How to Choose the Right Career Path
Deciding which path to take in life can be an extremely daunting task. Since so much of our time is spent either at work, traveling to and from work, or thinking about work, it inevitably plays a huge role in our lives, and we, therefore, need to embark upon a career that we enjoy and find rewarding. Here are some tips on how to choose the right career path:
Who Are You?
Before making any important decision, it’s a good idea to take time for self-reflection. Choosing a career is no different. You should reflect on what kind of work environment you want to be in, what type of work you enjoy, who you want to work with, and what kind of job plays to your strengths.
First, you need to really know who you are – what your personality is. A useful way of analyzing your nature is to take a personality assessment such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and Jungian Type Index.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an introspective self-report questionnaire indicating differing psychological preferences in perceiving the world and making decisions. The test attempts to assign four categories: introversion or extraversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, judging, or perceiving. One letter from each category is taken to produce a four-letter test result, like “INFJ” or “ENFP.” Finding out which type of personality type you are might help you decide upon a career. Performing this assessment also gives you suggestions on what jobs are suited to your personality. For example, the INTP personality type or “Logician” has Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Prospecting qualities. They focus on theories and abstract ideas and love to analyze complex problems. These people have a tendency to overthink and have trouble concentrating if they don’t enjoy what they are doing. Albert Einstein is believed to have been this type, and career paths ideal for an INTP type are analytical, scientific, and engineering jobs.
What Do You Enjoy?
It is crucial that you choose a career you enjoy as a job takes up such a large chunk of your life. Hating or feeling unfulfilled in a job can cause stress and depression, so you must enjoy what you do. Increased levels of stress can lead to increased risk for heart attacks, stroke, weight gain, and a weakened immune system. Happiness has a number of health benefits. It protects your heart, boosts your immune system, makes you more stress-resistant, wards off disease, and lengthens your life.
Consider the things you enjoy and what makes you happy. Do you like helping people and are good at listening? – you could consider counseling, social work, or nursing. If children make you happy, you may enjoy teaching or being a daycare worker. If you need to be mentally challenged and enjoy solving problems, think about a data analysis career or the police force.
Think about the patterns of work. Do you work best during the day, or are you more of a night owl? Careers such as nursing, which require shift work, may appeal to you if you aren’t an early riser.
What Are Your Strength and Weaknesses?
Play to your strengths. If you find a career you are good at, you will find it more enjoyable and less stressful because you won’t be worried about not being able to do the required tasks. If you are good at a job, you will be more successful and admired by peers – life will be more comfortable and enjoyable.
If you are not a people-person, and prefer to work alone, do not choose a career where you have to deal with the public or be part of a large team. Loving being at the center of the action and leading people will make you a great manager or innovator.
Match a job to your personality. Choose something you are good at and enjoy doing.
Research Your Choices
You might have an idea of a career you wish to pursue. It makes sense to research it first as it might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Try to get some work experience in the job or talk to someone already in that career.
Contact career advisors who can analyze your skills and guide you down the right path. They can tell you what jobs are abundant and what additional skills and qualifications you might need to follow the path you decide upon.