Choosing a career might be one of the most difficult decisions you ever take and one which will impact your life the most, therefore you want to make sure that you will be happy with your decision, while also making a good living.
One of the biggest mistakes that young people do is follow other people’s dreams when choosing a career.
Be it parents, friends, idols, etc., they follow a path that might not necessarily fit their set of skills or personality.
They go to college and study something that they are not passionate about, because “this is the future”, “it pays well”, “your father and I would be so proud”, just to find themselves 4 years later that they have a degree in something they never wished to pursue.
I’ve seen it happen way too many times and, unfortunately, many people are living miserable lives because of taking the wrong decision when it comes to choosing a career.
What Things Do you Need to Take Into Consideration When Choosing a Career?
It might sound like a cliché; however, passion plays an important role to being happy in your career.
When being passionate about what you do, your chances of making a good living are much higher. Why? Because you will be able to learn things much faster, therefore climbing the corporate ladder faster.
You will be more dedicated to your job, more invested and therefore you will become more successful, as opposed to doing something that does not interest you, or worse, something that you hate.
If you are lost about what your passions are, you need to think outside of the box. What are your hobbies and which of them can be marketed? It might be cooking, drawing, writing, doing research etc.
The question that you need to ask yourself when choosing a career is, “Would I be doing this for free?”. The answer you need to aim for is, of course, “Yes”.
While passion 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. Let’s continue with the cooking example. 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.
In these times of instability, it’s always good to try to secure a good-paying job or a career path that leads to making a good living.
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.
For example, if you are young and you spend a lot of time on social media while being passionate about creating good content (text, videos, pictures), this might be a good choice, as all companies are switching to a more digital strategy and are using social media as their main channels.
You can start as a Social Media Executive and then grow to Social Media Manager and depending on what other skills you acquire along the way; you can then become a Digital Marketing Director or even open a Digital Marketing agency.
Check out: In-demand Digital Marketing Skills in 2023
4. Certifications Required
Nowadays all companies require a degree for any type of job, however, at the same time, there are many people, like myself, who climbed quite fast on the corporate ladder and secured high paying jobs at a young age, without a degree.
It depends of course on the company and industry. If for example, you are passionate about building things, it’s safe to say that you can become a passionate engineer.
For this type of job, you will need a degree, there’s no way around it. The same applies to becoming a doctor, architect, etc.
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.
Check out these interesting careers that you might not have thought about:
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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.
Another factor to consider is the environment that you will be working in.
Take a look at your current behavior in your free time.
Are you spending most of your time on your computer or in front of the TV? Then maybe an office job will be more suitable for you.
Are you spending a lot of time outdoors and are you hyperactive? Then a career that allows you to travel or have meetings outside of the office might be a better choice.
You need to take into consideration your personality before choosing a career. You can talk to different senior people and ask them how does a workday look like for them.
Ask them about the things that they like and don’t like. This should give a better perspective of how a day in that job would be spent.
Also, being an employee might not be for you.
Did you know that there is a University that teaches you how to become a freelancer?
Yes, you read that right. If you don’t see yourself working for someone, or better said, you see yourself having your own business, this might be a better choice for you.
Starting your own business nowadays is not costly and sometimes the only thing you need to have is a good internet connection. You can start your own business from home for as little as $100.
Freelance University has helped more than 16,000 students worldwide to acquire new skills and start their own business from the comfort of their own home.
Gain access to more than 80 specialized certifications and courses that will help you regardless of the path you choose to take: corporate or entrepreneurship.
Check out what Freelance University has to offer here.
7. Travel Requirements
Another factor you need to keep in mind while choosing a career is whether there will be any travel requirements. Are you okay with traveling to a new city for the job? If not, are you sure your chosen career has enough opportunities for you in your hometown?
Moreover, if you indeed have to travel, will your family be able to relocate with you? Is it going to disrupt your family routine or your spouse’s career? If you travel alone, will it mean you must sacrifice spending time with your family? If so, are you going to be okay with it?
Moreover, if you indeed want to travel, does the career you want to pursue allow you to do so? Or, will you be bound to a desk for the better part of the day and you won’t have much scope to travel to another city either?
The answers to these questions will have a long-term impact on the future because they will determine where your job takes you.
8. Work-life Balance
Work-life balance is crucial when choosing a career. Yes, every job has its demands, and there will be periods when you must devote a lot of time and effort to your work.
Sometimes, you might not be able to come back home on time for days or weeks, and you may even have to sacrifice your holidays. You may feel that you do not have any time to indulge in the things you once loved to do.
However, any job has its pressures, and it is okay to navigate through them for some time. But the problem arises when this becomes a routine, and your chosen career requires you to stay away from home and family for months at a stretch.
You start changing as a person and gradually grow disillusioned because your job starts to consume you. It is okay to put in some extra hours from time to time, but if the career you choose indicates you will have to spend most of your time away from home and away from the things and those you love, you need to think it through.
9. Opportunity for Growth and Learning
Stagnancy in any job will be like career suicide. You can keep working in the same position and role for a few years, but then, if there is no growth, you will soon feel monotonous and face stagnancy.
Suppose your career does not have any opportunity for growth and learning. If it is only about learning a bunch of rote movements for a role that requires mechanization, you will not gain much from it in the long run. While such jobs are not all bad, it is better to look for jobs that give you the scope for mental stimulation.
It must allow you to learn new skills, and you should be able to say that you have learned something new five years down the line. You can do more courses later and learn plenty on the job. These are vital aspects you need to look into when you think of choosing a career.
Why is Personal Fulfillment Important while Choosing a Career?
Many people do not realize that choosing a career is much more than finding employment. A lucrative career will involve a job that pays you well, which can be very motivating initially. You will suddenly have the money to do everything you ever wanted.
However, after a point, that will not be enough anymore. Once you have achieved everything money can buy, you will need long personal fulfillment, which should be the cornerstone of choosing a career. You should love what you are going to do every day for the better part of your life.
You must feel fulfilled at the end of the day, which is the primary reward and satisfaction you must get from your job. Hence, choose a career not just based on the external perks but the intrinsic sense of value you will derive from it.
Does the Career Fulfill your Short and Long-Term Goals?
If you have a particular career in mind, is it enough to fulfill all your short-term and long-term goals? Every person wants to achieve something in life, both in terms of a better lifestyle and value-addition to one’s life. Is your career going to help you achieve that?
If not, you may be met with frustration, which will soon make you think you made a mistake. Yes, you can change careers mid-way, but you also need to understand that changing jobs every time you feel you cannot meet your goals is not a good idea.
You will always feel more settled and confident, so consider it before choosing a career. You might not be able to predict everything, how your life may change in the future or whether you will be able to achieve all the goals, but it is still good to plan early.
How Important is it for Your Career to Align with Your Values?
Before choosing a career, you must carefully consider how important it is for your job to align with your values. If you think you cannot participate in some kind of work that is an intrinsic part of your chosen career, you will always have a conflict of interests and ideals.
And you will not be able to become a part of your workplace. Will you be able to look at your work objectively and separate it from your personal views, or will you come to look at your job as a part of your identity?
For example, if you think deeply about philanthropy, you may feel averse to working in a sector that is all about capitalism and promotes consumerism. Or, if you are passionate about sustainable living, you will never truly feel comfortable working in an industry that leaves a lot of carbon footprint.
Thinking about these aspects before you embark on a career is better, or you may feel disillusioned down the line. Try to do your research and believe carefully about how your chosen career aligns with your value system.
How can Assessment Tests Help You in Choosing a Career?
If you are still deciding which career you should choose or have to choose multiple career options, you can seek help from a counselor or a mentor or take some assessment tests.
The tests are designed to assess your skills and help you answer pertinent questions about yourself that can help you make better career choices. The tests will also examine your personality to an extent. The results are based on your preferences and what kind of lifestyle you prefer.
You can also speak to a mentor to help you analyze the results of the assessment test and then choose the next course of action.
Does Starting Your Own Business Count as a Career?
Yes, starting your own business counts as making your career. No rule says you can only build your career by working for others. Being an entrepreneur can be a very satisfying experience, and you will also create employment for many people in your community.
You can start your own business anytime, but you must do careful market research. It is to determine which kind of business you want to create will have enough takers.
You should also be ready to put in more work hours compared to a professional, at least in the initial days of starting your business. Unless it is stable, you will have very little to think about. If you are genuinely passionate about doing something for yourself, you should think of starting a business, which can be the career you have always dreamt of.
Whichever career you choose, you need to take into consideration which skills does that job require and which skills will you learn along the way.
You need to look at skills that can be easily transferable to another industry, if you consider, let’s say, to make a career change in 10 years from now.
Bottom line is to remember that almost nothing goes as planned and your life might be completely different 5 years from now.
You might not have a clue what your passions are and what you want to do in life, and that is absolutely fine.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You will discover what is your passion along the way.
Take it easy and enjoy life, one day at a time!
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2 thoughts on “Choosing a Career – Things You Need to Consider”
After losing my job(of 24 year tenure) due to covid, I found myself wandering in the wilderness of how to find another job. This time also made me take a hard look at what my passion is, what drives me and I am persuing additional knowledge in that area. I’ve read alot of tips and tricks about landing jobs during this time as well but this write up made the most perfect sense to me and really spoke to me. I wanted to say thankyou.
I’m so happy you found this article about choosing a career helpful, James 🙂
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