Work is called work for a reason. But, the right career can help make your life more fulfilling. Making a wise choice can enable you to avoid a lot of misery and fund a lifestyle that you enjoy.
The wrong choice can lead to financial challenges, and it’s not fun to go to a job you don’t like day after day.
Use these ideas to choose a career that’s right for you:
- What do you like to do? Unless you’re fortunate, you’ll be working for quite a while. It would be smart to find a career that centers around something that you enjoy. Imagine spending 40+ years doing something that you don’t enjoy.
- While you don’t have to keep the same career for the rest of your life, you can lose ground each time you make a switch.
- What do you like to do? What are your interests? What could you see yourself doing for a decade or more and be happy?
- What do you really dislike? This question is just as important.
- What are your strengths? The best careers are enjoyable and take advantage of your strengths. What are you naturally good at? What have you become good at because you’ve spent so much time learning or practicing?
- Not all of your strengths will be transferable to a career, but some of them will transfer quite nicely. Ask yourself what you can do better than most people.
- What are the long-term options? Some careers have better long-term prospects than others. Think about what you could do 20 years down a particular career path. Is there the possibility to advance? Could you use the skills you build in that job and transfer them to another?
- Avoid only thinking about the next couple of years. You’ll likely be working more than just 3-5 years.
- What type of work environment do you prefer? Do you like the community feel of an endless series of cubicles? Your own office? Do you want to work outdoors? In a manufacturing setting? A laboratory? Suit and tie? Jeans and a t-shirt? What environment appeals to you?
- What lifestyle do you prefer? This includes income, city/country, living out of a suitcase versus going into the same work location each day. Do you like to work nights, so your days are free?
- Visualize your ideal lifestyle and consider the various careers available to you.
- Consider your educational credentials versus what a career requires. Doctors need to attend medical school. A teacher in a public school needs a teaching license.
- Determine how much additional education you’ll require for a particular career and whether or not you’re willing to acquire it. If you’re against additional schooling, then you’ll face certain limitations.
- What careers fit your answers? Taking all of the above into account, what careers seem like a good fit to you?
The perfect career will be something you love, that you’re good at, that also fits your dream lifestyle and work environment. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities in the future.
If none of your options are appealing to you, you might want to consider going back to school for additional education. Another few years of schooling might sound dreadful, but a few years is a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of your life.
A poor career choice can be costly down the road. Take the time to make a wise decision. It will be time well-spent.