It isn’t every day that you will be asked to choose a career, but it is probably going to be one of the most important days in your life. Whether you are just graduating school or have been floating through life for a few years trying to see what you’d like to do with the rest of your life, it’s time to get down to business. It’s time to figure out what will keep you happy enough to actually make a career out of it. Needless to say, that’s what choosing a career is all about. It’s not something you can take lightly. These 10 reasons will help you explore why choosing the right career for you is so very important.
- 1 1. What’s Expected of You Rarely Works
- 2 2. It’s Okay to Live Your Passion
- 3 3. Money Isn’t Everything – Or Is It?
- 4 4. Where Do You See Yourself in 10, 20 or Even 30 Years?
- 5 5. Are You Looking for Growth Potential?
- 6 6. Do You Work Better Alone or as Part of a Team?
- 7 7. Is Travel in the Agenda for Your Future?
- 8 8. Do You Want to Make an Impact?
- 9 9. Combine Your Passion with Purpose
- 10 10. Are You a Fit for the Organizational Culture?
- 11 Take the Time You Need
1. What’s Expected of You Rarely Works
Altogether too many times we choose a career because that is what is expected of us. Sometimes it means going into the family business and other times it means joining the military because you have a long line of relatives who were in the armed forces. Then there are times when you are urged to become a doctor, or a lawyer, because of the prestige those particular careers offer.
What if none of those are right for you, personally? Is it a matter of following a suggested career path just so that your education will be paid for? If so, you should know that there are ways to pay for an education even if you have to pay back student loans in the end. You don’t have to follow a career path chosen for you if that is not what you want to do and will not make you happy in life.
2. It’s Okay to Live Your Passion
This is something that may take a bit of introspection, but it is something that must be done. Sometimes you think you are choosing a career path for all the right reasons when the right reason was staring you in the face all along. Let’s take the field of nursing as an example. As a child you always found that you wanted to take care of people. When your friends got hurt you were the first one there with a Band Aid, and when everyone else wanted to go out roller skating you wanted to get out your nurse’s kit to take everyone’s temperature.
You’ve always wanted to be a nurse but for some reason weren’t sure you were up to the task. If this is your passion, then you probably are perfect for this career. Why not check out the different options for studying to be a nurse online at top rated schools like Wilkes? You don’t even need to live in Pennsylvania to attend online classes and you can study for various levels of nursing all the way from a Bachelor’s in Science in Nursing (BSN) to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). There are multiple career paths within the field of nursing so that you can continue to live your passion while working your way up the ladder with higher levels of responsibility and of course, higher pay grades as you advance.
3. Money Isn’t Everything – Or Is It?
One of the reasons why so many people choose a career path that is wrong for them is earning potential. Sadly, that can be a mistake because money isn’t everything when you are miserable going into a job you hate day after day after day. You obviously want to make a decent wage for your efforts, so money is important to that extent. If this is the case, why not choose a job in a career that you will be passionate about but one that has room for growth?
Most careers do have the ability to climb the ranks and it is your passion that will carry you forward. If money is important, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be, look at the long term. You may need to take an entry level position at the very beginning but is there room for growth over time and as you gain experience and knowledge? Continue advancing your degree while showing your value as an employee. Money is important but it is also something worth working toward.
4. Where Do You See Yourself in 10, 20 or Even 30 Years?
Is the career that you choose going to take you to a place where you want to be in 10, 20 or even 30 years down the road? This is also an important consideration. There is no reason why you can’t be in a field that you love but maybe in another career within that field.
Let’s use nursing again as an example. Today you are content being an RN but down the road you would like to see some sort of autonomy. Your goal is to study to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. This is the same field but different careers within nursing. Not only will your income rise as a result of the career shift, but the job you do, and the autonomy involved will change as well. Therefore, you need to ask yourself if your career choice today will bring you where you want to be in your future.
5. Are You Looking for Growth Potential?
While you think this may have been addressed above, it is really a different matter altogether. Personal growth is a sense of satisfaction you get from a job well done in your personal life as opposed to your career. Personal growth means you are going down a path that you set for yourself and not necessarily growth in a professional sense. Yes, professional growth can foster a sense of personal accomplishment but only insofar as much as it satisfies those goals you’ve set in your personal life.
6. Do You Work Better Alone or as Part of a Team?
Let’s face the facts. Some people just work better alone than as part of a team. Usually, you will find that techies and creatives do better left in their own corner of the world than in a busy room swelling with people. They do their best work alone in the quiet where their personal muses ‘speak’ to them. If you work better with a team and love the interaction of tossing ideas around, then you are truly a team player and need a job where you will have the ability to work with others.
On the other hand, if you are a person who likes quiet reflection and does not do well when confronted with interruptions and activity all around you, you would be better working in a lab, for example, as opposed to a nurse on a busy floor. It is vital that you take your basic personality traits into consideration when choosing a career. It may be something you are passionate about but if it’s not in your nature, perhaps another job within that field would work better for you.
7. Is Travel in the Agenda for Your Future?
Once again, we are going to turn to the medical field as an example of what it means to choose a career that lends itself well to travel. Not only are there Doctors without Borders but there are Locum Doctors and Nurses that travel the world to take up temporary positions in some of the world’s most poorly served countries. If you love to travel, then a profession as an RN, FNP, or even a teaching DNP would give you the perfect opportunity to travel while working at the career you were meant to have.
There are many, many careers that offer the opportunity to travel and if this is something that has always interested you, take the time to do a little research to find one that will offer what you need. Are you looking to travel to foreign countries or perhaps within your own market area? All of this makes a difference when choosing a career because the difference between a career and a job is that a career is for the long term. A job typically refers to a source of income, sometimes limited in scope and duration. If travel is in your future, there are careers out there that will enable you to travel to places near and far.
8. Do You Want to Make an Impact?
Some people spend their entire lives trying to make an impact on the world around them. No matter what profession you are in, if it is important to you to make an impact on the lives of others, that is something that will keep you happy for your entire working career.
Now, it’s important to do a bit more introspection. What kind of impact do you want to have? Are you looking to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor or maybe you are seeking to do something about global warming and climate change? There are many ways you can have an impact on the lives of others and now it’s up to you to find a career path that will help you do what is important for you.
9. Combine Your Passion with Purpose
Once you’ve determined where your passion lies, it’s time to look at a career with purpose. Are you able to achieve your goals while giving back to the community? Are you fulfilling a need within yourself so that you are at your best while doing your job? Also, is the career you’ve chosen a good fit for your particular talents and skill sets? Not everyone has the ability to be a rocket scientist, for example, yet they long to work in the field. Perhaps there’s another career within the field you’ve chosen that would be a better fit for you personally.
10. Are You a Fit for the Organizational Culture?
This may be something you haven’t thought of. Every industry has an organizational culture and if the career you choose is within an organizational culture directly opposed to what you believe and who you are, it is doubtful this will be a lifelong career for you.
For example, some industries are not as cognizant of the damage they are doing to the earth upon which we live. If the ecology is your passion, then you wouldn’t do well working for a company that is out in the ocean fracking. What if you are diametrically opposed to abortion? Would you do well working as a nurse in an abortion clinic? The culture of the organization for which you are employed will have a huge bearing on how you feel about the work you are doing. Never fail to take organizational culture into consideration when planning your life’s career.
Take the Time You Need
There is a saying often used in real estate and other high power business transactions that says, “Time is of the essence.” That may be the case when you are vying for a business deal in which there are other buyers chomping on the bit to get that transaction you are after. However, when it comes to planning your career, something you will be doing for the rest of your working days, there is no need to hurry. Take your time and make decisions carefully based on all of the above.
This is another mistake so many people make. They get out of school and feel that they need to immediately choose a major in college but that doesn’t always need to be the case. It is more and more common for high school students to take that gap year before choosing a career path forward and if that is what you need to do, then take the time you need to make a choice you can live with. Remember, the cost of an education is not something you can chalk up to a mistake because it could be a grave error in judgment. Be sure of who you are and what you see yourself doing for all your tomorrows and you will know you’ve found the career for you.