Someone emailed my blog asking for practical career advice and I thought the answer was worth sharing. This is what I told him:
First off, don't think about trying to find one career and committing to it for the rest of your life. One perfect career is a myth and what may be right for you when you get out of college probably won't be the right one when you turn 35.
Think of a job as a collection of skills. Some jobs need more specialized skills than others. Having a job lets you obtain experience, otherwise known as proven skill. Proven skill can be sold to others by getting a different job or starting your own business.
The object of work is to obtain as many proven skills as possible. This way you have enough skills that you mix and match your way from career to career until you find the one that suits you the best.
I've been an administrative assistant where I learned the skill of writing reports clearly. This has always help me from writing bid proposals for freelance clients to writing status reports for my dayjob. I learned to web design and code. I don't see websites going away anytime soon so I'll always have a fall back to make money. I learning to be better at sales and marketing. I plan to write a book. More than likely, my chances of finding a publisher is pretty slim. However, if I get better at sales and marketing, I can sell the book through non-traditional methods.
Figure out what skills you like to learn that can be applicable to as many jobs as possible, figure out which job requires those skills and start there. That way you'll never be afraid of losing a job and you'll never feel like you're stuck at a job because you have skills that translate everywhere.
If you want a job that pays money then you first have to understand money. People have a comfort zone for money. It's like the perfect temperature. You get too hot you turn the thermostat down. You make too much money and you end up blowing it on something stupid to get back down to your comfort zone. This is why more than half of lottery winners lose everything within 5 years. Wealth has never been about how much you make. It's about how much you keep. So here's my advice about money.
Read the T Harv Ecker's Millionaire Mind and attend the 3-day seminar that you can sign up for with you purchase a copy. His company holds a couple dozen around the US each year. This will help you figure out your comfort zone for money and how to raise it so you don't blow your money when you make it.
Second, read Cash Flow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki. This book will tell you how money works and will teach you that wealth has nothing to do with income.