Well, that is a problem, isn’t it?
Thankfully, however, it’s not a showstopper. Here are 3 simple steps to crunch through when you are saying “I need help deciding what career to choose.”
1. Get to know yourself.
Talk to friends and family members. Make a list of your interests, strengths and yes, weaknesses. If you’re going to learn about yourself you need to know everything, not just what makes your mama proud.
Next, go more indepth. Take at least one and more if possible, career aptitude tests and personality tests. Remember to take these tests with a grain of salt. They are only reflective of the answers you provide; not representative of your entire identity!
Nevertheless, professional testing can give you serious clues about the career paths you need to choose. Match this information up with the data you got from your family and friends. What fits and what doesn’t?
2. Research careers.
Using the information you learned about yourself, you should have a list of career possibilities. Go online and learn all you can about those career choices. Really saturate yourself with information. After all, you will have to live with your final career choice for a long time.
When it comes to the money issue, be realistic. Some folks are alright with living with less and some of us know we would be better off with more. Give the issue of lifestyle serious consideration.
Yes, you should choose a career you know you’ll enjoy…but if you will have to live like a pauper while pursuing that career and you know you’ll hate every minute of that lifestyle, where’s the enjoyment in that? Look for balance between earning power and career satisfaction.
Remember, too, that choices such as where you must live in order to pursue a particular career can have more impact on your daily life than just money. For example, if you know you want to live in a quiet, rural setting don’t focus on a career field that only has opportunities in big cities!
3. Take a deep breath…and choose.
After all your research is completed a pattern will start to emerge. Talk to trusted family and friends again, this time with your newly acquired data and listen carefully to the comments that arise.
To be honest, you will need to sift through these comments. Friends and family are useful in that they know you and your abilities, but they can be very unhelpful if they all they have to offer is negative comments.
Don’t let anyone rain on your career parade. Try to be as objective as possible. Pretend you are interviewing your friends and families about a mutual acquaintance. See their comments dispassionately and from a distance. This will help you separate the truly helpful nuggets they have to offer from the comments that should be thrown away without internalizing. For example…
“John, when you were little you were always taking things apart and driving your mom crazy. It’s pretty obvious you are good with your hands so I think you’re on to something with these career ideas in engineering or science.”
“Suzi, I know you’re a smart girl, but you have to be realistic. It takes a lot of money to go to medical school and besides, don’t you want to stay here in your home town?”
See the difference?
If you are saying “I need help deciding what career to choose”, you can feel confident that by doing these steps thoroughly, you will gain a tremendous amount of clarity on deciding your career path. If you have truly done your homework through these three steps, then trust that clarity. You will always have moments of indecision and ups and downs as you create your career, but that’s just part of being human.
Develop confidence in your ability to learn about yourself, research your options, and make the decisions you need to make. This is one skill you’ll use the rest of your life, no matter what career you choose.