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How do you prepare yourself for a career you dont know you want

I have been bouncing of the idea of various fields for a while now . I would just like to be able to have a career and not a job ....whatever it may be. #career-choice

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Subject: Career question for you

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Shantel’s Answer

There's no one answer to this question - it depends on what you're looking for in a career and what you're willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it. However, here are a few general tips that may help you prepare for a career you're not sure you want:

1. Do your research. If you're not sure what you want to do, start by doing some research on different careers that interest you. Talk to people who are already in the field, read articles and books, and look at job postings to get a better sense of what the day-to-day reality of the job would be like.

2. Get experience. Once you've narrowed down your options, try to get some experience in the field you're interested in. This could mean interning, volunteering, or shadowing someone who already has the career you're considering.

3. Be open to change. As you gain experience, you may find that your original ideas about the perfect career were inaccurate. Be open to exploring new options and changing your plans if necessary.

4. Be patient. Landing your dream job may take time, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't happen right away. Keep networking, learning, and growing, and eventually you'll find the right career for you.
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Catherine’s Answer

Hi Rayann,

Another point that I want to emphasize noted above by the others is that many people these days changes careers more frequently in the past. As noted above, you will likely gain skills in your first career path that are able to be transitioned to a new career in a different field. Given this information, I would recommend that you not stress yourself over whether or not the first career path you choose is right for you. You will be able to change in the future, and even if something is not right, it is just as important to learn what you are not interested in as it is to learn what you are interested in.

Best of luck choosing the first career path.

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Kim’s Answer

Hi Rayann,

What you are feeling is pretty normal! The good news is, through the application of the concept of "transferable skills," you can make your own career path. People change jobs much more frequently than before. In fact, in many career fields, one is considered "stagnant" if they are in the same place after five years.

I would encourage you to think about ways to branch out from one position into others. For example, let's say you have an interest in environmental science. Think about everything you can do with that interest. Research. Teaching. Public Awareness. Lobbying. Intervention (Greenpeace, Ocean cleanups, saving endangered species, etc), working for corporations to help them achieve regulatory compliance, etc. You could in fact move from one to the next to the next, using the skills acquired in the previous positions to sell yourself (these are transferable skills). Or, you could decide, whoops, environmental isn't for me. So you can move from a position doing public outreach about environmental issues into being a corporate spokesperson. It would be up to you to sell yourself, but, I have seen stranger things!

I went from being a police officer to being an employment counselor! I relied on my skills in being able to interview people and complete reports. So, don't feel like you will be trapped if you pick something that's not for you. You can transition! Of course, it's nice to not be in that predicament. That is why you want to get as much info as possible now. Ask the questions of us, including what is good and what is bad about particular occupations.

good luck to you!

Kim

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Simeon’s Answer

It's easier to weed out good career ideas from bad ones through real experiences and talking to people. If you get the chance to talk to people in the jobs you are considering. It would be a good idea to talk to at least a few people in a given field as you may encounter someone who is bitter at their current job and may skew the story in a negative direction (but still remember their stories). I know what it is like to get stuck in your head, so try getting out and talking to people. Try looking up videos online if you don't know anyone in the careers you're considering.
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Kim’s Answer

Hi Rayann,

You have been given some excellent advice from Kim. My only additional thought to consider is to gain an understanding of your true strengths as a foundation or knowledge base for your career path decisions. My favorite assessment is StrengthsFinder. The resulting report will provide insights into your natural strengths and what opportunities may be a potential fit.

This will help you focus in areas that you are naturally suited for and may serve as a great starting point. It may also help you with adjacent opportunities as Kim has suggested. Best wishes for your success.

Kim recommends the following next steps:

Research the StrengthsFinder assessment to determine the value to your needs.
Take the assessment and review the resulting report to determine the best opportunities.
Retain the report for reference as your career progresses.
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