We’ve all heard that dreaded question. At family get-togethers, on school applications, or even during a job interview. “So…what career do you want?”
The odds are that you probably don’t want to pursue the career as an astronaut you once dreamed for as a 10 year-old. As young adults, we evolve constantly, and remember, there is no “correct” age or time to pursue the career of your dreams. But with that said, where do you start? How are you supposed to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life (when you might not even know what you’re doing next week)?
Here are a few questions that will put you on the right path to a career you want to pursue, or at least crossing off those you don’t:
What am I passionate about?
We are all passionate about something, and being passionate about something is different than being skilled at it. Unlike skill, which is something you earn, passion is easy—it is the enthusiasm that you have for something, whether it be an activity, interest or idea. However, if you do have unique or transferable skills, we encourage you to look at how they can benefit you in the current job market.
If you are thinking “I have no idea what I am passionate about,” ask yourself what you feel is the most fulfilling part about what you do currently. For example, which courses do you look forward to the most? Do you have volunteer commitments that you enjoy? What is your favourite part of your job? These can range from small things like having a customer take your clothing recommendation, to bigger things like having an impact in your community. Pinpointing when you feel most fulfilled will eventually form a pattern and provide you with a sense of what you want to get out of your job everyday.
What are my values?
These are the non-negotiables in your life that you need to be happy and supported. For example, if financial security is important to you, you may want to consider a career in a school, bank or hospital. If you value work-life balance, you may want to consider a 9-5 job that is not too demanding with your time, and the list goes on.
What education or training do I need?
Certain careers require advanced education and considerable investment of time and money to support that education. If your dream job is one of these, be sure to plan accordingly. Other factors you might want to consider include: how many years it takes to complete the education or training, in which city you would be attending school, where you would be living afterwards, when you want to start a family, etc. Overall, thinking about the time and money required to pursue a career can help you figure out if it is feasible.
How much money do I need to make?
Different careers provide different monetary rewards. Even though your paycheque shouldn’t be the main factor in choosing a career, it can play a role in your quality of life, how you perceive yourself, where you live, and many more. For these reasons, financial compensation is also a huge factor to keep at the back of your mind while you consider a career.
Once you’ve answered these questions:
Talk to people who do your ‘dream job(s)’! Reaching out and networking with professionals is a great way to learn more about what the job entails, to figure out your next steps and to find places to work for. Luckily, next week’s blog will focus on tips for organizing an informational interview.
Last but not least, always ask yourself why you are choosing to pursue a certain career as you evaluate your options. Don’t let the opinions or expectations of others sway your decision. Ultimately, it’s your life and the decision has to be yours!