When selecting your most appropriate pathway to create the right entry point to the career of your choice, consider more than just your aptitude for that direction in life. There are so many other factors to take in to consideration – here are just a few items to add to your ‘what career path do I choose for myself’ checklist:
1. We sometimes hold an ideal image in our minds of a particular career
Which sometimes has absolutely no relation to the reality of that career. We might dream of caring for animals and playing with them until they are well, when in fact the reality of life as a vet is far from being as romantic as this.
Consider living in the shoes of someone in the career of your choice to get a real feel for what it is like to live and breathe that role. Be realistic about what the role entails – we all have good days and not so good days at work. Overall though, there does need to be more that attracts you to a career than detracts you from entering that field.
2. Set yourself up for success by beginning with the end in mind.
In other words, have your goal noted at the end of a page, in both words and created in to images so that it is really clear and powerful. Then think of all the realistic steps you will need to take in order to arrive at this end point.
It is worthwhile spending the time to paint, draw, collage this end image and then fill in all the stages that will ensure that you reach your goal. Sometimes, we are excited by the end point and have to take a deep, calm breath as we realise the amount of time and energy that is needed to get us to where we want to be.
3. It is not always easy to take on feedback from others
Parents, well -meaning friends and family. As long as their feedback is provided in a constructive way, they could well be providing you with information that might be really useful in determining which direction to follow. We all have blind spots and if we are able to open our ears and our mind to genuinely hearing the feedback we receive, this will ensure that we have a more balanced approach to finding the right career.
If they are not providing you with the feedback you need, have the guts to ask for it. It does not always come across as music to your ears and in some cases it might be harsh. It will however give you some self-insights and might have an impact on the decisions you take.
4. We don’t know what we don’t know!
We might not be able to draw on expert advice and we might not even be able to interview others who currently do sit in the roles we aspire to one day holding ourselves. We do however have the responsibility to collect as much data and as many statistics and documented details as possible. It is up to us to do the research and make decisions based on factual information and not just on gut feel or for other reasons.
Find out what the pass/fail rates are of courses. Know what other students are saying about various institutions. Maintain files of information on salary levels, demand in the workplace for skills sets and anything related to future prospects.
5. Be aware that the world is always changing.
We live in times of huge complexity and ambiguity and jobs that did not exist a few years ago, are now exciting opportunities. Job titles that were up until now unheard of, are commonly used in organisations. Keep in touch with what is happening in the business context so that your range of choices is wider than you ever imagined.
To achieve this, you need to be reading and listening to news and current affairs programs. Use your network to interview people who are working in the field you would like to enter to find out what is really happening there on the ground. You will be able to develop a strong picture of what is happening in various sectors of the economy and where the best opportunities lie.
Vocational qualifications are an excellent way of building your confidence and providing you with a solid grounding for future learning opportunities.
6. Don’t be put off if you have not yet discovered your passion in life.
Yes, one day you will find that dream job that keeps your blood pumping well. If you are not lucky enough for that to happen to you immediately, be courageous enough to try out many areas until that right pathway emerges. Most of us are fortunate enough to be able to transfer credits or move in to a new discipline. Yes, it might cost you some time - and some money. But this is a small price to pay in the bigger scheme of things as you seek a totally fulfilling career that brings you the type of job satisfaction that you deserve.
And hey, what is wrong with changing several times until there is something that is a good, strong fit with who you are. There are very few circumstances where career paths are set in concrete. Give it a full go – but have the courage to switch out if you need to.