Your career has a big impact on your future. It can affect your identity, personal fulfillment, lifestyle, income, family and retirement.
But, Before you decide what career to pursue, carefully consider your options and ask yourself the following 10 questions:
1. What are my interests? What are my likes and dislikes?
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?
2. What are my skills?
Right now, you possess skills that can help you succeed in the future. Think about your hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills – skills you’ve acquired through study, such as culinary arts or computer programming.
Soft skills – the people and life skills you possess, including teamwork and time management.
3. What are my talents and strengths?
From the time you were little, you demonstrated talents and strengths that make you unique and can help you succeed in your chosen career. In fact, Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element, Out of Our Minds, says that:
You owe it to yourself to ensure that there’s some part of your day or week when you’re doing what comes most naturally to you and makes you feel at your most centered and authentic.
If you don’t know your talents and strengths, make a list of everything you’re good at doing. Your family members, friends, teachers, boss and mentors can help you write this list that you will use to narrow down potential careers.
4. What is my personality?
Your personality is the way you think, feel and behave. It can be an important part of your career, so consider several aspects of your personality as you think about your future.
- Are you a leader or a follower?
- Do you prefer to work alone or in a group?
- Do you prefer to cooperate or compete with others?
- Do you enjoy helping others or prefer to empower them to do things themselves?
- Are you a thinker who focuses on ideas or are you a doer who takes action?
- Are you a creative and artistic person or do you thrive with structure and routine?
5. How much control do I need over my own time?
Some people love the structure of a corporate job; other people hate it. For the former, this is simply a question to check off and move on. For the latter, it’s important to examine each potential career path with questions like:
- How much travel will there be?
- How much teamwork and meetings will be required?
- Are there opportunities to work from home either full or part-time?
- How flexible is the vacation policy?
- How strict are the hours? Will there be a lot of overtime?
- In some cases, the answers to these questions will be obvious.
A cardiac surgeon, for example, will have far less control over her time than a woman who runs a business out of her own home. But in many cases, these are things that can only be discovered as you go. What’s more, greater control is sometimes easier to find as you rise in the ranks, so it’s always best to keep an eye on future potential.
6. What education or training do I need?
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.
7. Are there jobs available in this career?
Pursue careers with projected job growth and security. It’s very frustrating to lose a job shortly after beginning a new career. If this happens, you’ll have to begin a new career search. Select industries that continue to grow. If your job is outsourced or replaced by computers, it could be very expensive and time consuming to return to school and acquire new job skills.
Read More : Scope v/s Passion ?
8. What kind of life can I have with this career?
When answering this question, there are many things to consider. You must consider how long your commute will be, where you want to live, and whether you mind working overtime. Career choices can affect your personal life. Likewise, consider whether your selected career provides benefits and a large enough annual salary to support your lifestyle. Also, if you’re required to accumulate debt to earn a degree or complete career training, choose a job where you’ll be able to repay it.
9. Is this job future-friendly?
Seek jobs that require creativity and take advantage of your unique characteristics as a human: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most significant threat to jobs in the next 20 years, and it is unlikely that AI will replace jobs that require your individual creativity as a human.
Relevant Article: The Robot-proof Jobs of future
10. Why do I want to pursue this career?
Many people feel pressure from family members and friends to pursue certain careers or the need to earn a lot of money, so if these serve as primary motivations, reconsider your career choices. It’s recommended to choose an interesting career.
Choose a career you’re passionate about to avoid career dissatisfaction and save time since making career transitions can be time consuming and expensive. Always ask yourself why you want to pursue a certain career as you evaluate which choice is right for you. Don’t let the opinions or expectations of others sway your decision.
Ultimately, your career choice is solely yours.