Career Tip of the Month

Choosing a Career

Very few people come into this world knowing exactly what they want to do, get there, and then happily remain in their chosen profession until they retire. Many will go through several bad employment experiences before finding the one that seems right. Others have unforeseen events that happen in their lives and cause them to switch careers or look in a new direction. Career development, like life, involves growing and developing and adapting the best we can to the events that occur in our lives.

Many of the people I speak to on a daily basis want two things: an occupation that they enjoy AND one in which they'll be able to find a job in the future. Not an easy task today.

So where should you begin? With yourself. Just as people are made up of more than one attribute, so are occupations. A good person to occupational match is made when the essential factors that make up an individual match, or are at least compatible with, the dominant attributes of a job or career.

Think of all the skills that are involved in being a receptionist in a medical office. In order to be a successful you would want a person who a. likes people (interests), b. takes pleasure from being helpful and being part of a larger team (values), c. is energized by a fast-paced, often noisy or crowded, and sometimes unpredictable working environment (personality style), and d. has good verbal communication skills, organizational ability, and computer or office technology skills (aptitude).

The point is that you have to look at all of the factors that make up a job and see how well they fit with your interests, values, personality style, and abilities (not just one factor). Just because someone enjoys "being with people" doesn?t necessarily mean they?d make a good medical receptionist, for example. If that particular individual also happens to be extremely verbal, creative, and prefers to deal with situations as they arise, rather than following an established routine, then that medical office is probably going to end up in chaos. Instead, that individual might be better suited for a career in public relations, marketing, or fund-raising where there is more personal flexibility, and the opportunity to exercise creativity and spontaneity.

Whatever your situation, exploring who you are, researching careers, and choosing an occupation that best matches your interests and will go a long way in helping you to make a better, more informed, decision about your future.

Remember that careers, like people, are not static - they grow and develop over time. In today's economic reality you cannot expect to be doing the same job today that you will be doing five or even ten years from now. Career development, like life, is a process - not an absolute.

(c) Web-Based Career Counseling by Mary E. Ghilani