Choosing a career, like many things in life, can seem like a daunting prospect. In some countries you’re expected to have an idea of what you want to do as early as 14 years old!
After that it’s hard work towards a university place and finally off to 50 years of work in your chosen profession. This can seem like a lot of pressure and to make big life decisions before you’re really aware of these things!
At such young ages, it is often our parents who have a large say in what we’re doing – though that’s not always the case or indeed a bad thing! But some realism is needed here, as we can’t always know how our tastes, opinions and curiosities will change as we move into adulthood and the world of work.
But how to find a career that you enjoy in the long run? There’s no one answer, but here are a few suggestions…
It’s ok to be confused
I think this is often overlooked, but it can help to ease the anxiety that we (and society) place on finding that ‘dream’ job. Perhaps it’s hard not to feel pressure when you see friends or siblings doing well, but I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people are confused – even if they don’t look it! So don’t pile extra pressure on yourself.
Find what you like to do – this will help
It’s not particularly surprising, but finding the thing(s) that make you happy is a breakthrough in itself. The more you do, the more likely opportunities to get paid for it will come along. This won’t work for everything, of course, but think in the same ‘ball-park’ and things will become clearer.
Perhaps the idea of a career is outdated, except for truly vocational and highly specialised professions, such as doctor or lawyer. So, studying medicine or law might be the only way for someone to work in those two professions, of course.
But studying either law or medicine will undoubtedly give you skills and knowledge that could be applied elsewhere – as a health correspondent or legal adviser in the charity sector for instance.
The most important thing here is that there are a multitude of careers and jobs out there that required a range of skills. If you’re not sure what you want to do in the long-term – don’t worry! So long as you are picking up transferrable skills and keeping an interest in a wide range of things, something will happen further down the line.
Try it out
Shop around. Be bold. Ask for advice and make it easy for people to let you help out. Talk to people who are doing the sorts of jobs you’re interested in and ask them how they got there. Impress them with your curiosity and knowledge! All of these things will give you a better idea of what’s required for certain careers and what the reality of the day-to-day work is.