I believe you know when a career path is right for you when you try it and fill contentment in that career.
That's one of the reasons I think it's very important for students to try to get an internship or part time job in the area they hope to work in some day while they are still in college. This allows for you to live the day to day, ask questions from people in the field and make changes in your area of study while still in college.
You can always change jobs later on too, if you don't feel content in your job.
Forbes has a pretty good article on this topic, called "7 Ways To Know If You're On The Right Career Path": https://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroeder/2016/10/24/7-ways-to-know-youre-on-the-right-career-path/?sh=4962fa5e7069
-When you find something that excites you, motivates you, and keeps you engaged.
-When work does not feel like work.
-Find a company or workplace whose values also align with yours. Not just stated values but they live these values out.
-Don't be afraid to fail or switch careers. Just because you believe a path is right for you, don't be scared to change
-Be passionate, find something you can continue to learn and improve on your craft. Don't let outside pressures (family, status) determine what you decide to do.
-There will always be things in any career path that you don't like to do. Reflect on this and ask yourself if 80% is centered around your passion vs 20% of other things you may not like, this is normal.
-Focus on things that you feel can make an impact, not necessarily title, or salary.
-Know your professional goals and ensure your career path aligns with the goals you want to accomplish. Think long term, 20-30 years if you can. Where you are in life can impact what you value
The best way to know what career path is right for you is to experiment with what you really enjoy and inspires. I originally was a business man for 17 years but always loved teaching, even in my company. I would help on assignments that involved teaching others. Later on in my life, I was able to land a job in a college as a teacher and I have been doing this now for the last 25 years.
Find your passion and sometimes it might take you awhile. When you find it, you will know because you will love what you do. It is not about the money. It is about what you love to do. If you love the job, you will be motivated. If you are motivated you will suceed and then perhaps even earn a great salary. Hope this helps and best wishes.
- First, you're still young and growing. There is a good chance that you will change your mind over the next few years, and that's ok. It's all part of the process.
- I tell my kids to form three career lists: (1) those things you really enjoy, (2) those things that you are good at, and (3) those things you can eventually do to support yourself. Now look for the careers that appear in all three lists; those might lead you to the best choice for you.
- Shadowing is a great way to learn more about a career. It lets you see what "a day in the life of ..." is like, and it also helps you build relationships with professionals in those careers you are considering.
- As you research, shadow, talk to professionals, etc., keep in mind it's ok to figure out that you DON'T like a career. Crossing something off your list can be helpful, too.
- And finally, nothing is cast in stone. Even when you are done with school and in the 'adult world', it's ok to change careers.
Julie DiBari, MBA, PhD
Julie recommends the following next steps: