Choosing a Career
What is a Career ?
A career can be defined as an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress. Others may say it's the general course or progression of one's working life or one's professional achievements. How ever it may be defined, the word career refers to a particular process or action we will take throughout our lives and is usually done to earn income. It is however, important to note that a career is independent of a company while jobs speak to the specific position one holds within the company. In order to make an informed decision, it is advised that you choose a career before you decide on a job and special care should be taken when doing so.
Persons may choose to work for different reasons. One school of thought, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, theorized that persons work for 5 main reasons: basic need for survival, safety needs, social needs, self esteem need and self realisation need. Why do you work or want to work ? Can you identify your reason among the one's Maslow proposed ? There are other schools of thought that identified other reasons persons choose to work, so it's ok if you don't agree with Maslow's theory.
Too often persons enter career fields they are not comfortable or happy with and this could lead to poor quality of service and low productivity from that employee. Choosing a suitable career field might be easy for some persons and quite difficult for others. The decision making process involves assessing the various career fields, it's occupations, requirements as well as ourself. With that said, here are a few tips when selecting a career.
- Conduct a self assessment - Visualize yourself in the working world and try to identify what career field and role you would like to be in. Career tests could also help you in the identification process. If possible, make a list of all the jobs you like, this will come in handy for the next tip. One has to be true and fair to themselves however when conducting this assessment. Know what your capable of doing and achieving and avoid including fields you think you should add simply because everyone else would or because someone want you to. Try to identify what motivates you. A common mistake some persons make is to choose a career field or limit their options based on financial gains. Whilst money motivative a lot of persons, it does not motivate everyone. It is therefore possible for someone to be employed in a high paid job, making all the money his heart desired and not be happy or productive in the role. For an individual not motivated by financial gains, it makes no sense to enter a career field where he/she will be miserable each day they go to work which may cause them to become unproductive and inefficient.
- Research the various roles - Once you have a general idea of the various career paths your interested in, get a book or research them online. Try to identify and make note of the specific jobs within the fields of your interest that you deem would best offer the type of work you can visualize yourself doing. This should provide you with a list of jobs under each career field and a better understanding of there requirements. If possible, you could also interview individuals working in the different career fields. Persons can do so by attending career seminars or workshops whilst students could consider participating in their school's Career Day activities. Seminars, workshops and career day activities are very useful in that they offer a one-on-one opportunity for persons to be exposed to persons in the various career fields and to gather information on the skills and abilities needed to obtain jobs in particular fields. In addition, students could seek assistance from their school guidance councillor in conducting their research.
- Match your abilities and skills with the roles - Analyse and try to match the results from your self assessment with your research findings. If your chosen career requires skills or experience you lack, don’t despair. There are many ways to gain needed skills. "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." What this statement is saying is that if your job requires doing things you like or is willing to do it may seem less stressing compared with having to carryout roles on a daily basis that you dont enjoy doing.
Follow these simple steps and you should be well on your way into entering a career that you will be happy, comfortable and productive in. It is important however, that you recognise the choice is yours to make and no job is degrading. Each job is necessary and has its place in society (once it is legal that is). So take the time to assess yourself for the possible fields you'd like to enter and conduct a research to better understand the requirements, benefits and opportunities available for each field. Last but not least you should try to match the results from your self assessment with the research results. It is ok if you follow the tips and have more than one career fields as your end result. Some persons have been able to work in more than one career field and is able to maintain their level of productive for each field. Quality Human Resource Solutions would suggest that you try to handle only one field first and if along the way you think you can handle another without affecting your level of productivity, then go ahead with the new field.