Selecting a career path is a major life decision. As with any long-term commitment, you need to take the time to consider your options and then make a decision with the best information that is available to you.
While it might be tempting or easy, picking a career based on the reasons below is a dangerous proposition. Give them a read, then share your own advice with us in the comments.
Picking A Career Based On Your Favorite TV ShowHouse
is not a indicative of what it's like to work at a hospital, nor is CSI
an accurate portrayal of crime scene investigation (sad, I know). If a job piques your interest, then do your research in the real world. Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook
, talk to employees in the field, job shadow, and intern.
Picking A Career Based On Money
Yes, money should be a consideration when picking a career, but it should not be the
deciding factor. Think about it. You're better at the things you enjoy. You're less likely get burnt out doing things you love. If you're stuck doing something you're not that passionate about, you run the risk of jeopardizing your personal and professional lives.
Besides, when your passion and abilities shine through because you're doing something you love, you'll be more likely to get a promotion (and thus a pay bump).
Picking A Career To Work With Your Friends
Just as you were advised against picking a university because of your friends, you should not pick a career because of them either. Even if you have a tremendous amount in common with someone, you are still your own person with your own skills and interests.
Picking A Career Because You're Told You'll Be Good At It
It's flattering to have someone sing your praises and tell you that you'd be great at a certain job, but it's not reason enough to choose that job. Say, for example, that you have great presentation skills and are able to explain things with tremendous clarity.
Multiple professors tell you that you should be a teacher. It's possible that this is a good idea (you've always thought about teaching), but it's also possible that it's a terrible idea (you're not that fond of kids). Just because you might excel at a career doesn't mean you'll enjoy it, so think carefully when you receive career suggestions.
As with any decision with this much riding on it, picking a career is not an easy feat. Still, there are much better ways to select a career path
than those above, so be smart about your decision.
What advice do you have for those selecting their first (or a new) career? Please share it with us in the comments below.