When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you choose the conventional answer like teacher, firefighter, doctor or athlete? Or did you go for something a bit more unusual and talk about aspirations to become a cowboy, superhero or space alien?
As we get older our career options change for many reasons. Adults have more responsibilities and obligations – being a space alien might not pay so well. We develop skills that might be better suited for a different career path than the one we were considering at age six. Finally, we grow up and realize our childhood dream to be a rock star during the week and a veterinarian on the weekends might be a tough schedule to manage.
But who says growing up means growing bored?
Factoring in necessities like salary and stability are understandable. It’s important to know what your anticipated salary range is in a field you’re considering. It’s helpful to know if the profession is growing or declining. But other factors shouldn’t be ignored either.
Many of the top-paying jobs are found in health care. But does this mean that everyone should apply to health-related programs? Not likely.
When considering career options, don’t overlook other critical elements:
Skills and abilities: Health-care careers place emphasize the sciences, engineering and related professions require strong math skills, and social service jobs involve counseling and communication skills. Everyone has different talents. What are yours? Are they compatible with careers you’re considering?
Interests: While the computer field is a growing industry, can you picture yourself installing hardware and software every day? If not, your stay in this growing field may be short-lived. When it comes to job duties and a work environment, think about your preferences.
Personality: Would you prefer a work environment where people interaction is high or low? Do you make decisions based on facts, feelings or a combination of both? Would your ideal job offer a structured work environment or the chance for flexibility? The answers to these questions define who you are as a person. The first step is identifying your personality, the second step is understanding your personality’s impact on you and those around you and the third step is knowing where and how to allow your personality to shine.
Rewards and goals: At the end of the day what do you value most in a career? Some want the ability to help others directly. Others want the opportunity to work independently. Everyone’s values are different. If someone feels disconnected from their career, it’s likely because their values aren’t being reflected in their job.
The next time you’re tempted to research a “best jobs list,” remember the information might be misleading. The best job for one person might not be the best job for you. Take time to take your individual personality into account. You may be surprised what tops your best jobs list after all.
Career counselors in the CPCC Career Services Office help students identify what their best job might be. Contact CPCC Career Services for more information.