How To Decide What Career Is Best for You

Choosing career
One moment, you are absolutely and forever convinced that you want to be your country's first woman president. The next moment, a fog creeps in and the certainty leaks away like water in your hand.  Fear?.... perhaps. Or a lack of self-confidence? Or maybe, just pure ignorance in not knowing the choices you might have and you shift into limbo. Ke garne as the Nepalis would say. What to do? Dream of winning the lottery and retiring at 16 or fantasize with the unknown but rich Uncle's will syndrome. Well, not likely, and if you do the choosing well, a career can be the path to real happiness and a feeling of usefulness in life.

Your problem is how to identify from the Disney World of choices the one career that will truly engage your mind and soul. Here is some help:

Step 1

Assess yourself. Stare in your mental mirror. This is truth time!  You may also get help from career centers and through tests and interviews may be able to establish your areas of strengths as well as your preferences. Google careers and check out the range of options. Be provoked by new ideas. In the end, however, you need to spend some time with yourself and make your own choice. The key is to start digging and try to link what sounds interesting to the massive list of opportunities. Experience will refine your choice over time. So, choose and go for it. If in the course of your doing something, it becomes clearer to you that you are being led down other paths, make the adjustment immediately. Procrastination just buries you in canyons of frustration and inertia. Hold the mirror of who you are against the reality of what you may want to be.

Step 2

Do your research. Once you have established your areas of strengths and interests, it is time to know the field where these strengths and interests point to. Know the industry involved, the jobs that are available, the training required. Sometimes, you may need to get special training to move from where you are to the industry you prefer. If you are just going into college or university, you are lucky that you can adjust quickly even though you are cursed with the need to MAKE a DECISION. Look for a cluster of jobs rather than just one job title so you keep increasing real options.

Step 3

Assess your situation. Once you have researched the possibilities and identified your desired career, look closely at where you are at now. You don't live in a vacuum where you can just move anytime you want. There are responsibilities and obligations. Be realistic. Your awareness of your current playing field will give you an idea of what risks you can take without hurting other people or reneging on your responsibilities. Sometimes, things look bleak when you are in a dead end job doing the intellectual equivalent of flipping burgers. So, try to think. This is the perfect transition point. This is when you take charge of your life and start moving to things you want to do! Look around you. Where are the opportunities? Don't just look....see.  It takes effort. Look at other jobs in your office or plant. Look at your hobbies. Look and think.

Step 4

Find a mentor or coach. You may get help from a professional coach or if you are lucky, find a mentor who cares about your future. This does not often have to be someone in your inner circle. Successful people love to share their ideas and really enjoy being asked for ideas. Look at people you admire and you would want to emulate. For all you know, they are just waiting for some bright young spark to ask. You have nothing to lose if you go and approach them and they don't leap at the opportunity. The odds are they will smile and say, "Let's talk about it."  They may give you leads to others who like to share and have something to share. Take a risk. It's your life.

Step 5

Take decisive action. You may be aware that you are in a field that does not engage you at all. It is a job. True. But if you drag yourself everyday to work, take the bailout and go for what engages you. It is a risk but probably one worth taking. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

Step 6

Have a road map. If you really cannot afford to take the risk all at once, then make your road map. Outline how you can move from where you are now to where you want to be... step by step. Look at your present situation as a transition point towards your destination. Find out how your present involvement can help you move forward. Night school. Government job training. A job at a lower level but in your career trajectory. Make sure the ladder is leaning against the right building and then start climbing.

Often, the best career choice for you may only appear after a series of frustrating jobs. Chances are you may outgrow the career you thought was just right for you. As you learn and experience more, you find other career directions you never even thought existed. As well, the world is changing and new careers are invented or reinvented. If you are open to change, opportunities come from the most unexpected of places. Personal growth is the most exciting thing about being human and the constant search for ways to grow will always lead you to new career ideas.


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