There are many areas to consider when choosing a career. I would suggest doing a generalist degree in order to get exposure to many areas. I personally undertook a general Business Degree and had exposure to Marketing, HR, Finance, Legal, Mathematics, Analytics, IT and much more. It wasn't until my final year I realized it was HR that would become my passion and my career. Find what you are passionate about and learn as much as you can on the topic, there is a lot of infromation that is accessable online that can start you off in your search for the right starting position!
Dominique, I am a firm believer that your career should be something that you love doing. I suggest sitting down and writing down all of the things you love doing Then, think about how those things fit into a career.
For example, ever since I was a little girl, I loved playing school as if I were a teacher, writing in a journal, following fashion, and reading magazines, educational books, and mystery books like Encyclopedia Brown. Now, as an adult, I teach college online, write a luxury blog, am in the process of writing a mystery novel, and write about fashion and other lifestyle issues.
When I started college, my first major was accounting; biomedical engineering, computer science, and math followed. I chose all of those majors because people told me that they were hot fields. However, they were not majors that I loved. I graduated with a bachelor's in communications. My only regret is that I didn't minor in journalism because a general communications degree was useless in the real world.
Hey Dominique - For me the most difficult thing was getting past what I didn't know. There are tons of career fields out there and the truth is you don't really know about them. We have a tendency to consider the jobs we know about...things our parents do, the activities we are interested in, and the occupations we learn about in school but that list is still pretty short. Check out this site: http://www.onetonline.org. It catalogs and explains nearly all of the occupations that are out there. It's a lot to sift through but there are some neat tools to help you through it.
Other issues I think people run into:
Thinking that they will have the same job for the rest of their life. That's not really true anymore.
Picking a job just for the money. It's not very fulfilling after a while. Pick something you really love to do - Then you will never "work" a day in your life.
The single most important question to ask yourself is "what kind of activities do I like to do for long periods of time?"
For example - if you don't like quietly working alone, reading, writing, standing up, sitting down, traveling, being inside, being outside, dealing with strangers, dealing with close colleagues who are working very closely with you....
These things ultimately have to be answered. You could love the content of the work but hate the career path - and for every content area there are multiple career paths. There are office lawyers and courtroom lawyers. There are people working in animal health public policy and those who work directly with animals....so think about these issues as much as you think about the subject matter.
Jessica Hamilton Ford
Passion vs. skills
Money vs. Passion
Work vs Family Life
These points are things I constantly battle and recommend everyone take into consideration when selecting career. Do something your passionate about but also have the skills to do. If you have a skill but are not passionate about it, it may not be happy. Money is not everything but you want to be mindful that if their other goals you have such as going to Europe, buying a house, starting a family, money is necessary. And, finally if you would like to have a family the career you choose will have a big impact. I know it is a lot to think about in high school. Just think for now, make a decision around your sophomore year of college! Best advice I can give anyone!
Dominique this is a great question. I agree with all the above responses. When I hear the word career In my mind I always goes back to working for a company for 30 years collecting a pension and leaving that company. What I am finding out over the the last 10 years and reading multiple books is that, trying to find that true passion and following it. I don't want to give you bad advice or see you jump from job to job to job but if you are questioning a career path, jump into the career path you are thinking of and see how much you like it once your into it for a bit. I use the project management mindset which is a little different then the career mindset in my mind, If you do something that you enjoy doing but after a couple of years you find that your passion isn't there anymore try something new. It will do two things get rid of the everyday blahs if that's what your experiencing and it will spark creativity that if you go back into that career you enjoyed you will look at it in a different perspective. If anything you'll get a wide range of career experience and it will allow you to see what you want to do and not want to do.
One's career decisions are often driven by what matters at that point in one's life. When you're in your twenties, you may be looking for travel or a lot of money. Later you may be looking for more work-life balance. Still later, you may be motivated by designation. Typically, it's when you have two life goals, and your career isn't meeting one of them, when things get difficult. You may find a job with the most challenging assignments, and at the same time, you may find you have very little work-life balance. You may get to travel a lot, but you may find your compensation isn't attractive.
In my experience, one needs to find out what really matters THE MOST at this specific point. And when that motivation changes, get out of the role/job. Take risks with your career (especially when you're starting out), there are no mistakes - there is always so much to learn, that will benefit you at some point.