Choosing a meaningful career requires some research and introspection, but the rewards that come from making smart career choices are numerous and well worth the effort of good career planning.
It's important to consider all of the ways your career choices will impact your life, so you'll be prepared to make the best career choice for your needs.
Consider your natural talents. What types of tasks come easily to you, and what things are harder for you to learn? Choosing a career that is a good fit with your natural talents will help you to make choices that fit well with your strengths
Skills are not the same as aptitudes. Aptitudes are the things that you could potentially learn easily, and skills are the things that you have already learned. You probably have more marketable skills than you realize. Understanding the skills that you already have will help you to see the broad range of jobs you could pursue.
You will spend hours work, so it's important to ensure that your work is a good match with your interests.
Your personal style encompasses your work preferences. Do you like to work independently or as a part of a team? Do you prefer to work outside or in an office environment? Even if a job is a good fit with your interests, if the major work tasks do not fit with your work preferences, it will likely not be a good fit for your needs. Ensure that the major work tasks are a good fit with the way you prefer to work.
To help ensure that you'll have a long career, you'll need to ensure that a job is physically safe and suitable for you. If, for example, you've had concerns with injuries with your hands or shoulders, then a career that requires a large amount of data entry or heavy lifting may not be a good fit for you.
Family and Personal Needs
You'll probably have to consider some very practical factors when making a career choice. The choices you make could affect where you live, how you spend your free time, the amount of time you'll need to spend in school and many other facets of your life. All of these factors will impact other goals and they could also impact your family or other significant people in your life.
The biggest source of career burnout is values and work requirements that are in opposition with each other. In order to choose a career that allows you to achieve work-life balance, the first step is to understand your personal values and consider the ways your career choice does or does not fit with those values.
Both career and non-career goals can be affected by your career choices. Do you want to retire early, start a family, buy a home, live in the country, travel, start a business, or be a work at home parent? The career choices you make will impact many of these goals. The more you think through your long term goals and needs, the more likely your chosen field will be a good match for you.
Do you need to make a full time income immediately? Perhaps you're able to invest some time in your career by pursuing further education or building a business. Your immediate and long term household financial needs will be a consideration in your career choices.
When you understand all of the ways your career choices impact your life, take the time to really understand yourself and carefully consider all of the facts, then you’ll be ready to making informed career choices. There are many factors that impact your ability to do a great job, build a successful career and be happy in your work. When you are able to carefully weigh all of these considerations, you'll be ready to choose a career that is a great fit for you.
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