Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. Trying to choose a career can appear to be an overwhelming task. The number of career option is staggering. Yet deciding on a career may be the most important decision in your life. Your career choice will affect your satisfaction with life. It will have a significant impact on which your friends are, how much money you make, where you live, and how much leisure time you have.
Many people simply fall into a career and let things happen by chance. They may wait for something to come along that sound interesting and fun. Others may follow the advice of parents, friends, or teachers. But some people take charge of their future and actively plan for a career. The odds of finding satisfying and challenging work are greatly increased when you commit your time and energy to planning for your career instead of leaving things to chance.
Career planning is an ongoing process, one that occurs throughout your working life. It involves knowing what is important to you and actually defining your interests and skills. It involves exploring and collecting information about a wide range of opportunities. And it includes evaluating options and making informed decisions. Career planning allows you control over your life.
Career Planning Process:
Before you can decide on a career, you need to understand yourself and what is important to you. You want a career that will contribute to your personal happiness, not detract from it, To make a sound career decision, you need to appreciate what you are good at, what excites you, and what you find rewarding. Gaining and understanding of your values, interests, and skills will help you decide on a career that is right for you. Some people find taking a vocational test helpful in assessing their interests or aptitudes. Most colleges have a center where they administer tests such as the strong Campbell interest inventory or the Myers Briggs personality test. Another helpful tool is working through the self assessment exercise found in career books and magazines. An excellent resource for self assessment exercises is “what color is parachute?” by Richard Bolls. Taking to parents, friends, and career advisers can also help you more clearly define your preferences and talents.
Career exploration involves collecting information about the different types of work opportunities and career fields. It means sorting through alternatives and narrowing down the scope to work options that relate to your own interests and aptitudes. It is a process of identification and elimination. The two source of information about careers are publications and people. The library, with hundreds of books on many different career fields, is a good place to start. The U.S. government publishes literature describing different occupations and providing the current outlook for different fields. The occupational outlook hand book is an especially useful publication; it contains job descriptions and describes the qualification and skills necessary for the job. A college placement office can also be very helpful in exploring career options. It maintains a complete library with books, directories, brochures describing careers and job opportunities. Taking with people who have worked in a field can also give you a good idea about what it is like to work in that field.
In the end, planning for a career means making decision. Once you thoroughly understand yourself and the available options, you can make an informed decision and establish a career goal. As with all decisions, career decision making requires information. By being well informed, you will improve the quality of your decisions.
Decision making is a skill that can be developed. Following a simple model can be helpful.
- Clearly define the problem.
- Determine the decision criteria.
- Develop alternatives.
- Evaluate each alternative.
- Make a decision.
Your career decision will be easier if you realize it does not have to mean deciding on a career for the rest of your life. Most people have several occupations over a lifetime. Changing careers does not mean you have made a bad decision. Values and interests may change; after a while, you might want to seek a new field of work. Today, as people look for more balance between personal life and work, career changes are more frequent than ever before.
World of Work
Free enterprise system provides for millions of people, employment options in large corporations, government, and thousand of privately owned businesses. Understanding the different ways the world of work can be arranged is often helpful. One way to view the work world is to divide it into three major sectors; the private sector, the non-profit sector, the public or government sector. Career choices may also be defined by industry or functional area.
The private sector consists of all businesses that operate for a profit. This sector offer the greatest number of job opportunities. Most people will probably work in the private sector at some point in their career. Generally speaking, it provides the opportunities for the greatest financial rewards. Businesses that are profitable are able to offer employees higher compensation than other type of organizations.
Not for Profit Sector:
The not for profit sector includes organizations that don’t exist to make a profit for the owners. Non-profit organizations return any earnings back into the organization for the benefit of their members or the public they serve. Job possibilities with these organizations are not numerous, and compensation tends to be relatively low. Nonprofit Employers: consumer union, art museums, foundations, hospitals, trusts, industry trade groups.
The public sector includes opportunities in national, state, and local government. The public sector tends to be characterized by very structured work environments and promotion procedures; relatively low employee turnover, and a high degree of job security.
Government service: educational programs, law enforcement, fire protection, roads and streets, social welfare, social work, highway operations, criminal justice, urban planning.