What career should I choose? Not an easy question.
There’s a lot at stake… Taking courses costs time and money, and what if we end up not liking that career at all?
Maybe you work long hours, quite bored with your job, and wait for the weekend to feel alive? Or you’ve been at home with kids for years and now have no career left? Or just starting out not sure which career path is the best for you?
If this is your situation, keep reading.
We all would like to be engaged at work, enjoy what we are doing, use our best skills and have work-life balance. It is not a luxury, it is the only way that leads to a happy, healthy life I believe.
And it’s not a Millennial talking, I’m a Gen X mom. I just happen to have a midlife crisis that tells me every day that life is too short. 🙂
I’m going to ask you three questions to gather all the information for choosing a personally suitable career.
Three attributes of a great career choice
Money. More money. Even more money?
The best career path for every one of us can be describe like this:
- We get to do what we love to do.
- We are very interested in topics we need to deal with.
- We can use the strengths of your personality at work.
Source of picture: roadtripnation.com
Are you ready? Grab a notebook or open a doc and let’s get started.
Career question 1: What do you love to do?
If you work in a field that is very interesting to you, you won’t mind the learning curve, the long hours, the low initial pay. The whole thing is just so captivating for you, you will think about it and jot down ideas at 3 am.
So what do you like to do so much you miss it if you can’t do it? You cannot imagine your life without it. Think general categories here, okay?
- Working with people?
- Teaching? Mentoring?
- Working alone in peace?
- Creating something from scratch?
- Designing something cool?
- Learning something new?
- Doing research?
- Moving, walking, dancing, using your body?
- Being outside?
- Your ideas come here…
Write down one.
What? Only one? Yes.
But how do I pick one if you love to do three different kind from that list at least? Which one is THE ONE?
Okay, pick the top three for now.
For example, for me, it was working with people, learning, planning and moving, exercising. I felt stuck… How am I suppose to choose one?
I thought about it for a while, and watched myself during the day. Then I realized that I feel depressed and low on energy if I cannot connect with people. I love to do all the other three as well, but if I had to pick one, I missed building connections with others the most.
And vice versa, if I had the change to talk to someone deeply and felt the connection, it energized me, made my day.
What is yours? What makes you feel alive? What do you miss so terribly you go out of your way to have a chance to do it?
Write it down with big letters.
Career question 2: What fields are you interested in?
At this point, think about school subjects, niche websites and library sections. What topic do you always end up reading about? Or googling it, or watching TED talks about it, or discussing it with another enthusiast… Are you the go-to person for friends and family about which
- Environment, nature
- Technology, latest gadgets
- Your fav comes here…
Pick two of your absolute favorites and write them down.
Very neat and visual help with these first two questions on roadtripnation.com.
Career question 3: What are your personal strengths?
We all realize by a certain age, that we are naturally more talented in some areas and less in others. I am quite good working with people, but struggle when I have to deal with tons of details.
Ideally, you would like to have a job where you can use your talents a lot, and rarely need to depend on skills that just don’t come easily for you.
For the next exercise you need to
- fill out a 20 minutes free questionnaire to find out your Briggs-Meyers personality type and
- get hold of a great book, Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type. Libraries usually have it, too.
Do you happen to know what your Briggs-Meyers personality type is? There’s no need to fill out the questionnaire then, just go straight to your type on the 16personalities.com website and read the part about work.
In the book, read the chapter about your personality. It gives you, among other useful stuff:
- three detailed career case studies, one of a Millennial,
- long list of professions that could be a good match for your, sorted by industry and
- a short ten bullet point description about what makes your type happy in their professional life. (Sure hit the nail on the head for me with this one!)
I know it is a trouble to get a real book and read about 10 pages in it, but trust me, it will worth it.
It can help you not to choose a profession that would make you unhappy for the rest of your career.
Congratulations! You have collected some of the most important ingredients to cook up your dream career. You know
- what you love to do the most,
- which topics are your favorites,
- what kind of professions match your personality and use your strengths.
Now it is time to get creative. Try to forget about family pressure, or others expectations about what you should do. Focus on your answers to these questions.
Mix and match, brainstorm ideas where you can do what you love, in fields you’re interested in, using your strengths.
Keep thinking, fill up some pages, let this topic float around in your head for a few weeks.
If you have some candidates, google a website form your country with detailed information about the chosen profession. Here’s my home province, Alberta’s Occupation Guide.
Okay, this is ended up being a pretty long post. I hope you guys found it helpful.
Choosing a great career is not something we can do in a day or two, but well worth the time and mental energy spent on it, because it can help you finding a work you love most of the time.
As always, you can ask questions and share your answers with us in the comments below!
life coach in training
PS: BTW, you can even use this process if you are searching for a solopreneur business idea. That’s what I did, anyway. 🙂