I don’t think that you need me to tell you that picking the right career is very important. It is possibly one of the most important decisions you’ll ever have to make. You’ll have to do it day in, day out. And, for a very long time.
If you get choosing the right career for you correct the first-time round, then you save yourself a bit of time and stress. However, with most people going through an average of 5-7 careers in their life, if you’re in the wrong career right now, don’t sweat it.
What we all know, is that choosing the right career can make you feel valued, successful and fulfilled. It is essential to your happiness and well-being and we know you’ll want to get the right one.
Whether you’re choosing your first career, or embarking on a second or third, it is important for everyone that you pick a path that is right for you. Consider the following six things if you’re contemplating changing your career… Enjoy!
If you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know that the Big Five personality traits, namely, extroversion, conscientiousness, openness, agreeableness and neuroticism, is what is most commonly used to measure personality.
Although our personality should not the be all and end all of career choosing, a scientific study has argued that the predominant features of a personality trait can be aligned with key aspects of a job. For instance, another study found that those who score high on extroversion prefer jobs where they can work in a large team and be social. Conscientious and/or emotionally stable individuals are well suited to public sector or military and police jobs. And, if you’re high on openness, then perhaps you’d make an excellent entrepreneur.
When choosing your dream career, it is important to remember that your personality is mostly unchangeable, so it is important to pick a career that matches it so that you are happy and fulfilled.
Experience and skills
Whilst personality is very important in our career decisions, there are other things that we should consider when picking a career… and, these are easier to change and adapt.
Your experience and skills will undoubtedly play a key part in the career you choose. Let’s be realistic, it’ll be hard to train for seven years to become a doctor when you’re already 60.
In saying that though, it is possible to embark on extra courses to change your skill set, or to go back to university to gather extra degrees.
It is important that you are in a financial position to do this – education is expensive and time consuming. If you’re not, consider the skills and experience you already have.
Perhaps your CV is made up of mainly ‘jobs’ and not anything relevant to your career. But every job has taught you important skills and given you experience, so think about what you have to offer when deciding on a career.
You can always change your experience if you can afford to. For example, you might want to go back to university if you’re in the financial and family position in order to do so and this will help advance your career and give you the education you need.
Do you have the right attitude to graft away to the top of the business if you start off at the bottom? Is your attitude towards long shifts or long commutes worth it for your career?
An attitude is a set way of thinking or feeling. Although our attitudes can change, it is hard to change anything when you don’t really want to. Before embarking in a new career, consider what you really want and you your attitude
If your attitude does not match your career and what it required from you, you won’t enjoy it and you will probably end up swapping careers or not being successful.
What you value
Whether you value job security, high income, helping others, avoiding stress, team membership, work/life balance or recognition, it is important to find a career that suits it. There is no point picking a career that is highly stressful if you know you don’t share the same values as it.
One way to decide what you value the most, is to make a list of all your values and rate them from 1 to 10. The highest rated values are the ones you should base your career around.
You should also consider your life long goals and what you value in order to reach them. Do you want to be at the top because you value a high income, then you’re probably willing to sacrifice a good work/live balance for a few year’s.
Logistics and practicality (e.g., where it is, hours, pay)
Although not the be all and end all, one important thing to consider before embarking on a career is whether it works logistically.
Do you want to be an engineer on an oil rig? But you’ve got a wife and three kids? Perhaps you need to reassess your career choice and choose an engineering career on the mainland.
Consider the commute too. Perhaps you hate living in big cities, and careers such as web developers, chefs, lawyers, nurses and bankers are mostly big city careers. If you wanted to do this, you’d have to consider the logistics of big city living or a very long commute from more rural areas.
Finally, as money does, unfortunately, make the world go round, you should consider your salary when deciding your career. You might be fortunate enough to be young and able to take a pay cut to embark on a career you’ve always wanted. However, you might have a family to support, bills to pay and responsibilities, so your salary is more important than it has ever been.
Finally, remember your happiness…
In an ideal world, everyone would be happy all day, everyday. We’d wake up in our perfect houses, drive our perfect cars to our perfect work and then come home to our perfect families.
However, this isn’t an ideal world. It’s the real world.
More than anything, when choosing your career, make sure it’s one that will help fulfill you and make you happy. Take some time to do some soul searching, especially at this current moment in time with the coronavirus, to evaluate what you firmly believe will make you happy.
If working every hour for a bank makes you happy because you have a huge pay cheque each month, do it. If working as a volunteer for a homeless charity makes you happy, even if you have to borrow money off your mother at 45… do it.
Everything in life is temporary. And hey, what’s the worst that happens. You pick a career that you believe will make you happy and it doesn’t work out? You just change your career (and come back to look at this post again!) and try something new.
So, there you have it. Six things anyone should consider before embarking on a career.
As always, comments are always welcome. I’d love to know what career you do, how you chose it and whether it fulfills you and leaves you feeling happy!