We all go through it at some point – that phase of not really knowing which career path you want to follow. It can hit you at different times in your life: at secondary school when everyone is on at you because you still don’t know what you want to do when you leave school; at university when you realise that you don’t really enjoy the course you are on; once you’ve started work when you find you really don’t like your job; or perhaps when a life changing event occurs and you suddenly realise that life is too short and you really want to do something else but just don’t know what exactly!
This week I am going to focus on students.
Some of you may be very lucky because you already know what you want to do; some of you may have a few ideas but can’t decide, while the majority have no idea of what they want to do. When I left school, I was one of the majority. I went to university and studied Business Studies which I did enjoy but then just drifted into the first job that came along because it seemed the right thing to do. I am not saying that what I did was wrong because I learnt a lot along the way – you should never feel that you have made the wrong decision because, at worst, you will now have a better idea of what you don’t want to do.
In order to help you decide which career is for you, you need to start by answering the following questions:
- Who am I?
- What really motivates me?
- What subjects do I really enjoy?
- What would I love to know more about?
- What sort of people do I want to work with (or maybe you’d prefer to work with animals)?
- What kind of work environment do I want to work in?
- Do I want to work on my own or as part of a team?
- Do I want to work outside?
- What are my hobbies/what do I do for fun?
Make sure that you write down your answers to the above questions as this will really help you to focus your thinking. Speak to people, ask for advice and start doing some research – if you know that you will only be happy if are working outside then take the time to see what jobs are available and in what type of organisations.
Ask people who you trust to tell you what kinds of jobs they see you doing. You’d be surprised how often others know you better than you know yourself!
When you consider how long people are in work it is tragic that so many people end up doing something that they don’t enjoy. By starting off with careful, thorough research you are more likely to end up in a job you enjoy that uses your skills and talents as well as paying the rent.
Still struggling to decide? Then try one of my favourite exercises:
Imagine that you are locked in a library overnight and your IPod has run out of charge! To ward off boredom, which section of the library would you go to first and what sort of books would you start browsing through? Once you’ve exhausted all the books that interest you in that section, where would you go next?
Your answers here will give you a clear indication of your interests so start researching for jobs that match these interests.
And remember, if you don’t get it right first time it won’t have been a waste of time – the knowledge that you have gained will be invaluable throughout your life and transferable to other jobs.
If you need help in deciding the right career for you drop me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org and if you are quick, you can take advantage of the New Year/New Career offer which expires next week!