5 Ways You Are Overthinking Your Career Search

You are ambitious. You want to be successful. 

I get it. I’m the same way. People like us are always thinking about the next “move”. How to get ahead. That brilliant idea that will leverage us to success. 

This mentality will serve you well – most times. Where it can become a liability is if you allow yourself to get lost in these ambitious dreams. When the dreaming, scheming, and strategizing comes at the cost of real action. 

I have been approached by several ambitious young professionals that are falling into this trap. They are overthinking things. Are you?

Here are some examples of what that looks like:

 

  1.  You want your perfect job right away. In many cases, the path to your perfect job is…wait for it…another job. Maybe you want to be a Lobbyist, but the employers are requiring experience. However, they have an entry level Communications role. Take it! Get your foot in the door! Develop relationships in the industry and a reputation that you can handle more responsibility.  
  2. You are worried that you won’t make enough money. “I love meat processing” you say “but the entry level jobs pay less than others”. This method over overthinking really is a barrier for a lot of people. Everyone wants to be paid what they’re worth. But, what you are paid as an entry-level employee is NOT always indicative of what you will make. On top of that, I have found that across industries and jobs, those that are REALLY GOOD at what they do are always paid well and in high demand. “No” you say, “really good teachers still don’t make as much as executives”. You’re so smart. This is true. However, the second reason that this is overthinking this is because MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING. When you’re broke and have student loans it may seem like it is. But 10 years into your career you will be glad to pursued a path where you could have the highest contribution. Don’t believe me, check out this recent interview with Colton Cuny
  3. You wonder what your friends/family will think. “You spent thousands of dollars and four (or five) years of your life to go work in a grain elevator?” Yep, I heard that. And Yep, I did. Not everyone will understand your career path, but THAT’S OK. You need to write your story, and don’t let the opinions of others cause you to overthink things. Sure, when my classmates were traveling the world selling wine and I was buying grain in the panhandle of Texas, I did question my decision at times. But now looking back, that was the ideal path for me. It positioned me to start my own business and expand my career in agriculture. Other (more sexy) jobs, would not have positioned me so well. 
  4. You want to out-smart the market. “What are the careers that are GOING to be in demand?”. I don’t know. That’s the future. I can guess. Others will guess as well and advise you like it’s fact. The truth is that nobody knows the future. Don’t let this paralyze you from taking action today. Base you decisions on what you’re good at and where you’re interests lye. Or better yet, pick a problem that you are passionate about solving. Don’t try to beat the market to where you think it’s going in the future. 
  5. You are worried that you’re not good enough. Let me squash this one right here. NOBODY fully knows what they are doing when they start. You have to take a leap of faith. Trust your ability to learn and grow. You don’t have to know all the answers. You just have to be willing to ask all of the questions and put in the work. Don’t let this concern get in the way of you and a very successful and rewarding career. 

All of us have been guilty of at least one of these. The important thing is to recognize when you are overthinking. 

Our human brain has a tendency to let fear cause us to make irrational decisions. It’s a survival mechanism. In the case of choosing a career path, this is not life or death. Recognize your fears and then toss them aside. 

Finally, give yourself permission to make a mistake! Stop overthinking things and TAKE ACTION on how you can best add value to the agricultural industry! 

 

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Tim Hammerich
tim@aggrad.com
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