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How do you decide what to do as a career?

I know this isn't a simple question but I was wondering if there was anything that helped someone decide what to do with their life. #career-choice

+25 Karma if successful
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Subject: Career question for you

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Katherine’s Answer

Hi Jakob - Finding the best career path for you can take some trial and error, but considering the factors below may help guide you in the right direction.

Interests, Talents & Temperament – Consider what you enjoy doing but also where your natural talent lies. You might notice you are meaningfully engaged when you do a specific type of work. You could also ask your peers and teachers what they view as your strengths to get some outside perspective. For example, I feel engaged when writing long-form content, and my teachers identified early on that my written communication skills are stronger than my speaking skills. One of my first jobs required daily public speaking, and I ended up using most of my energy developing skills that didn’t come naturally to me. I’m now in a role that is much more suited to my natural strengths, and I am able to focus more on growing skills that will help advance my career. (It’s always good to develop your weak areas too, but I believe you’ll be more successful if you can capitalize on your strengths.) You should also consider your temperament. For example, if you are extraverted and conscientious by nature, you may enjoy being a sales manager much more than an introvert who is more creative would.

Financial Goals – Consider your financial goals for the future. Think honestly about whether you will be fulfilled in a career you are passionate about that doesn’t afford you the lifestyle you want. For me, it is important to achieve a comfortable lifestyle while working in an interesting field that allows me time to pursue hobbies in my free time, so I looked for that balance.

Technology & Career Trends – Take into consideration macroeconomic and technology trends. You can do online research to determine which career fields are growing. If you don’t have any interest in top growth fields like healthcare and information technology, I would do some research on the future outlook for whichever field you choose. For example, when I started out in my full-time marketing career, I split my time between social media content strategy and graphic design work. I considered attending a portfolio school to further my graphic design skills but ultimately decided focusing on the digital side of my career would be a better investment.

Experience & Flexibility – Try to get as much real-world experience as possible. After high school and/or during college, you might consider taking on internships, part-time jobs or even full-time jobs in the areas you have interest. Sometimes the reality of a job does not meet your expectations, and you can move on quickly to a job you prefer. Through experience, you might realize what type of work environment you prefer, if you enjoy interacting with a lot of people or working more independently and what type of work best suits you. During college, I had several internships, including at a wedding planning firm, on a political campaign and at a real estate development company. By the time I graduated, I had an idea that I wanted to work in a marketing role in a corporate environment.

I hope this helps – good luck on choosing your career path!

Katherine recommends the following next steps:

https://www.mynextmove.org/explore/ip
https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/best-paying-jobs
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/19/the-10-fastest-growing-jobs-in-the-united-states-and-how-much-they-pay.html
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Bill’s Answer

Hi Jakob,

My top eight things that are important and I think should be important for you when looking for a career.

1. Your career doesn't need to be your life. ---- And by this, I mean that the main reason that we work is to provide ourselves with the resources/means to do the things we want, live the way we want, and experience things in life we want to do. For a lot of people picking a career isn't important as picking a job that will allow you to achieve what you want in life. I know lots of people who don't work a lot of hours make and make decent money at jobs they don't like, but these same people spend that extra time doing the meaningful things they enjoy. So sometimes your needs and goals are more important than your career path. I think that overall people should focus less on work/career and more on life achievements, needs, and enjoying the more meaningful things that are offered in life. I wouldn't recommend a career that has extremely long hours to anyone but workaholics. Life>Career.

2. Always meet with people that are already in a career you're interested in. And try out the basics of it before wasting time on it like me with my 2 years of vocational school that was time wasted. ---- Always talk to a few people because everyone is different and can give different insights. Request to talk with these people at worksites, reddit, craigslist, job fairs, etc. most are happy to talk about themselves and their jobs.

3. If you are looking at something you’re interested in and don't like it right away don't quit just yet. --- Some career paths are rocky, hard, or even boring at first. You need to get to a point where you feel you have enough experience to decide you weren't actually that interested in it after all.

4. Look at the career long term and look at sub-careers that are like that career you're interested in. --- Unfortunately, some careers are here to stay and some aren't. The worst thing you can do is commit your life and career path towards something you'll never be able to do. Like if you loved plants and decoration then wanted to be a florist. Sorry but that's not something there is much need of or many spots open for. But interior designers and graphic designers would be something you could move into that's similar. Another example is me going into software engineering, I'll most likely have to take jobs as an IT person and support positions before I ever get to be a software engineer. Knowing the sub options of a career you’re interested in can help you find other things and know what you might also encounter.

5. Would you be proud to be your X career job. The answer should always be yes. --- If you wouldn't brag to your neighbor, family, or loved ones about your career choice chances are you don't find it fulfilling or good enough for you. Look at the career you're interested in and all the positions that are available, would you want to be that guy? Keep in mind not to include the money factor because we'd all love to be a CEO making high 3-digit figures even if it was for a poor company.

6. Look at the personality type that career draws in. Would you fit? --- The people your work around, for, or lead are almost as important as the career itself. You don't have to match the same personality type but you should like being around the kind of people that work in that field. Even if you love the work if you hate the people it might not be a good match unless you have limited interaction with those people. Some jobs require a lot of teamwork and you need to be ready to deal with that. If you don't like people that also helps to determine what career would be good for you as you can look for careers that are more independent.

7. Make sure that the career's you're looking into and looking at are available where you want to live. --- This kind of goes with the career is not your life thing. Life is the most important thing that we have and so of course is where we are living it. I can't say this is true for everyone as some people love their career more than their life. But I would say the average person would be happier living around people, geography, culture, and places they like than living somewhere they hate with a job they love. There is just so much more to life.

8. Make sure you're not limiting yourself. --- Be open to different areas, people, ideas, career turns, and what you can/can't do. Where you're born and used to being isn't always where you're meant to be. Sometimes you go down a career path such as automotive engineering but realize you're better at sales and open your own dealership, there is nothing wrong with that. Be open to change, know what you want, don't doubt anything you can do, and never sell yourself short. The only one that can achieve what you want is you. Many people already know the career path they want to do but are holding themselves back, go do it.
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Christopher’s Answer

This is some great advice I was given: Make 2 lists. One for all the things you like doing. And the other for all the things you are good at. Pick something on both lists.

Keep in mind, you will likely change careers at some point, even several times. don't put a lot of pressure on yourself to make the right choice. I started in hotel management, went to telecommunications, and I am now in Software.
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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Jakob, this is a great question! It can be really tough trying to figure out what you want to do for your career, especially since you spend most of your early years in school.

I would start off by recommending looking into your hobbies. Think about things you like to do and if there is any type of career you could go into for those hobbies. For example, if you really like to read you could consider becoming a writer, or going into publishing where you get to read other peoples' book drafts and edit them, etc. If you don't find that any of your hobbies are something you'd want to have a career in there are other options as well.

You could think about different companies you like. Maybe you are a big fan of the store Nike, you could look on their website for career opportunities. Click through different job descriptions and see if anything stands out or sounds interesting.

These are just a few upfront options. Ultimately you want to set yourself up for success early on. And by this I mean think about classes you will take and a potential college degree you might want to get. If you aren't sure what you might want to do go as general as possible. For example, if you know you want to do something in the corporate world or work for a business, get a business degree and major in something specific like Marketing or Financing. This way your degree is quite general and you'll get a variety of knowledge that will apply to many different jobs. This will be helpful if you really aren't sure what you'd want to do.

Additionally, try taking classes on a variety of topics that way you are exposed to a lot of different things which will give you an idea of career options you might be interested in.

Good luck!
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Rebecca’s Answer

The best person to answer this question yourself. We can give you some suggestions to inspire your thinking.
I would suggest you could consider approach below :
1. You could start with what you have interest , e.g your hobbies, your interested subjects in school, etc.
2. Think about any careers that are related to these subjects, e.g. if you are interested in English, would you like to be an author, a journalist, a translator, an english teacher, etc. If you are interested in music, would like to be a composer, singer, music teacher, etc.
3. You can put down a number of these careers and find out more on these careers. Then, shortlist a few of these careers what you have interest on.
4. You can speak to someone who are working in these careers to acquire better understanding or seek advice from your school's career counselor.
5. You should be able to shortlist 1-2 careers. Then, you can find out relevant subjects in the college and entry criteria.
On the other hand, your interest may change over time. So, there are many people may change their careers over their life time. Having said that, before changing the career, you also need to have a prudent consideration before making the decision.
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Jakob! I agree with all of the responses above and think it’s a great idea to use your hobbies as a starting point for brainstorming careers. I would also highly recommend taking some online career quizzes that can help highlight some potential career paths based on your personality and interests. While it may sound a bit corny, I know lots of people who identified a job they might be interested in based on one of these tests. Even if your results don’t lead you to a career you’d like to pursue, you’ll also learn more about yourself as you eliminate career options for one reason or another. Once you have successfully identified a career you might be interested in, I’d recommend trying to intern or shadow someone who works in the industry to help you get a better sense of whether the career you like on paper is actually something you’d enjoy doing in real life. Interning and shadowing can be really helpful for gaining some real world experience and can also potentially help you get a job in the industry.
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Flodan’s Answer

Think about things that you're passionate about,probably thats where you will get to know what to choose...choose something that you personally love doing or connected to what you love
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to help. Jakob
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Brittany’s Answer

Think about what you like to do in your spare time, what electives you take, and what activities you naturally gravitate toward.
If you choose art as an elective, think of how this can translate into a career path. (Graphic Designer, Product Development, Interior Design, Advertising, Animation)
I would also suggest doing a few internships. This way, you can have an insider perspective on how a company runs, and what different roles within that company look like, including daily tasks and responsibilities.
Doing internships can also help you decide what you do NOT like about certain industries/careers.
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Ana’s Answer

I agree with Bill and Brittany's answers and would like to add that even someone that is working in their dream job will have bad work days with boring tasks and what not.
A couple of years ago when I was still in high school I had this notion that a dream job would be perfect in all aspects and this is false.
Over the years, I learned that a good job for me is not only working with something I enjoy doing as well as being paid fairly, good benefits, and working day to day with a great team as well. People around you makes a difference.

I encourage you to think about prospect organizations to work for that have values that align with your values - chances are they will also be hiring people that have values that align with yours as well.
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Jerome’s Answer

Flodan's right about choosing something you love. Do you like to travel? Work with kids? Enjoy computers or animals or welding or... ?
Consider your skills, your income needs, and the stability/riskiness of the profession you choose.
Bear in mind that the highest-paying job isn't always the best, and that doing what you like with people you like can sometimes far outweigh any amount of money.
Make sure you think about benefits (insurance, investments, etc.) as well.
Finally, don't forget that most people have more than one "career" in their lives. You may find that your interests, needs, or abilities change over the course of time, so stay flexible and explore your options.
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