life where I met a bunch of awe-inspiring people working to protect endangered species. These people were dedicated to their passion and many of them had previous work experience that I never knew existed. It helped me realize that there were millions of jobs in the world, jobs that already existed and jobs that are yet to exist. Like shoes, some jobs will be more accessible to you than others, but that doesn't mean that these shoes won't make you feel good and comfortable treading through life.

Finding a good pair of shoes will not be an easy task so the only way for you to know which pair fits best is to try as many as you can/want. Our generation is blessed with so many resources that we often take for granted everything given to us. Through internet, we have access to opportunities around the world. It requires time, determination and effort to find the right opportunity. Therefore, get to work and experience the real world, as it is the only way for you to really understand what the job market has to offer. Whilst you are out there broadening your horizon, keep an entrepreneurial spirit in you so that you can come out with creative and innovative career opportunities for yourself. Surround yourself with people that respect your dreams and encourage you because in times of hardship (there will be a lot), you need people that can listen without judging. After my degree, I worked with MWF for two years and I met people that became my mentors but also my best friends. Everyone else (including friends) who told me that this job was not going to bring me anything, well I kind of proved them wrong did I not?

Be willing to start from scratch...

Let's talk about the harsh reality of graduation and finding a job. I think it is very important not to underestimate yourself as a student and if you came out with a first class degree it is undeniable you worked really hard for that degree. However, i often think that students also have unrealistic expectations of the job opportunities that will be open to them once they graduate. There are thousands of graduate with exactly the same degree as you, roaming the street looking for a job. Some will be favored because of nepotism, race or social status but that does not mean there is no room for you in the job market. On the contrary, if you are given opportunities based on what you can do rather than who you are, you will earn the respect of others but it also help you become confident in your true potential.

One last thought...

Stability is a myth not just for work but pretty much for everything we care about as human. You might find yourself being in a job for the rest of your life but even if you are not, it is not dramatic! Life is dynamic, not static, meaning there is constant movement in all the different elements that makes up your life (work, children, marriage etc.). This is not only makes life complex but also beautiful because there are so many uncertainties in life. It is your own journey and it will never be the same as anyone else's. As hard as you can try to mimic someone else, you have to find your own shoes. The sooner your embrace the uniqueness of your career path, the happier you will be.

I found the right pair of shoes. They are not very sexy but they suits me.

I sincerely hope that this blog will encourage you to find the career that you need. At the end of the day, no matter how tough your career choices are, it is the people you meet along the way that you will remember the most. So surround yourself with the best people, never let the passion in your heart die out and get to work!

"You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you." Joseph Campbell

If you have any questions, comment and suggestions, you can contact me directly through social media or post it on the blog.

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