Finding and Choosing the Right Career

By: Jennifer Geary

If you walk into a Kindergarten class and ask the students what they want to be when they grow up, you will hear responses like a fireman, a doctor, a ballerina, a princess, and a police officer. Once those same students enter middle school, their thoughts change to responses like; following the footsteps of their parents, a veterinarian, or a rock star. As those students progress in their studies to high school, you will find they are more thoughtful about their career or lack thereof.

No matter what our thoughts were as children, the reality of life sets in and we accept our need to earn money for purchases. I mean, come on, we do have to eat sometimes, right? Mom won't cook every meal you need for the rest of your life! Besides that, how are you going to get there without a car and gas to put in it?

From simple needs comes decision. So, we set out to earn that green stuff that puts food in our bellies and clothes on our back. Once we accomplish that task, we begin to realize that we have the potential to earn more money to buy more things. So, how does a person go about earning more money? Well, there are many ways. One of which is simply working more hours. Working more hours brings the acceptance of no social life outside of work.

How do you balance your earnings, your social life, family, and so on. while earning the income you WANT to earn? Only you can answer that for yourself. I can, however; offer you some pointers that I learned in my career endeavors.

EDUCATION

Education is very important when searching for the right career. For some, education is sacrificing a few years to get that degree and hope for a promotion. For others, education is taking some classes at a local community college to specialize in a field. For most, education is learning what is available to you and expanding on it.

Expanding on your college education is a great way to further your current career or begin into a new career. There is no guarantee, however; that you will be promoted or even find a job in that field that pays you what you are asking right out of college. You usually have to prove yourself or have contacts in order to get paid what you are worth.

A community college gets you the hands-on training you will need for a specific field. Sometimes, they are willing to even help you find an entry-level job. This is a quick solution to finding a new career path.

Educating yourself is the hardest part of choosing a career. Whether you decide to pursue college in any form, you still need to educate yourself on the options available to you. Your best resource is to seek the advice of your career counselor in your high school. If you are like me and are a late bloomer, you don't have that option. This leaves your local libraries, your worldly knowledge, and your local college or university.

THE SEARCH

Contact your local career center or unemployment office and ask if they have placement testing available to you. They may have a different name for it in your area, but essentially, it is a test to tell you what skills you are best at performing. There is no pass or fail, so don't sweat the word "test". It simply measures your skills. From there, you can determine what field of expertise you are best at or are best at comprehending and can learn more. Once you understand this information, you have to ask yourself, "Am I willing to work in that field?" or "Do I like that field?" If the answer is no, then decide on something else that you excel in. Your career choice does not necessarily need to be your best skill. For example, I like to work with computers, but my best skill is in engineering. I have NO desire to be an engineer, but I am excellent at problem-solving. Therefore, programming is a skill I have learned and like to do.

Contact the local college or university and schedule an appointment with the career counselor there. Talking with them about the careers available in your area will be a great help to understand what jobs are abundant. If you are willing to move or commute, larger cities have many more opportunities.

Plain and simple, hit the pavement. If you don't get out there and ask, you will never know your potential. If you are like me, I prefer to work in my pajamas and use the internet for my job searches.

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