Career decisions

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As humans we have the ability to take decisions for ourselves and at times when necessary for others also. One such decision is taking decision for the career. There is a point in life that we have to decide what career path we should follow that could lead us to our desired goal. Taking your career decision with your choice. That's the harsh reality. Only you know what the right career choice is and the Internet can't make the choice for you.

Any other person or entity which sounds similar to the one listed below, should be avoided at all cost:

  • Wait for the right time, it's never the right time.
  • Keep thinking about the decision and you'll figure it out; no you won't.
  • Find people who are more successful than you and ask them; they don't know you like you do.

Only you can make the right career decision and no amount of time, thinking or numbers of successful people can change that. You can seek inspiration from the success stories but the decision will ultimately be yours. If something feels wrong in your career, fix it. Quit waiting for things to get better and take action.

Not knowing what you want? You have to get clear about what you want in your career. A great exercise to try is designing your ideal workweek and figuring out what activities and tasks you love doing. Often when you don't know what you want, and just let fear into the driver's seat of our life. Suppressing your thoughts and emotions and telling yourself you're happy with your decision only makes things worse.

Knowing what is important to you (your values), what you enjoy (your interests), and what you do well (your skills) will make it easier for you to make a career decision. Think of values, interests, and skills as the three legs of a stool. You will sit more comfortably with your decision if each leg is equally strong.

The Five-Step Career Decision Making Process:

Self-Assessment- As you start to explore career options, first assess your interests, values, and personality to develop an understanding of your technical and transferable skills. Consider factors which may affect your search, such as geographic preferences, an organization's culture, or work-life balance. Creating this inventory first will help streamline your search so that you can direct your efforts in the most productive way.

Identify and Research Options- Doctors, Engineers and teachers are among the jobs we know, but there are thousands of other jobs and more created every day as the world is evolving. Once you have done a self-assessment of your interests, values and skills, take time to explore the range of career options, and don't limit yourself to careers with which you are familiar.

Evaluate and Prioritize- After taking the time to research a career option, the next step is to reflect. It is important to undergo a reality check for each career area you're exploring, weigh the pros and cons, and evaluate how well it matches up with who you are and what you want. If after your research you find that a career field is not for you, that is okay. After all, the point of this is to help you clarify a good fit. Check that area off your list and move on to the next career area.

Take Action and Try Options- After you have researched career opportunities of interest, it's time to try them out and gain some experience. Reading about a career provides valuable insight, as does talking with professionals, but trying the position through internships or extracurricular involvement will give you first-hand perspective. In addition, gaining experience will allow you to develop marketable and transferrable skills that will help you for future opportunities. Many students will seek to build relevant experience through internships and other forms of experiential learning off campus. There are also numerous ways to gain relevant skills and experience.

Reflect and Re-evaluate- During and after an experience, take time to evaluate and reflect. When evaluating whether a career is right for you, you need to consider aspects that may be consistent from one employer to the next verses factors that will vary widely, even if you're in the same role.

There are times in this process that you will feel frustrated, like you are no closer to finding direction than you were when you started. If you're going through the process, you are making progress. Each area of interest you explore and check off your list takes you one step closer to narrowing down your options that are a good fit. If you are taking time to reflect, you are also learning more about the type of work and environment you will find most satisfying.

It is important for students to realize that the career decision making process is just that, a process. It is not an event. Individuals have to continuously make decisions regarding future careers. Making sound and informed decisions is the key to good choices. Understanding oneself (interests, skills, values) also plays a major role in the decision making process. It is important to take responsibility for and own the decisions made.

The influence of career choice has a lasting impact on an individual. It serves to be a predictor and determinant of their prospective level of income, nature of work and consequently leaves a mark on the personality, demeanor and outlook of an individual. Thus one wrong decision can change your fate.

A crucial influence in decision making regarding career is the home environment as it lays the foundation of your personality. The values of the parents are transferred into the child. Besides the home, another major determinant of career choice is media.

Thus counselors can play a positive role in guiding them to make informed choices. Being interested in a particular profession is very important in decision making. If a student is forced into a career, he may exhibit low self-esteem and poor performance.

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