Hey, it's OK: It's only the rest of your life. No big deal, right? Of course, we all know that choosing a career path is a pretty big deal. There's a reason it's called a path and not a destination, since it might take a while to get there. Your best bet? Assessing your path before you get too far down the road. By checking for the signs that your chosen path will get you where you need to go, you don't have to make a major U-turn later on.

Are we good for path-based metaphors? Yes? The it's time to get started. Here are some of the signs that you're on the right track.

1. You're Excited

Look; we know it's a total cliche, but you should be excited about your chosen career path. If you think about work and would rather clean your neighbor's litter box, it's time to turn around and try something else. A career path should make you feel stoked. Even if the beginning stages are less than enthralling, you should still be excited about the prospects and your future andthe fact that you've started working towards something.

2. You Think About it All the Time

The real difference between a job and a career? How much brain power you put into it after hours. If you punch your time card and go home, only to spend the rest of your time thinking about something else, maybe that "something else" should be part of your career path. Because a career is part of your lifestyle, not just something that eats up eight hours of your free time every day.

3. You're Super Interested in the Industry

A sign that you're on the right track? Your involvement in your chosen industry. Keeping up-to-date on the latest news and changes means you're all-in on your career path. If you were born to be a personal trainer, your Instagram feed should be packed with industry pros and your YouTube history packed with technique videos (and some gym fails, because you're human).

4. You Feel Like You're Growing

Not to get all philosophical or anything, but you should feel pretty fulfilled when you're on the right career path. The word "path" indicates some type of forward motion, right? So if you're stuck, it's less of a path and more of a spot. The right career gives you room to move, with a few pushes along the way. New positions, earning opportunities and the ability to see and plan your next move should be a clear indication that you're on the right track.

5. You've Stopped Measuring Yourself Against Others' Success

When you're fulfilled in your career path and happy about the future, you stop comparing your path to someone else's. Sure, your older brother might have gone to school to become a lawyer, but you don't want to be a lawyer: And that's totally OK. You wanted to open your own tattoo shop and that's not better or worse: It's just a different path. Focusing on your own journey means you're doing something right.

6. You're Learning Transferable Skills

Even the most solid career paths can get a little lumpy along the way. You might find yourself at where you originally thought you wanted to be and realize that you wanted something else entirely. And guess what? That's cool: Hopefully you've chosen a path where your skills can be transferred to something new. That way, you don't have to start at the beginning. You found your first path and you can do it again, especially if your career helped keep your skills sharp.

7. You Can See the Next Five Years

No one says you have to be married to your chosen path forever, and we're definitely not the "five-year-plan" kind of people but the stuff you're working on should give you enough insight into the future that you can generally plan your next few years. The right career path should give you a peek into your future, crystal ball-style, so you know where to put your feet. After that? Well, that's up to you.

So what if choosing a career path is a little scary? On the bright side, you have a lot of choices ahead of you, and what to do with the career part of the rest of your life is only one of them. Decide what you love, ditch what you hate and chances are that your next steps will be revealed.

The most iportant thing, is to get started (even if you can't see all of the steps) but lucky for you, you're already on your way.

By Jae — Cruciverbalist


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