Everyone assumes that fresh graduates will know which career path to take. But sometimes, you may begin a job that’s not right for you, and before long, you feel trapped in a career you don’t like. It’s normal to reconsider your choices or dabble in different jobs; after all, you won’t know until you try.
When it comes to choosing a career, it’s important, therefore, that you think about the choice you’re taking. That way, you can lessen the likelihood of ending up with a job that you know you’ll just be miserable in. Above anything else, your goal should always be to stay happy in the job and position that you’re taking.
To help you have a good start, here’s an in-depth look at how to decide your future career and get satisfaction in your work:
There are countless career options to explore, depending on your skills and interests. Perhaps you want to work in an emerging industry, like robotics, or you have an interest in sustainability. Many people become tied up in the dilemma of choosing between the most responsible option or pursuing something they love. Here are some steps to help you choose a career if you’re undecided:
Assess and ask yourself what makes you passionate. Is it food, or is it painting? Words or numbers? Take time to analyse your skillset, values, interests, passion, and aptitude. Other things to consider are whether you’re an extravert or introvert, and if you’re detail-oriented or see the bigger picture. That way, you can slowly work towards finding the company with a culture that’s geared towards your preference. The more you can match this, the higher the likelihood that you’ll stay happy in your position. There are plenty of free self-assessment tools available that’ll help you determine your personality type based on your traits and character, and generate a list of potential career options where you’ll be a good fit. You could also consult a careers counsellor who’ll ask you questions and give you tests before suggesting some options.
Decide Where You're Going to Start
There are instances when you may have long decided that you wish to work in a certain company. Perhaps this is one that you’ve long dreamed of or that you know will work best for your career success. If this speaks to you, then start there.
Do your research as to how you can be hired in that company or if whether or not you fit their requirements. When you go through this step, you can also determine if your bachelor’s degree is enough or if you need to take it one step further by taking online MBA degree programs.
Make a list of Job Opportunities.
After assessing yourself, come up with a list of potential career options. Exploring these will help you narrow down your list. Factors like salary, commitment, and the nature of the occupation should be considered. Thoroughly study the job descriptions of each option and learn about their modes of operation, training, and benefits. You can learn about job outlooks and employment satisfaction from data available on the internet.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you should conduct personal interviews with people who work in similar fields to ask questions about the companies they work for. Explore and extract important information like pros and cons that’ll help you make an informed decision. Asking around can give you a better feel of what it’s like to be hired in that company or that job choice. Moreover, don’t be restricted to your location; think outside your city or state. Especially when you’re looking for long-term career growth, it helps to work for industries outside your location. This greatly applies to those of you who may be living in small towns or cities that have limited opportunities for growth.
Make a Decision
Hopefully, by now you'll have some ideas on your future career path. Now, make a decision based on which occupation will give you the most job satisfaction based on all the information you’ve collated. Remember, you’re not bound to this choice; you always have the option of changing lanes even once you’ve decided on an option. Be open-minded to ideas, changes and new occupations.
Mark Your Goals
It's highly recommended that undergraduates and new workers write down where they want to be in five years, be it financially, career-wise or personally. Deconstruct these goals into short-term and long-term goals. Typically, short-term goals take less time to achieve and may include habits or hobbies. Long-term goals, on the other hand, may take three to five years, and can include things like your assets, job or financial position. One example of a long-term goal would be getting a master's degree.
Draft your Action Plan
After determining your goals, start writing an action plan for your career, including the companies you’ve shortlisted and the necessary documents you need to apply for positions within them. Even if businesses require employees to complete short-term internships or training certificates, consider them. These will introduce you to the actual job and what it will entail.
After following the above steps, here are some ways to prepare for what’s next:
Send out resumes and admission letters
Work on your portfolio
Equip yourself with new skills
Network with people
Enrol in online courses and get certified
These things can help you decide on or change your career in as little as an hour a day. All they require is some commitment.
If you’re interested in further learning, there are many scholarships that’ll support your education journey, even if you’d prefer studying online. Completing a master’s degree online has many benefits. As it's much more flexible than on-campus learning, you still can pursue your dreams while remaining employed.
Confucius said, “choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." That's why pursuing a passion is important in a career. When a job you pursued for months requires you to travel long distances and work long hours, then the job may not be for you.
Ultimately, your job should excite you and motivate you to show up each day. No task should be mundane, unsatisfying, or repetitive; if it is, it should be a step to achieving a greater overarching purpose, like a goal or promotion.
Being trapped in less meaningful work can stress and depress you; it can even degrade your performance and productivity. Making an effort but not getting the results or rewards can be demotivating. Eventually, you may become convinced that no matter what you do, you won't be rewarded.
At the University of Warwick, economists studied the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity. It was revealed that happy employees are 12% more productive, whereas dissatisfied workers were 10% less productive.
This study highlights that when leading companies like Google invest in their employees' happiness, it leads to increased job satisfaction and productivity. Workers are motivated to use their time effectively and work at a pace without sacrificing quality.
Hence, when deciding your future career, it's important to choose an organization that values its employees and their job satisfaction. Companies that cultivate a positive work culture and promote programs that assist employees will help staff avoid burn out. A healthy work-life balance helps employees to remain committed to their job, and eager to work for an employer that cares about their mental health.
It’s normal to be undecided about your career—particularly if you’re a fresh graduate—but a little research and organization can do wonders. Before you make a decision as to your future career, set long-term goals and figure out the steps that’ll help you achieve them. If you’ve started a job and aren’t happy, you’re never locked into it; there’s always the possibility of changing your career in the future.