Autonomy is one of the values to consider during the process of choosing a career path. Autonomy means having the freedom to do work with little or no supervision. It can also mean implementing your own ideas without approval of someone else. Jobs that provide autonomy generally allow for more flexibility and creativity than other jobs.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, and usually requires much more work than traditional jobs. When starting your own business, you may be surprised how much an employer does for employees. But if you crave independence and are up for the hard work, starting your own business is something to consider. Before making the leap, do your research to determine whether or not you’re ready for entrepreneurship.
There are several downsides to freelancing, including less reliable income and tight competition for available work. Despite the downsides, many people are drawn to freelance work due to the flexibility and autonomy it provides. Freelance work is available in almost every field. Common freelance jobs include writing, web design and photography. Creative professionals generally have freedom to do work with little interference (other than client input) and can often choose when they do their work outside of meeting with clients or customers.There are several excellent websites dedicated to finding freelance work. Aspiring freelancers should also learn how to market themselves both online and in person.
College instructors and professors have guidelines to follow just like any educators, but they generally have more freedom in how they teach and what they choose to research. Time commitments include classes, meetings, and office hours. However, they usually don’t have bosses breathing down their necks and can often come and go as they please outside of set commitments.
Psychologists may work at clinics, colleges or research institutes, in schools, or in business settings. The degree of autonomy varies depending on the employer and type of psychology practiced, but most psychologists have freedom to plan their own therapy sessions and research. Due to their high level of expertise and nature of their work, psychologists can enjoy more autonomy than many professionals. Clinical psychologists may schedule appointments to fit their own schedules, thereby having more flexibility in the workday.
Consulting covers a broad range of specialties including management, finance, technology and law. As a consultant, you’ll have less supervision because you’re viewed as the expert and will be guiding your clients. Less experienced consultants may have to work under supervision for several years before gaining more autonomy. Many consultants start their on businesses or do freelance work, allowing for even more independence. Consultants can gain more opportunities with an MBA or other advanced degree related to their industry.
With autonomy comes greater responsibility, so keep that in mind when deciding on a career. Some people work better with more supervision and guidance. The degree of autonomy an individual needs depends on his or her personality. Therefore, less autonomy doesn’t necessarily mean less career satisfaction. For more on discovering your perfect career, read 50 Best Jobs for Your Personality, 3rd Ed