For several years, surveys have indicated that the majority of workers are not happy in their job. To address this, you may have been told “follow your passion”, or “do what you love”. While true, it is not always helpful. You probably enjoy many things, so what will make you happy?
People are not always good at predicting what work will make them happy, without actually having the experience of doing the type of work first. Also, people’s interests may evolve and change over time.
So, how do you choose a career that works for you?
First, figure out what motivates you. Is it money and recognition, or security and risk avoidance. If the latter fits you, sales or marketing may not be right for you.
Second, take an inventory of your skills and values. You will want to take that first new career step into a job that supports your core values, and is a good match for the skills you have already developed. You will continue to gain skills and knowledge as you progress in your career.
Third, what do your friends and associates say you are great at. In both your personal and professional life, what types of activities do you love doing? Does a friend have a job you would choose, and why? Look for common themes. Listen to others advice, but remember to listen to your ‘gut instinct’ too.
There are several online tests you can take, such as Myers-Briggs or the Color Test, to help further refine your self-understanding if needed. There are also online sites where you can research job descriptions for a variety of careers.
Before making a final decision, see if it would be possible for you to interview an individual or two in the career you believe will be the best fit. Ask them what a typical day is like, what they find most fulfilling, and what challenges they encounter. This can bring valuable insights, which will help with your decision making.
We are all unique. A solid foundation of knowing yourself is important when choosing a new career, so that you can be happy and successful in your choice!