Choosing a career path is not as straightforward as it used to be. In the past, the formula for success was the three-step career plan (graduate from college, get a job, work up the ladder). The reality of today's young professionals though means that swapping job titles is easier than it ever was.
A great many industries, companies, teams, etc are ripe for the picking and this means lots of choices throughout one's career. That is the pro of it. The con, however, means that having too many choices can be paralyzing.
To help steer you in the right direction, here are 3 questions you can ask yourself before embarking on a (new?) career.
1. What are you good at and what do you love?
Yes, this seems quite standard. But it is still very much relevant. The thing is that many people have aspirations that are simply too broad and difficult to act on. To narrow it down, use your passions as a jump off point. You want to be the next J. K. Rowling? Sure, no problem. Now go make a "skills inventory" to see just what you can contribute to make this dream a reality.
If you are good at providing feedback then you could probably start by coaching and editing writers to give them some new perspectives. If you enjoy digging for scoops then you could probably try out journalism or even tech writing.
2. Are you prevention or promotion-focused?
Your motivations will greatly impact the work you do. And when it comes to motivation, there are two types: prevention and promotion-focused.
A promotion-focused professional is the classic creative and entrepreneur. This type of person thinks abstractly and takes opportunities as they arrive. This type of professional however tends to be impulsive and optimistic to a fault.
A prevention-focused professional, on the other hand, is the opposite. This type maintains status quo. Planning and analytical thinking are central to this type of person.
Prevention-focused individuals are better suited for work in companies with a schedule while promotion-focused individuals are better suited for creative environments where high risk equals high rewards.
What kind of lifestyle do you prefer?
Most jobs will start out fairly the same with lower salaries than you would prefer. The trick is to look a little more long term and see if the lifestyle in a particular career path is for you. It is also not just about the dollar value. Things you have to put into account are control over your time, travel time and many others.
What is the best environment for your personality?
Check out the Myers-Briggs personality test to give you a better understanding of your personality. Introverts are more suited for quieter roles in the background. Extroverts, on the other hand, thrive in busy workplaces. Neither is better than the other as each has its own role to play-the trick is to find which is best for you for a harmonious relationship with your work.
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