The career paths we follow greatly affect our view of ourselves and others. When you are newly acquainted with anyone, conversations usually begin with, “So, what do you do?” “What’s your job?” “Where do you work?”
Some people might respond, “I am a musician,” “I am a writer,” “I plan to run my own business.”
Whatever the answer, the point is that our lives basically revolve around our careers. From the kindergarten level to the university level we are subtly pressured to choose a career or to do something with the rest of our lives. If someone does not seem interested in a particular career or want to do anything, we tend to think they are lazy or unambitious.
There are some people who reluctantly enter a chosen field because of familial expectations and there are others who somehow get it right from the cradle and still there are others who have no idea how they want to spend the largest chunk of their day. They still long for that indefinable thing that will show them what to do for their life’s work. For those people who suffer the agony of indecision and are confused, there are a few hints included in this article that should partially solve your career searching problems.
In her book on career planning, Celia Denues (1972) points out: “To know where you want to go, you must know where you are and who you are.” Potent words for those people who are not really sure which career they should choose. This quote points out one salient fact and that is the career planning process begins with you and specifically with your particular wants and preferences.
So to begin the path to choosing the right career lets focus on some questions about yourself as you chart your current and future career path. Don’t be too concerned about answering these questions hurriedly. They are thought provoking and introspective questions that no one else can answer for you:
- Who are you?
- Do you prefer time alone, with other people, or some of each?
- Will your chosen work be physical, mental or both?
- Which is more important to you: intellectual or emotional stimulation?
- Do you like things casual and flexible or structured?
- What is the most important need that work will satisfy for you?
- How will you spend your time outside of work?
- How do you want to be seen or see yourself as a person?
- What do you think of as the most important purposes of work?
- Is an active social life important to you? What about family life? Children?
The answers to these questions require a thorough review of your current situation. To know what is the best career for yourself, you need to know yourself, explore your likes and dislikes and how best you can turn your likes into a vocation. Life is a learning process so don’t be too hard on yourself if you have taken a circuitous route to an obvious answer. Just find out why your answers have changed and adjust accordingly.
Celia Denues, Career perspective: your choice of work, C. A. Jones Pub. Co., 1972.
Clarke G. Carney, Cinda Field Wells, Working well, living well: discover the career within you, Brooks/Cole Pub. 1999.