The three important things to take into consideration while deciding what you want to do for a career, are: your interests, abilities, and values. You don’t want to be stuck doing something that is boring, you probably won’t be hired at something that you are bad doing at, and career happiness can only come if your job coincides with what is important to you.
What do you want to be when you grow up? It is perhaps the most common question asked to us when we were kids. After high school, this question starts forming into a reality. Many students, when entering college, feel all sorts of pressure about what major they should choose, and they feel they already need to concern themselves with what their career is going to be after they graduate. All this anxiety is unneeded. Many college students are not sure which major to opt for, they don’t have to focus on a specific area.
Further, most majors actually have the same core group of classes that need to be taken anyway, so the student does not need to rush into any decision. And keep in mind that two out of three Undergraduate students change their field of study at least once before graduating. So, it’s important not to get caught in the pressure of choosing a major. Rather, concentrate on the classes you enjoy and what interests you.
From there, you can choose your major. It’s important to keep in mind that college train people to do things that they couldn’t do before they got to school, so chances are nothing will fall into place until you receive some sort of development while participating in higher education. To enhance your ability of figuring out what interests you, contact all sorts of people. School counselors and teachers are a great resource for aid in career information. Adult family members and friends can provide you with background of all their work experiences. And don’t hesitate to call or email a stranger who has a career you might be interested in; they’ll usually be more than happy to talk to you.
A career counselor can assess what your work skills are and try to pair them up with various jobs. However, career abilities can be downplayed compared to career interests. After college, most people know what their skills are and don’t need help figuring them out. And there’s a very good chance that those abilities don’t equate to job happiness; many people are sick and tired of using the skills they are good at and want to pursue something that gives them more passion.
However, it is healthy to do at least a quick run through of what your skills are before figuring out what you are going to do for a career. There are many tests that allow you to do this in a quick, efficient manner. One type of test has you examine the activities you do on a daily basis and figure out if they help you build skills for jobs you might want. It’s also important to keep your skills up to pace with the ever-changing work environment.
This means both recycle your work skills and upgrade them. For instance, if you learned French in high school but are a bit rusty now speaking the language, retake some French. If you are proficient at MS Word 2002, take a class on MS Word 2006 to upgrade your skills. In-person or online classes are a great way to salvage and improve your skills and network with potential employment contacts.
Every adult has a value system that’s been influenced by both background and life philosophy. Some careers connect with our values, and others go against them. Chances are that a job which coincides with your value system will give you much more motivation and inspiration. Since we identify most closely with people whose values are consistent with our own, we enjoy working with these types of people. High performance usually stems from clear beliefs and stances without deviating; underachievement usually follows the compromising of values.
Some examples of things connected to jobs which are part of our value system are income, job location, and time off. If we were raised in a household where money was not important, then we’ll probably concern ourselves less with income and more on the job itself. If our environment gives us much of our happiness (or sadness), then we’ll probably want to focus on a job that is in a city we’d like to live in. If we relate to the European lifestyle, where capitalism isn’t as important as family, neighbors, and three-day weekends, then the amount of time off we’re offered might be the key factor in deciding which job we want.
Work values can also include things like integrity, dependability, and hard work. If you believe in integrity and work with a company who frequently lies to their clients, then this will create an unpleasant environment for you. If you find it important to get projects to clients on time, then you don’t want to work somewhere where the staff is more concerned with their schedule than the clients. And if hard work is your game, then a staff who arrives late and goofs around may put you off.