Choosing a Career Path

Beginning in childhood, we are asked what we want to be when we grow up.  Some of us have great imaginations: an astronaut, a race car driver, a rock star! Some of us know from the second we receive a certain toy what our career paths will be: doctor, police woman, or chef.  But for many, what we want to be when we grow up remains a mystery well into our forties, and often beyond.

Fortunately, it’s no longer uncommon to have many different careers throughout a lifetime.  Economies and social circumstances change, and we must remain flexible to changing with the times.  While it’s commendable to adapt and acquire as many skills and as much education as we can, the cost of education is making it difficult to freely experiment as bills accumulate and rewarding job opportunities remain scarce.  Additionally, with the vast occupational choices we have available, where do we begin?

Scheduling an appointment with a reputable career counselor may benefit you in discovering a more focused path.  Many will offer a career assessment.  A career counselor will also ask you pointed questions and guide you to specific educational requirements for specific professions.

Online quizzes also abound to assist you in discovering a career track.  While some may be helpful, others are too general to be of much help.  The quiz claiming to be the most popular aptitude test on the internet is accessible at  Athabasca University also provides education and career planning services, beginning with an online assessment you can take on the web site.

You can prepare by considering your response to the following questions: What are your interests? Do you love working with numbers? Do you thrive doing anything outdoors? Do you relish reading and writing? Do you enjoy teaching new skills to others? Do you require complete autonomy or require a great deal of direction? Write down your answers and it may shed light on a vocation you hadn’t considered.

Alternatively, think about tasks you dislike and try to avoid choosing an occupation involving work you find unbearable.  What do you absolutely hate? Truly, there is nothing more disheartening than dragging yourself out of bed five or six days a week to a job that holds no meaning other than a pay cheque.  The earlier you figure this out, the healthier and happier you will be.

Another good way to find out if a career is right for you is to interview people who are already working in the industry.  Phone, email, or ask in person what a typical work day entails.  You may be surprised to find it is something that holds no interest for you or perhaps fascinates you even more.

Uncovering what motivates and inspires you are great places to begin.  While being practical is important, it’s not always the road to happiness or satisfaction.  Reigning in your wants and desires can make life more affordable.  It’s easier when you’re not trying to impress everyone with a big house and a shiny new vehicle, after all.

Stephen Covey, who wrote the bestselling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, once said “I am not a product of my circumstances.  I am a product of my decisions.” While all our decisions may not transform into perfect results, choose what’s best for you and not what other people may be forcing upon you.  You are the one who ultimately must live with your choices.  Choose a career that has meaning, value, and interest to you.  Now go forth and conquer!