Choosing a Career Can Be Difficult But Exciting
Not all of us are blessed with knowing what we want to do with our lives at a young age. Some of us spend our entire lives figuring it out jumping from job to job or making a career change later in life.
However, the problem often lies with making a choice rather than not knowing what career we want for ourselves. Picking a career should not be a complicated ordeal, but instead a logical progression based on our interests, strengths and experience.
Get to Know Yourself
In order to choose a career you’ll like, you first have to understand what your likes and dislikes are when working a job. Go through your resume and re-examine each job you’ve had in the past.
Instead of looking at what you did or accomplished, figure out what you liked about working there or didn’t like. A pattern may emerge upon close examination, which can give insight into what kind of environment you thrive in, people you get along with, and types of work you actually enjoy doing.
These insights will also help you understand who you are as a person and what your values and beliefs are. Choosing a career based on these values and beliefs will ensure you go to work every day excited and happy about what you are doing.
If you value time with your family and having weekends off, a moderate office job might be a better fit than one that involves traveling a lot. If you have strong feelings about the environment, a career in the nonprofit sector may be a good choice.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses in this capacity can also be helpful when choosing a career you’ll enjoy. Obviously if you’re terrible with math, becoming an accountant would not be a logical choice. Similarly, if your baked goods can make grown men cry, you may want to consider a culinary career.
Sometimes our strengths and weaknesses may not be as obvious to us as they are to others. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, and former colleagues what they think your strengths and weaknesses are or consult with a professional career counselor.
Consider a Mentor
After getting to know yourself in-depth, choosing a mentor is a great way to learn if that career is right for you too. With someone as your guide you will be able to navigate much easier through the steps it takes to get where you want to be. Mentors can also share their experiences and mistakes with you, offering advice along the way.
Even if you just pick a role model, many times people are much more accessible than you think. Don’t be afraid to email someone you admire and ask for insight into what they do or how they got there. These people have inside knowledge on the daily minutia of that career. They may reveal issues you would have never known about prior until it was too late.
Do Your Research
That being said, it’s important to do your research on careers you’re interested in. Find out everything you can about them so there aren’t too many surprises when you finally dive face-first into one of them.
Read books and articles, talk to people who do what you aspire to, and participate in discussions within each field. Feed your curiosity on each subject and you may find yourself developing a passion for a field that can help direct you to a career you’ll like.
Equally important is actually gaining experience or participating in activities that relate to what you’re interested in. Experience is the real determining factor in choosing a career, but if you don’t enjoy doing something, stop doing it. Move onto something else.
Keep exploring until you’ve found something that doesn’t feel like work anymore; then build upon that until the sum of your experiences equals a specific career.
While money often seems like the end goal of choosing a career, picking one you like should not rest on how much money you’ll make. To really do what you love, everything else has to become secondary. Money is negotiable — your passion in life should not be. Once you are successful at something, make it profitable for yourself.
Remember, you’ll never know until you try. Do some soul searching and really get to know yourself. Be honest about what you like or dislike, believe in, or where your strengths lie. After all, denying yourself something you enjoy doing is ultimately only hurting you.