Picking a career is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. While in the past most people’s career prospects were limited by economic or social factors, today one can choose almost any career path. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the large number of career choices available and the amount of information about those careers. While looking at job growth and salary data is important, superficial factors such as prestige and income do not provide for career satisfaction in the long-term. The most important factors in choosing a career have to do with who you are as an individual. Carefully consider the following four factors when deciding on a career path:
What topics do you read about in your spare time and what classes do you enjoy in school? Your career doesn’t have to be your passion, but it shouldn’t bore you to tears, either.
Natural Skills and Abilities
If you struggled through math in school and couldn’t pass no matter how much you studied, you may want to consider a career that doesn’t require a great deal of mathematical ability. However, most degree programs include a variety of classes that may or may not relate to your future occupation. Don’t let this discourage you from pursuing the career you want. The best part about choosing a career is that you can do pretty much anything your set your mind to. As long as you have the dedication, you can do it, so set some time aside to think about what you’re passionate about and then research your options. You can earn this degree online, making it easier than ever to reach for the stars while holding onto the security of your day job.
Introversion vs. Extroversion
Introverts require time alone to recharge, while extroverts thrive on social interaction. Most people are close to the middle of the spectrum and will be most happy in a career that balances time alone with social interaction.
Goals and rewards
What do you value in a career? Some people desire to help others directly, while others seek independence and autonomy. Everyone derives fulfillment in a different way. Paying too much attention to society’s values instead of one’s own can lead to the wrong career choice.
Each individual has a unique combination of interests, abilities, personality traits and values. “Best jobs” lists and other information may be misleading because they don’t take the individual into account. Deciding on a career isn’t easy for most people, but your careful research and introspection will be worth a lifetime of career satisfaction.
For more career tools and resources, read What Color Is Your Parachute? 2015: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers