I’m a working millennial, and by now I’ve figured that there is no such thing as a perfect career (yayyers…). While there are many tests out there that supposedly identify career matches with your strengths or personality, in my experience, these hardly help anyone to substantially derive the “right” path to take (if any). To make things a little more uncertain for us, the jobs we’re suitable for, will probably cease to exist in the next 10 years, anyway.

We enter the workforce at a time when the global economy is facing crossroads. For those who follow business updates, buzzwords such as “disruption”, “A.I.”, “Industry 4.0”, and “automation” are a thing on our feeds. Basically, they’re trying to say that things are changing and we have to keep our claws sharp, but they don’t tell us exactly what to do. (No, saying we all need to learn coding isn’t the answer for all of us. Just, no.) I had already been interviewing my brains about chicken rice, life and everything in between as I don’t accept textbook answers. I’m also not learning to code for the sake of it.

As a food lover, I see navigating my career path similar to finding my way through a complex food market in a foreign city, such as Taipei Shilin Market (yumms!). Which alley seems more legit? Where are the popular queues? If I’m feeling claustrophobic, which direction is the crowd NOT heading so I can go there? By asking some pretty good questions relevant to my needs, I should manage my way through the market in decent fashion (shoppers, I feel you).

Similarly, with regards to my career, I’ve also started asking myself some questions:

  1. What is one thing I like to do?
  2. What is my level of competency for this activity?
  3. What are some questions that I might have to ask when doing this activity?
  4. Is there a correlation between how experienced I am in this activity, and the questions I ask?
  5. Are there any navigation skills I could apply in my career discovery?

Today, I am pretty good at navigating food markets. I think it’s because my instincts are seasoned. My friend, who is a seasoned chef, can enter a completely new kitchen and already have (more than just) a hunch about where the cutlery is kept. I figured that there in developing our senses, we ask questions to help us navigate. What questions are you asking, about your career?

– Ivan Lau

(Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash)