Maya Angelou’s Career Advice

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” 
― Maya Angelou

Last year this amazing woman – Maya Angelou – left this earth. She was amazing and she shared pearls of wisdom that inspire people everyday.

A task for Writing 101 required that I let a quote inspire me. I took my time, googled Maya Angelou and the quote that I’ve chosen struck gold.

She tells us a universal truth. Accomplishment can only occur when you do something you love. This is particularly important now. Next year I will graduate from university and the question of what I want to do looms larger than ever. Whenever I meet family friends, my high school teachers, or even my friends we inevitably end up talking about careers and what is the next step.

I’m a planner. So I’ve been asking myself this question since the beginning of time. And since I’ve discounted the medicine option, I’ve been asking myself this at least once a week. I need a job! I can’t depend on mom and dad forever! What am I gonna do with my life? What if I hate what I do? I don’t want to wake up in 30 years miserable because I’m doing something I hate!

Nowadays I’m a bit more relaxed about my approach. I’ve learnt to accept that a job title is not a life sentence, and that I’m better off talking about what I would want to dedicate my life to, instead of talking about an exact job title.

But I know we – the Millennials – are struggling. Or at least the ones I know are struggling with making a decision. We attend industry events, career fairs. We’re thinking:

“I would really like that corporate job. I’ll pay off my uni debt quicker, and I’ll learn how the world of business works!”

Some of us are thinking “I hate corporate stuff but I’m in it for the money.”

Others are thinking “All I want to do is travel, make art and meet people.”

Others again think “I wanna be a billionaire…so freaking bad…”.

And the pressure is always, constantly on.

When you’re at uni/college/whatever, you live in a bubble. Your mind is occupied by thoughts of what to eat for dinner when you can’t be bothered to even take a shower, or of that all-nighter you’ll have to pull in order to hand in your essay in time. Your main concern is the here and now. But it is also true that nowadays, jobs are at a forefront of our mind even in those years that we are supposed to spend learning our way into adulthood.

Firms are offering insight days – and even internships – for first years and even for high school students. Career events abound, and plenty of articles are written on the merits of thinking about careers earlier and earlier. Choices about which directions to take are plenty and making a decision is arguably harder than ever….

What is one to do in these situations?

If I had to synthesize what actions I would take I would say:

1. Learn who you are and what you like.

Who are you? What tickles your fancy? Do you like a challenge? Do you like traveling? Do you like working with people? Do you like socializing? Ask yourself In what situations do you find yourself most comfortable.

2. Try something new.

Don’t limit yourself. The moment you do, you’re cutting off so many opportunities. Do something! And even if you end up hating it, at least you’ve figured that out.

3. Listen to the great Maya Angelou.

Do something you love. Do something that you’re passionate about. You love writing? Become a journalist/writer/ or whatever allows you to write! You love eating? Start a blog, document your journeys to different restaurants, become a chef – if you also love cooking. You love social issues? Volunteer, work for a charity, find a workplace where they do pro-bono work.

The sky is definitely not the limit.

And thank Maya for her words. That woman was ten times awesome or more.

Do you have an inspiring career advice quote to share? What would you tell someone who will soon enter the world of work? Let me know in the comment section below!

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