What Questions to Ask When Choosing a Career
Choosing the right career that will best suit you and that you will find fulfilling, can seem overwhelming. Gather information about all possible careers by doing research. Lots of information is available from a variety of sources -- public libraries, school career centers, government departments, professional organizations and the Internet. Speaking of friends and relatives will also help. Be prepared with a list of questions to ask yourself and people already in the field.
Start by asking yourself what your strengths and weaknesses are. What do you enjoy? What are you good at? What do you find difficult? Can you handle stress and do you enjoy high-paced, challenging jobs? Do you get bored easily? Psychologists, guidance counselors and employment agencies have tests you can take that will analyze your intelligence and skill level and give you suggestions about which careers would be the best fit for your set of talents and abilities.
It is also important to determine your personal preferences. Ask yourself what kinds of activities and situations you most enjoy or are most comfortable. Which ones make you feel uncomfortable? For example, do you prefer to work alone or with others? Some careers are better suited for team players while others are best for those who prefer to be alone. Do you become queasy at the sight of blood? If so, you might have to rule out careers in medicine or police work. Are you athletic or deskbound? Shy and introverted or extroverted and outgoing? Select a profession that matches your likes and dislikes.
You will also need to know how much education is required for the career you select. How much will the education and training cost? How long will you need to train? Ask yourself if you can afford the time and money to become educated. Is there any additional on-the-job training required? Do you enjoy learning and how well do you adapt to new situations? Are you leaning toward a career that requires much training? If you change your mind and want to make a career switch in the future, will the training you have to be transferable to other jobs?
Although we all want careers that are satisfying, financial compensation is often the most important consideration. Find out what your salary will be in your chosen career. Is it sufficient for your needs? Will it still be sufficient in the future when you have a growing family to support? Ask yourself how important money is to you. What are other benefits to the job? Will you find the job interesting and exciting or boring? Are there jobs available in the field? Would you be willing to relocate to find employment, if necessary? How does the job description of the senior-level positions compare with the entry-level ones? What are the opportunities for advancement? Does the career demand night or shift work? How would you handle that? Find out what the daily work hours and vacation times are expected to be. Sometimes, the perks and other benefits of a career might be so rewarding, they offset the less attractive aspects of the work.