A key element in making solid career choices is knowing yourself. A good career decision will be based on your personality, interests and abilities, not just making a lucky choice.
Start by considering your personality. Do you like working with others, or are you more of a loner? Is decision making enjoyable, or kind of scary? Are you a big picture thinker or a detail person? Are you a self-starter or someone who needs direction?
Your personality has to shape your career decisions. One of the biggest reasons for job dissatisfaction is when someone is forced by his or her work to be someone he or she really isn’t.
A second issue is considering what types of things interest you. Does the work commonly done in a possible career field seem as if it would truly engage you? Does working with people seem interesting, or do you prefer being behind the scenes? Try to discover whether the day to day would keep you interested and challenged, or quickly bore you.
And though it’s difficult to do, you need to honestly evaluate your abilities. Most of us tend to underestimate our talents, leading us to rule out various career fields because when we feel we lack experience or ability. It’s easy to forget that no one enters their career as an expert.
But you also want to be realistic in your evaluation. A career field with high demands for which you have little aptitude can leave you feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and unhappy.
Finding the right career is a process that requires time and work, and sometimes help. Companies with cutbacks often provide free career counseling or have an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) that offers several free job counseling sessions. Many colleges offer career counseling assistance at low cost, or you can find counseling professionals who specialize in career counseling in the phone directory.
The bottom line is to try, either by yourself or with a career counselor, to understand as best you can your personality, interests and abilities. Doing so will help increase your chances for finding a satisfying, rewarding career.
“The Counseling Corner” is provided as a public service by the American Counseling Association, the nation’s largest organization of counseling professionals. Learn more at www.counseling.org.