FINDING THE RIGHT CAREER FOR YOU
Making a decision about your career path is arguably the most important you will have to make at any stage in your life.
In a world where careers and jobs are no longer forever, it is also a given that this type of critically important decision is one that any person today may have to face more than once in their lifetime. As such, the importance of understanding how to make a good career choice cannot be overemphasised.
Before you even start to think about career choices, do the math: Firstly, recognise that in your working life you will spend at least three quarters of a minimum of five days a week, and, in some cases, more, at work. Should you choose to work in an essential service – include here not just the police, fire brigade or medical services, but also sectors like hospitality, plumbing, farming, the retail or food trade – the percentage is way higher. Secondly, from a health perspective, spending such a large percentage of your waking time doing something you don’t like, are not all that interested in or do not have the skills, attributes and personality for, is a sure recipe for ill health whether you believe this or not.
Finally, while many make choices based solely on potential income to be earned, it should never be the sole or predominant criterion. Money should always be viewed as what it really is: a means to an end, not an end in itself.
So let’s move on to some other factors.
In order to make sound career decisions you must identify, clarify and evaluate exactly what your abilities, aptitudes, skills, talents, values, needs and interests are, and what kind of lifestyle you want to have. Begin by taking a self assessment test.
We recommend The Career Key (Caribbean edition). This version of the internationally acclaimed test, is specifically created for the Caribbean
region. It will help you to know your personality and also lead you to groups of careers that are suited to you.
SEEK AND BE OPEN TO ADVICE
Talk with someone who is a good listener and who can give you feedback on yourself and your abilities. This might be a professional career counsellor, a friend, a parent or guardian, a family member or a mentor.
WRITE YOUR PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT
A personal mission statement should outline your vision for your life, describing what you want to accomplish in your life, a timeframe in which to achieve your goals and the values and principles which will guide you.
SET YOUR GOALS
Goals constitute the foundation of your plan. Write out your goals making them realistic, achievable and sequential, bearing in mind that they are not written in stone and can be adjusted as you progress, increase your knowledge about various careers, develop skills, mature and grow in experience.
MAKE A PLAN
Research, information gathering, tests, goal setting and mission statements are worthless without a realistic plan for achieving your goals. Your plan is your compass and your map for moving from where you currently are to where you want to be. Create a plan in the form of a vision board or vision book, reflecting the different steps and stages you need to take. Include in it major points from your mission statement.
GET THE INFORMATION YOU NEED
Talk to people in career fields you are interested in. Do volunteer work in the field, at a company or institution. Research the career on the internet. Make an appointment to meet with someone in the industry and have a list of questions ready so you can get all the answers you need. Seek opportunities for job shadowing.
CREATE YOURSELF A CAREER PORTFOLIO
In this portfolio keep your updated resume and cover letter, your examination results, jobs you are interested in and information on relevant educational and training institutions and the programmes.
THE 4 D’S
Without Discipline, Determination, Dedication and Diligence, no plan or project can succeed. If you lack the discipline to execute your goals and plans everything is just pie in the sky. Not enough determination will have you giving up at the smallest road block. No dedication will see your focus wandering to non essentials and any deficiency in diligence will ensure disastrous results educationally and otherwise.
Deciding on your career is just the first step on the road to success. Once you’ve made your decision you must stay focused on what you want to achieve.