Great question! Sounds like you are currently taking proactive steps in assessing and planning your your career path.
From a trait-factor theory perspective, people tend to gravitate towards careers matches their skills and interests. Perhaps spend some time crafting a list of skills, hobbies, interests and possible careers. I think the list might give you a good springboard upon which you can do more research, interview professionals in the field, or volunteer, etc.
I think many high school students begin to get a sense of their career paths based on the classes that they like and do well in. Similarly, college provides an opportunity to explore different career possibilities. Another way to find out whether or not a career is right for you is through entry level positions or internships that gives you the opportunity to work directly with professionals in the field.
I've also included a career guide tool that might be of help: https://www.mynextmove.org/
Hope that helps!
Hoang recommends the following next steps:
Thinking of work in such simple terms does two things: 1) it helps take the pressure off when you realize that you really only have to solve for three variables 2) it really can serve as a solid directional target to sail towards.
Here are some important things to remember so you don't get sucked in to a bad decision (remember you'll never really know if you've made the truly optimal decision, but you will know if you're happy).
What pays money? (or more friendly, How much do I want to make?): Make sure that you realize that more money DOES NOT equate to more happiness. Money is vastly important in this life, but only to the extent that it buys you security, not material possessions. Also remember that no matter career path you choose, the people at the top of the chain are very well off. Just remember that it's hard to be at the top of some professions!
What do I not suck at? (or more friendly, What can I be the best in the world at?): This world runs on skills, not degrees. Get good at something, and you will be successful. Remember that sometimes you will be great at things that you do not enjoy. Society will push you into these fields for one reason or another, but remember that this is only one of three pillars of a career choice...
What would I not hate doing? (or more friendly, What do I love doing?): This is perhaps most important to a happy career. Remember that you don't need to be absolutely thrilled going to work on Monday, but ideally, once you're locked in, you can access flow states and receive the accompanying flow of dopamine.
Security, skill, pleasure. That's all you need to be thinking about.
It takes time to know what you are going to like/dislike. Don’t rush into things.
1. Consider your passions
2. Think about the kind of life you would like to provide to your family (money)
If your hobbies or things you enjoy doing can turn into prosperous jobs, consider it! You want to make sure you get up every morning and get excited about your job.
Is this job going to pay for a nice house, a few vacations and college for the kids? You are still young, but if one day you would like to start a family, salary plays a key role. In times like we are going through now, are you going to be able to continue to pay your mortgage or are you going to be without a job. Hard to say, but there are some jobs that will never be closed!
Ashley recommends the following next steps:
Lastly I would say don't be afraid of making mistakes. That's what life is all about. You don't fail, you learn. So you don't have to get it right 100% the first time. Do your homework and be open to the opportunities that are out there. Best of luck!
You have been given some excellent advice and guidance. I will just add that you may want to consider gaining a better understanding of your natural strengths to help build your career plans. There are several assessments that you can take. My favorite is StrengthsFinder. The assessment and resulting report focuses purely on your strengths and how to best utilize them in your career. It is also provides great insight into why you are better at certain things than others as well as how to utilize those strengths to be more successful. Best wishes to you for continued success.
Kim recommends the following next steps: