08/09/2016 11:12 EDT | Updated 08/09/2016 11:59 EDT

What Would You Do For A Living If There Were No Gender Stereotypes?

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Even in 2016, choosing a profession is influenced by stereotypes, based on gender or the economic potential of specific professions. This happens because people are usually not aware of their calling. Imagine choosing your path according to your strengths and passion whether you are a man or a woman, whether it's profitable or not. Imagine if you could explore your talents in an early age and respond to your calling as soon as you start working. If you have a job you don't like and want to find your passion, it's never too late.

According to the best-selling book by James C. Collins "Good to Great", a company that wants to transition from mediocre to great, needs to focus their energy and their effort in the intersection of three pillars: What they can be the best in the world at, what they are passionate about and what drives their economic engine. This is known as the Three Circles of the Hedgehog Concept.


I'd like to propose that every single person who's about to choose their next career step, chooses to put their energy and effort right in the intersection of their personal three circles:

1. What you can be the best in the world at: Lobbying for strength-based work, best-selling author Marcus Buckingham said "One of the biggest myths is that we change as we grow up, but in fact, as we grow up we become more and more of who we already are." Either you call them God-given gifts or natural talents, they are just something you are better at than most people. This is where you should put your focus, because when you do work that's based on your strengths you tend to feel useful, fulfilled, and you get a feeling like time stops.

2. What you are passionate about: Steve Jobs famously said "The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do." Personally, I feel blessed to have found work that gets me excited as soon as I wake up in the morning and even on the hard days (because we all have them) I manage to find motivation to keep going.

3. What the world needs (and is willing to pay you for): To escape stereotypes and do something you love and something you are good at, you have to do work that pays the rent and puts food on the table. So, you need to choose something that the market or society needs. That's where understanding job trends and the economic growth of certain professions comes in handy.

Having more people who follow their calling is beneficial on both an individual and societal level. This can't happen as long as women are discouraged from pursuing "male-oriented" careers, such as engineering. Stereotypes impede women's employment and it gets worse, when you realize that we discourage women from getting into some of the fastest-growing occupations, e.g. engineers, technicians, developers, etc.

With that in mind, it's time to realize that this seemingly simple career choice is critical for maintaining our progress on women's participation in the workforce and keeping a healthy employment level across genders. And, it can start with every student and every professional simply asking themselves "What would I do for a living, if not for the stereotypes and societal pressure?"

By Marianthi Nika, G(irls)20 Delegate, European Union

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