I graduated with my second masters right after the economy blew up in 2007/2008. Dissatisfied with my graduate school experience and my employment prospects I remember telling a friend how I would just have to pursue a job in a field I had no interest in because on paper it was the best fit.

“Why?” she asked me. “Why do you have to take a job doing something you’re not interested in?”

I didn’t have a good answer. Why would I take a job in something I wasn’t interested in, especially after I had gone to graduate school to recreate myself? Her question was simple but seemed revolutionary. It gave me the permission I wasn’t giving myself – permission to look beyond a narrow view.

Yes, everyone must make a living. You may have numerous jobs on the way to your ideal career that are far less than ideal. But this does not mean you have to accept a job you have no interest in and you know you’ll dread, which would only move you farther away from who you want to become.

Figuring out fulfillment can sometimes feel as if you’re ignoring the “practical”, or as if you’re making choices that will only make life more difficult. You may very well be right. Finding fulfillment often requires you disrupt a way of thinking you’ve always accepted and give yourself permission to become something other than what you expected.

A good fit may not always be the obvious fit. You likely have many more choices than you think you do – if only you give yourself permission.