How do you figure out what you want to be (career and major)?
I am a junior in high school and am having trouble figuring out and deciding what to major in. Part of me wants to explore fields that would help me become a behavioral analyst for crimes and another part of me wants to just take an easier route in being a business major. Probably marketing or sales because I find those come rather naturally. I have never really known what I want to do and it is a struggle for me to decide what path I want to take to lead me to happiness and success.
First, what an exciting time and opportunity you have in front of you. Your curiosity to find a career and job that aligns with your passion and skills is a widespread desire and also a very common way to get stuck and second-guess which route to take.
There is something to be said about the path of least resistance and balancing it with taking a leap into a realm you find fun and fascinating.
With all the choices and options you have, please remember that happiness and success are not just metrics or something to measure as an output of your time from college to your career. Instead, happiness and success are the measurements of your content in the NOW moment and not as an outcome or future moment.
It may not be helpful to think about it in terms of it being an easy or difficult route. Instead, ask the question: what gets me out of bed in the morning, what makes me feel alive? Start there. or else, why pursue it? These are tough questions because they call into a deeper sense of self, below the topical questions of which major, job, salary, career, etc. If you start there at the core and root of how it makes you feel then everything else better aligns.
In order to assess this and dive in, consider the following:
1. Assess your interests: Make a list of your interests and hobbies. Think about what you enjoy doing and what makes you happy.
2. Evaluate your strengths: Identify your strengths and skills. Consider what subjects you are good at in school and what activities you excel at.
3. Explore different careers: Research different careers that align with your interests and strengths. Consider job duties, salary, and job growth potential.
4. Consider your values: Think about what is important to you. Consider what kind of work environment you would thrive in, and what kind of impact you would like to make.
5. Gain experience: Consider internships, volunteering, or part-time jobs in fields that interest you. This can give you a taste of what it's like to work in those fields and help you determine if it's a good fit for you.
6. Seek guidance: Talk to guidance counselors, career advisors, or people who work in fields that interest you. They can offer valuable insights and advice.
Remember, it's important to pursue a career that aligns with your interests and values, but also one that is financially viable and has good job prospects. Take the time to explore your options and make an informed decision that will lead to both happiness and success.
The best advice I can give you from experience is, "Discover what hobbies brings you joy when you do them and find a career that compliments it as well as your personality. If you're social and outgoing, find a career that involves interacting with people and working as a team. If you don't like being around people, then find a career where it's more independent based."
For me, I love math and how things work. As a result, I chose a career as an analyst that allows me to learn different processes but also extract data to understand how we can make those processes more efficient and work better.
I recommend doing internships because it's a great way to discover your real passion. You also get to network with people who will allow you to gain insight into the profession and fine-tune your skills. You can also shadow someone in the careers you are interested in. That way, you see firsthand what it is like. Sometimes, what we envision a profession to be is very different from reality. Your questioning about which path to take already sets you on a course to discover what makes you happy and successful. I wish you the best!
Jerome Dees Jr.
It doesn’t have to be perfect and will change as you get older, but that could help guide your decision.
I had to chose between nonprofit work and sales. I went with sales and have been able to donate and give back to causes I am passionate about. Sometimes going one direction doesn’t mean forsaking another. Hope that helps a little.
Jerome recommends the following next steps:
You've already answered your own question regarding what you want: "happiness and success". Choose the one that makes you happy and sucess will follow. It's does not work the other way around. People can be successful but not happy!
Career decision is not easy, philosophically as Robert Frost put it in his poem, "The Road Not Taken ."
Best of Luck.
All those who answered gave great advice. That said, I may have missed it but I didn't see anything about "Shadowing" programs. Shadowing a behavior analyst will give you a first-hand glimpse of the job. The more shadowing opportunities, the clearer your understanding of the realities of the job. College grads without field experience in their line of study sometimes find that their expectation didn't match the reality & they end up disappointed. Shadowing is one (low commitment) way to prevent that disappointment. Later, if you're still interested, interning is a possible option.
Talk with your & with local university academic advisors about local agencies that have behavioral analysts for solving crimes & ask about common job positions that business major graduates fill. Ask if any have shadowing programs.
As for behavior analysis for solving or predicting crimes, most cities have local FBI, Dept of Homeland Security, & other government chapters and Fusion Centers that could possibly provide you with some shadowing ideas for behavior analyses.
Speak to your local Attorney General's Office, Police Chief, University Police Chief, Sheriff, High-ranking State Trooper, any of their respective CID (Criminal Investigations Division) Commanders or even your local Police Academy Instructors. (Academy Instructors could be a great resource because they know so many in Law Enforcement!) If any cannot permit shadowing for 1-2 days/week, they may be able point you in the direction of an agency that can.
Maryland's Dept of Health may also be able to shed some light on your potential interest (scroll down for a list of potential contacts): https://health.maryland.gov/bopc/Pages/analysts.aspx Hopefully, they know people who know people who will host you as a shadower.
Taking Level 1 CJIS Security Awareness training online (requires a user name & password) & signing a confidentiality agreement may be requisites. Students who work in University Police Departments should be CJIS Level 1 certified. If you want help with it, that'd may be a good place to start! PS-It's free.
Be fair to yourself and shadow at least a few times at positions for each of your two possible degree programs. You'll be much more enlightened after!
Best of luck! And remember: To be extraordinary, one must do extra. Also, "a goal without a plan is just a wish." -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Start by listing your strengths and weaknesses, your hobbies, and your favorite subjects. This can help you identify what careers align with your natural abilities and interests.
Talk to people in different professions and ask them about their work experience, job requirements, and satisfaction level. Attend career fairs and visit company websites to learn more about different industries and job roles.
Additionally, seek guidance from academic advisors, guidance counselors, and disability resource centers at your institution. They can provide valuable insights, connect you with relevant resources, and help you make informed decisions about your future career.
Finally, don't be afraid to take a few risks and explore different opportunities. Your interests and passions may evolve over time, so it's essential to keep an open mind and be willing to pivot when necessary. Remember, the key to success is to find something you are passionate about and work hard to achieve your goals.
There is never a wrong reason for starting out in Business Administration, since any and every occupation requires some form of business - and it is a great fall back. Once you begin to explore your passion, you may decide you have a preference outside of business - but you can always consider studying for a minor degree in Business while majoring in Criminology, for example. Know that you have lots of time to choose your direction, and it can always be changed. Best of luck!!
This path certainly worked for me. My first 'real' job out of college, was an entry level engineering assistant role at a telecommunications company. I learned to love the industry. I worked my way up, with on the job training, to become an engineer.
Don't stress over not knowing what you want to do. A plan will reveal itself if you work hard & keep an open mind.