Employment Counselor | Open Records Specialist
San Antonio, Texas
Picking a career is like dating or buying a house. It's easier to figure out what you don't like than what you do like. Careers come in two categories: What you are good at doing and what you want to do. They don't always coincide. Then there's "what everyone else wants you to do." Do not let someone else call the shots, even if they control the money for college (parents). You will regret it.
Nowadays, people do not stay in one career forever, or even with the same company. In fact, many employers look at such people as "stagnant," and it is harder for them to find new jobs. Even moving up within one company is not looked on as favorably as it used to be. You are in charge of managing your career. Many people move about every five years.
As for me: I never knew what I wanted. I was working as a parking lot cashier shortly after finishing college. A position came open for a police officer, I went for it! I do not like worrying about wardrobe, and spending money on clothes. I enjoyed it. And working with mostly guys was pretty neat. I stayed there 25 years. Never went for promotion, but did a lot of special projects: budget, planned a disaster exercise, training officer, etc. Had a conflict with the new management team, and needed to leave. After leaving, I filed a lawsuit against them. The lawyer who took my case and I hit it off really good. He does not have enough work for me to do full time, so I work for him part-time. I happened into a full time position with a state workforce office, where I have been for six years. I help people find jobs. MANY people were fired over bad situations, and my experiences with the PD help me to relate to them.
The important thing is to manage your career, do not let it manage you. When opportunity knocks, be prepared to go down that road, even if it was not in your original plans. And do NOT let a fear of failure hold you back. From anything. Tackle all weaknesses head-on.
Have a good resume, and understand the concept of "transferable job skills." My experience as a cop, talking to people in stressful situations, easily relates to my work with unemployed clients. My analytical thought processes developed as a cop relate to my work with the attorney. It is up to you to be able to show how your skills relate to the position you are applying to. When you start writing resumes, you will learn that we re-write it to match the job that you are applying to, you don't use the same one all the time.
And one last thought: a short stint in the military helps many young people focus their career decisions, and also provides money for schooling.
Best of luck! Kim