Your career has a big impact on your future. It can affect your identity, personal fulfillment, lifestyle, income, family and retirement. Before you decide what career to pursue, carefully consider your options and ask yourself the following questions:
It may sound cliché, but the number one thing that you should consider when choosing a career is your happiness. Don’t be pressured into becoming an accountant if you hate numbers because you think it’s the right thing to do. Instead, pursue something you’re interested in! The activities you enjoy doing in your free time can give you insight into the careers that would be satisfying, fulfilling and fun. To figure out your interests, ask yourself:
- What hobbies do I enjoy?
- Do I prefer spending time indoors or outdoors?
- Do I enjoy working with people, animals, data or books?
- What activities would I miss the most if I could no longer do them?
While interest is one of the most important factors when choosing a career, skills come second, as skills can be taught. Someone, who is passionate about something but doesn’t have the skills, can become so much better than someone who does have the skills, however, lacks passion. It is important though, to be realistic. For instance, if you are passionate about cooking, however, you can’t create any edible dish you can take a cooking course and try again. Maybe you don’t have the basic knowledge of cooking time for different ingredients or no knowledge about how to mix them. Again, if you are really passionate about this, you can learn the skills.
Of course, while happiness should be prioritized, you also want to focus on realistic and viable career options. By pursuing a skill that’s marketable, and that you’re good at, you’ll have an opportunity to work in the future. In order to do that, the smartest thing to do is create a list of passions and marketable skills that you have and then research jobs that require those skills, along with growth opportunities starting with those jobs.
Certain careers require advanced education and financial investment. For example, you may need eight to 12 years of education and training to be a doctor, but you could earn a hospitality management bachelor in four years. Think about the time and money required to pursue a career as you make your decision. Nowadays all companies require a degree for any type of job. You need to take this into consideration, according to your personal financial situation. Can you afford to pay the college fees? Can you wait for 3-6 years, depending on the degree, until you start working and actually making money? Will you be able to take a part-time job, while pursuing your degree? Is it better to take a short course that is more affordable? Will that enable you to pursue your dream career? You need to have answers to all these questions, before taking any decision.
Trends in the job market change from year to year. Depending on where you live, it would be advised to do a little research or talk to people in the work field, about current trends. You don’t want to pursue a degree in Engineering, just to find yourself in 4 years that there are so many Engineering graduates and not enough jobs, that the pay is really not worth it. You can also research, how many people can be enrolled in a number of universities in your area, for the same degree that you are interested in. This is a good indicator of what to expect in a few years.
If you’re a people person then you’ll want to consider the social environment in which you’ll work. While introverts may be comfortable at a desk job, extroverts often require more stimulation. Try to choose a career that fits your social needs and even if a job doesn’t fit what you’re comfortable with, it’s always a great opportunity to grow with new experiences!