Some people may identify their careers when they are very young. At eight years of age, they may decide that they want to have occupations just like their parents or they may decide to enter different professions. Others may discover their career ambitions while they are attending high school or at some point later in their lives. Even though people may select careers to work in, it is important to realize that they can change to other professions at any time. Although many individuals may feel as though they are locked into their careers for financial or other reasons, they should take a moment to assess their situations and determine if other career opportunities are more ideal for them. When they look through their lenses, they may discover the freedom to select new, more appealing careers – careers that may even be dramatically different from their initial choices.
My own career changed in a remarkable fashion. Even though I knew that I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was thirteen years old, I decided to transition to a career that assists people instead of animals. After sixteen years of practicing veterinary medicine, I made the radical decision to lay my stethoscope down and accept a unique opportunity working for the Chairman and CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I became a senior executive for that organization and had many job responsibilities. Despite the numerous day-to-day job duties that I had, I found time to coach many of the company’s employees and other people employed at various institutions. During this period I discovered that I loved supporting people during their pursuit of career success. My passion to help others led me to establish my own business and motivate others to experience the bliss of pursuing their own career dreams.
You can also determine the career that is ideal for you. Take some time to consider your responses to these questions.
o What would you enjoy doing even if you did not get paid to do it?
o What occupation could you do every single day and not grow tired of doing it?
o When you picture yourself in that profession, does a huge grin suddenly appear on your face?
After you spend sufficient time reflecting on the questions above, proceed to the five steps below. These steps will help you identify your ideal career.
1. List the careers that appeal to you. If you can not think of any, write down what you really enjoy doing and list the careers that are associated with these activities.
2. Obtain substantial information about each of the careers on your list so that you have a reasonable understanding of what the career entails. You can obtain data on the careers by searching on line or reading books that describe the careers you selected.
3. After conducting your research, return to your list and eliminate the careers that you are no longer interested in based on the information you gathered. Now you can focus on the careers that you are still interested in.
4. Take your abbreviated list and speak to people employed in those professions. During your conversations with them you can ask additional questions that were not answered when you conducted your research. These discussions will provide great opportunities to get their personal perspectives on the careers. You can speak to these individuals on the telephone, however meeting with them face-to-face allows for a more personal exchange (having coffee or tea together is a great way to have a nice discussion). When you schedule your meetings, be careful not to develop intimidating thoughts about speaking with them. Just remember, they began their careers using the same process and will be extremely flattered that you want to discuss what they know best – their very own professions!
5. Continue to re-evaluate and refine your list until you gather sufficient data to determine which career is right for you.
The more you learn about your career of interest, the more you increase the probability of knowing whether you truly want to pursue it. As a result, you will significantly decrease the time or money that may be wasted training in a discipline that you do not want to have as your career.