Our career is an integral part of our lives. If you think about it carefully, you will realize that you spend most of your waking hours at work. Out of the seven days we have in the week, most people work for at least five days. You spend anything from 8 hours to 10 hours every day at work (if you add transportation). Some spend up to 12 hours at work every day. If you consider Doctors, for example, they work 12 hours shift at the hospital taking care of patients, and they can do this continuously for a week or more (of course, they also get some days off to rest and recuperate).
Your career also dictates who you are and who you will be; since you spend more time working with your colleagues, consciously or unconsciously, they also influence who you will be. For example, Doctors move together, engineers associate with fellow engineers more often, Cops have more cops friends, and so on.
Considering that our career is integral to our lives, choosing the right career is crucial.
Here are seven essential questions to answer before choosing your career?
- Will it provide a good & reliable source of income? It’s true that I tell people to do what they enjoy, but it is super crucial that the career must be able to ensure that you have a good life, in terms of your standard of living. What good is a career that will not provide you with the basic needs of life – Food, Housing, Clothing, etc. So you need to do your research and ensure that before you go into any career, such a career must provide a good source of income (depending on what you want in life), and it must be a reliable source of income.
- What are the number of job opportunities available? (Is the career growing or declining?) The next reasonable thing to consider is the number of job opportunities available in the particular career line. For example, according to the bureau of labor statistics website, professions such as Word processors, typists, Travel agents, and Nuclear power reactor operators are declining. There are limited opportunities in those fields. That’s because those jobs are no longer in demand. On the other hand, professions such as Registered nurses, home health professionals, Data Scientists, Project managers are in high demand.
- What are your interests? I cannot overemphasize that your career is essential to you, so it also means you must have an interest and be passionate about what you do. If you do not have any interest in what you do, it will be extremely difficult – almost impossible to achieve success in such a career because you won’t be able to contribute your best, your creativity, to solve problems. You are probably just going to collect your salary and pay your bills.
- What are your skills? Your skills are what will help you perform the job. If you do not have the required skills to perform the job, you will struggle on the job. The good news here is that you can learn and acquire new skills. Technology has made it easier to pick up new skills. There are several platforms where you can learn any new thing – Udemy, Skillshare, LinkedIn are some examples. You can also pick up new skills through on-the-job training. Let’s say you are currently working in an organization, and you are considering a move to another department within the organization. You can position yourself for success by engaging the people in the department that you want to join – and asking them what skills you need to learn so that you can work in their team.
- What are my strengths? People struggle when they don’t play to their strength. It is not every job that you will be able to perform at your best. We perform at our best when we do what we enjoy and focus on our strengths. Your strengths are those qualities that come naturally to you without any struggle. The way to go about this is to consider the career and ask yourself if your strength aligns with what is required to perform the job.
- What education do I need? Most careers have their minimum education requirement. I once had a colleague who graduated as a chemical engineer, but he soon discovered that he does not enjoy his life as an engineer. He had no interest in experimenting, troubleshooting, or production operations. He did the right thing by going back to school to obtain his law degree. Today, he is thriving as a patent lawyer.
- What is my career goal? This is you thinking about the future. On average, we can have between 30 to 40 years in our career. It is reasonable to ask where you will be in 20 or 30 years. What is the highest position you can get to by following the career path? What is your ultimate goal for starting your career? Do you intend to start your practice?
Link up with people who have been in the career line to get insight into how you can navigate your path.
Your career is a crucial piece of your life. Through your career, you get to meet and connect with other people; you get to solve problems in the world. You spend a significant part of your life working, so make sure you enjoy the career and that the career will serve you and help you attain the standard of life you desire.