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What to look for in choosing the best career?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Alex’s Answer

This is a great question! In my mind, the "best" career for you will be the one that most helps you achieve what you want to achieve. What you want to achieve could be a financial goal, such as, "I want to be able to provide for a family of three in the SF bay area;" or a personal goal, such as, "I want a job that allows me to spend to spend 10+ hours a week hiking;" or an intellectual goal, such as, "I want a job that forces me to learn new things every day." In all likelihood, you'll have a variety of goals that touch on many different areas of life, which you will re-prioritize and change throughout your life.

There are also some common themes among jobs that people find satisfying (source: https://80000hours.org/articles/job-satisfaction-research/predictors-of-job-satisfaction):

— Positive emotion – feeling happy day-to-day.
— Engagement – challenging, absorbing tasks.
— Meaning – having a purpose higher than yourself.
— Relationships – connecting with others.
— Achievement – being good at something.

As a starting point, I would recommend writing down some times in your life that you've experienced those qualities. For example, "in what situations have I felt like I was working on a challenging, absorbing task?" "When have I been successful or good at something?" You might find some common situations that point to a potential career, or that inspire some ideas about what you could try out next.

I wish there was an easier answer, but finding the best career for yourself will take some introspection and experimentation — but with time, you'll find something that fits. Good luck!

Alex recommends the following next steps:

Write down some times in your life that you've experienced those qualities. For example, "in what situations have I felt like I was working on a challenging, absorbing task?" "When have I been successful or good at something?" You might find some common situations that point to a potential career, or that inspire some ideas about what you could try out next.
Thank You ! JaQuante H.
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Sylvester’s Answer

JaQuante H this is an interesting question Alex answer was a great answer and I in no way disagree with it at all, as a matter fact if I agree with it.

I'd like to challenge you a bit let's take a look things a little further.

Merriam-Webster defines the word career:
career (noun)
1: a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling
2: a field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life.

That's why the thought giving this so much thought and ensuring you have a path on how you want to begin this journey, above the definition speaks of an undertaking as a permanent calling sounds like wow that's big. Permanent that's a long time what if this starts not to be so fulfilling, sure you may accomplish all of your initial goals but what if things change. Let's say you move in another direction and you find something that there is something that's a better fit for you or you reevaluate your interest. Does that mean you're stuck ?

I think I have an out for you to explore #2 is our out:
"a field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life." the pursuit of consecutive progressive achievment.

Merriam-Webster was looking out for us gave us an escape hatch with the definition of career as a (verb)
intransitive verb
: to go at top speed especially in a headlong manner.

JaQuante H the point of my making the distinction is to tag along with Alex's answer that there isn't one answer take this time now and stack up on knowledge, be curiuos take risk now. Ask questions if you find someone that does something that you find interesting ask them how they like it, continue to ask questions in forums like this.

Good luck on your journey. HAVE FUN enjoy the ride.


Thank You ! JaQuante H.
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Neemat’s Answer

This is a great question! As a matter of fact, I would argue the most important question before starting college full force. Most people go to college in hopes of securing a job in a well-paid field or something they're passionate about. College does not reflect what your work life will look like. I would begin with taking personality tests, volunteering, interning at places you think you would enjoy working in. You could also go on LinkedIn and look at jobs that you may like. Once you've identified the field, look at what types of degrees or skills they expect. Then start planning your college career around it.

I would also recommend to study hard but understand your position as a student. You have a lot of leverage and it really only lasts while you're still one. Reach out to companies and mentors and try to work for them. Get a feel, see if this is what you want to do. If not, you have room to maneuver towards something you may like. After you graduate, you don't have the same luxuries. Secure an job while you're still in school.
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Tim’s Answer

The more you know yourself and what you like and the more you know about different career paths, the easier it will be to determine which is likely the best for you. If its not so obvious then one way to research it is to take some personality tests (e.g. one famous one is Meyers-Briggs) but there are many others, most free on the Internet. These tools can help point you toward the career paths with the characteristics that generally align with your stated interests. They may not give you an exact match but they can be a helpful good guide to focus your initial research. As an example, these tools will help you differentiate whether you like working with people vs. physical things vs. ideas most? Most all jobs involve a combination of these of course but its also true that different jobs will involve a higher percentage of one vs. another. Next I would seek to go meet with people who do the things you are researching. Most people are open to taking an 'informational interview' to share their insights. That can be very helpful to guiding you in the right direction.
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Patty’s Answer

I think everyone have different criteria.
Maybe you should make a list of what you care when choosing a career.
Pay? Career Path? Colleague...etc.
And then I would suggest to rank them, and these ranks may vary over time which I think is really normal.
There is no an answer that is suitable for everyone so the best way is ask yourself what matters most.
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James’s Answer

You need two of three things to be successful (and HAPPY) in your career...

1. Sufficient money to fund your life and family
2. Opportunity to learn and expand your knowledge.
3. HAVE FUN!

Just one is not enough, and usually that is the $ topic. MUST have at least two, and three is a home run!
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Shruti’s Answer

--Your Interest
--Long term career path and work-life balance
-- Earning Potential
Thank You ! JaQuante H.
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Crystal’s Answer

When considering the best career to pursue, the first step is looking within. You'll want to take a look at the following things:
1. What brings you joy (what might you enjoy doing)? Would you do it even if you weren't getting paid?
2. What are your strengths and talents? What are you good at naturally?
3. What is your why? (What drives you/motivates you in life? What are your dreams and aspirations? What kind of life do you want?)

An important thing to do is to really take an inventory of yourself for yourself (not what others may want you to do/pursue).

There are resources out there that could also help you get to know yourself better and begin to examine potential career paths. Resources include but are not limited to the DISC assessment and the Clifton Strengths Finder.

After examining yourself, you'd want to know the potential careers that match. It's also great to know the trends of the future and what potential growth and sustainability there is for certain career paths. Fields in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are in great demand based on trends. Personally, I google job trends to see what information I may find to understand where there may be job growth or where jobs may be created to support the future.
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