What to consider when making a career choice
Making a career choice is one of the hardest things that we often have to do in our lives. You want to choose a career that not only pays the bills but one that is also satisfying and above all brings value both to yourself and those you interact with.
On the other hand, a career is something that takes up a lot of your productive life until you retire and as such, choosing a career should be something that you take seriously because you do not want to be stuck with a career that you don’t like, for the rest of your life. You do not want to take on a career just so that you can pay the bills as this will strain you and can result in unnecessary pressure on yourself.
While some people are lucky to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives, others are not so sure and they only stumble on a suitable career path by luck or trial and error. It is also tempting to take a career path that supposedly pays well, which might be the case, but you derive no satisfaction from it.
It should also be noted that there is no such thing as a perfect career. A good career is one that satisfies you and challenges you to keep growing. Whether you are looking for a first job or are thinking of changing careers, here are things to consider when making a career choice:
Know your talent
The importance of using your talent to find a job and perform well cannot be underscored. When you use your talent to do your job, you will tend to enjoy the job, do your work with minimal stress and excel without much effort. For example, if you are good at creating relationships, you can be a good marketer or salesperson and this will mean that you will bring value to the business with little effort.
This does not mean that you are incapable of doing other things. After all, we all learn and gain many skills throughout our lives and they can enable you to perform your tasks well, but you might find yourself exerting lots of pressure on yourself to get things done.
If you do not know what career path you would like to take, it is advisable to analyze your natural talents and take on a career that will harness these talents so that you can be successful and have a fulfilling career.
Know your priorities in life
We all have different things we would like to achieve in life. Knowing what these things are can help us align our careers to them so that we can have a fulfilling career.
For example, if you want to be in a field where you help people in distress, you might want to consider a career in the medical field. This would enable you to be of direct help to people who need assistance and thus, you get to fulfill your priorities as well as have an enjoyable career.
Priorities vary from one person to another and as a result, you should take your time to know what really matters to you so that when choosing a career, you have a clear picture of what to expect and how to overcome problems once they arise.
What are you passionate about?
We have all heard that when you do something that you are passionate about, you will never have to work for a day in your life. The truth is, you will be working but you will be having so much fun while doing it that it won’t feel like a job. A career is something that you have to do for the rest of your active life so, you definitely want to do something that you like doing and gives you satisfaction.
Choosing a career based on your passion will allow you to comfortably settle in your career and excel while overcoming challenges with minimum effort. For example, if you are passionate about calculations and solving mathematical problems, you could choose a career in accounting. This way, you will constantly be involved performing calculations and you will constantly challenge yourself to perform well.
Do you know your values?
Values are a set of principles that guide your actions. Everyone has a set of values that determine what you can or cannot do. Even companies have a set of values which dictate how they relate to their customers and other stakeholders. They thus act as a sounding board, whenever a conflict of interest arises.
If you choose a career that goes against your values, you might constantly find yourself having difficulty in performing those tasks that are in conflict with your values. This will mean that the constant clash in values will put a strain on you and probably affect your performance.
Know your personality
Your personality is as important to your career as your skills. There are careers that are suitable for introverts and those that are suitable for extroverts. You do not want to be in a career that is in conflict with your personality as you will always be under pressure and this can put a strain on your health and your general well-being.
If for example, you are an extrovert and you get into a career that does not involve a lot of interactions with clients and colleagues, you might find it very lonely and boring. This can have a negative effect on your performance, which in turn affects your career.
It is, therefore, important to know your personality type, so that you can align your career accordingly.
What are some of the things involved in your preferred career?
Different careers have different ways of executing tasks. Before choosing a career, it is important to know what exactly goes into the day-to-day activities of that career. For example, some careers, such a piloting, involve a lot of traveling. As such, if you do not like traveling, this might be the wrong career for you. Others, like engineering, might require you to be on-site for long periods and if you prefer working in the office, this might be the wrong choice for you, which might make you want to change careers in future.
When trying to find out what is involved in a certain career, you can shadow someone who is already in the industry so that you can have a first-hand feel of what it is like to work in that field on a day-to-day basis. This prevents you from getting caught in a web of boredom when you have to use ways and means that you do not like.
Find out about the opportunities available in different career paths
As much as you want to do something that you love, you might find that the opportunities in the particular field are narrow and very limited. This might make it hard for you to find a job and yet you need to pay your bills.
In such a case, you can take a career path that is not necessarily in line with your preferred career but also relies on whatever skills that are also used in your preferred career path. This way, you will have a job and at the same time, get to use your skills well and enjoy your job.
Opportunity for growth
Choosing a career is not only about choosing a source of income or having something to do on a daily basis. You definitely want to grow in your career and take on new challenges so that you can constantly learn and grow.
It is advisable to choose a career that will allow you to grow progressively over time so that you can take on new challenges and learn to reinvent yourself. Do not choose a career path that is mundane and does not allow you look forward to new opportunities.
There are jobs that do not pay so well at the beginning but they have numerous growth opportunities and end up paying really well higher up.
Consider a career in a field that you studied in college
You went to university to gain skills in a certain field. These skills are what will enable you to perform your tasks well. When choosing a career path, have a look at what course you took and consider taking up a career path in line with the course as this will give you basic skills that you need to get the job done.
In some cases, people choose careers that are completely different from the courses they studied and this is okay. What you need to do is see how you can utilize the skills you gained through training in your preferred career choice.
Trial and error
Making a career choice is one of the tricky decisions that one has to make in life. As much as you want to do it right, there is no sure-fire way of doing it. In case you have a couple of options to choose from, you might decide to volunteer or take up an internship in different fields so that you can get real experience in terms of what goes on in different fields. This allows you to have practical experience so that you can make an informed decision.
It may sound like a waste of time but consider the sheer amount of time and energy you are bound to waste if you end up in the wrong career. Internships and volunteering opportunities help you to learn, gain experience and make informed decisions about your career path.
In conclusion, choosing a career is definitely a confusing stage as you want a career that makes you happy and pays your bills. You also want a career that gives you a perfect work-life balance. So, take a look at your skills, values, passion and talent and see where they fit or, shadow someone, or take up an internship to get real world experience so that you can make an informed choice. Whatever you choose to do, do not feel too pressured to get everything figured out here and now. Making a career choice is a process so you will need to give yourself time so that you can settle on what will satisfy you in the long term.