What career path should I take? It’s a question we may ask ourselves throughout our lives. We might be deciding on which college courses to take, or be bored witless in our current job, or be returning to the world of work after some time out.
At whatever stage of life, we ask this question, finding an answer isn’t always easy. Here are a few additional questions that may lead you to discover the right career path for you.
4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Your Career Path
1. What Do You Like Most About Your Current Work / Study?
Think about your current job or study and ask yourself which components you enjoy most. Figure out whether the things you like are technical, organizational, strategic, communicative or creative.
By working out what you like doing and categorizing it in this way, you’re better placed to find a career path where you get to do what you love for the majority of your working day. And doing something you love raises your chances of success.
2. How Do I Get My Foot in the Door?
Every career path has a starting point. You need to look at this starting point – your first job on a particular career ladder – and work out how to get there.
Some careers require certain qualifications and years of study. Others require experience gained through internships or vocational courses.
How you get your foot in the door and how long this process is likely to take may help you to whittle down your list of career options.
3. Do you Have the Drive to Work Alone?
More and more people are working for themselves. They’re choosing to set up businesses, make money blogging and pursue freelance careers. There are pros and cons to working alone in this way.
The cons? You don’t have colleagues and bosses to learn from and share ideas with. And your income may vary from month to month.
The pros? You’re completely in charge of your working life. You get to pursue your own ideas and innovations. You get to master a number of different skills. And the profit you generate goes directly to you, not a head honcho in a fancy office.
4. Money, Passion, Convenience. Which Matters Most?
Very few career paths tick all boxes.
If you want to earn a lot of money, chances are you’ll have to work long hours that send your work-life balance off kilter.
If you want to pursue your passion, you may have to live with a smaller paycheck and all of the compromises that go with it.
And if you pursue convenience because you have family considerations or just want a job to pay the bills, you’ll probably lose out in the job satisfaction and salary stakes.
If you’re lucky, you may start out on a career that eventually encompasses all of these job qualities. Just don’t pin your hopes on that from the get-go.
One of the key things to remember when choosing a career path is that our working lives are much more fluid than they used to be. It’s not a case of getting a job and sticking with a company for life anymore. Many people chop and change their jobs and their careers depending on their changing interests or lifestyles. It’s never too late to try something new and choosing a career path isn’t quite the commitment it once was.
Nevertheless, when you’re about to put a lot of time and effort into reaching a career target, you want to be pretty confident you’ll be happy when you get there. Focus on your skills, your passions, and your priorities to find a career path that works for you.
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