Choosing Careers

Audrey M. Jones
business woman

When choosing careers, individuals must consider what they want in a job and what the career offers. The major considerations in selecting a new career include its average income, work schedule and typical job duties. More than anything else, these three aspects impact an individual's happiness and long-term success in his or her career.

Considerations When Choosing Careers

Potential careers should be evaluated for their benefits and drawbacks. While there is no such thing as the perfect career, a career and its accompanying job duties should have more positive than negative features.

Self-Employment vs. Employee

The primary consideration when choosing careers is whether you would like to start your own business or would prefer to work for a company, nonprofit organization or the government. Working for yourself may offer you a more flexible schedule, but may not provide you with a stable income. Working for a company, organization or the government may supply you with health benefits and retirement investment accounts.

Work Schedule

Your desired work schedule is another important factor when choosing careers. Traditional full and part-time schedules require 40 or 20 hours of work each week, respectively. Some companies, however, allow employees to work according to their own schedules at the times best fitting their lifestyle. Additionally, many companies permit sales, customer relations or other employees to telecommute to work. These alternative work arrangements may allow mothers with young children or individuals with significant family or personal responsibilities to fulfill both family and work obligations.

Income

Since one of the main purposes of any career is to earn an income, you should also determine your minimum acceptable income and preferred pay structure. Pay structure options generally include a salary, hourly wage or commission. Commission pay structures may not provide you with a consistent amount of income each month, but also may not limit the amount of money you can earn in your career. Identifying acceptable pay structures will assist you in limiting your career choices.

Job Duties

Of course, the duties, tasks and jobs offered in a specific career are very important. Researching the typical jobs within the career or interviewing professionals already working in the field will inform you about the average position's duties. Ideally, a job within the career should focus on something you enjoy or are interested in, something you believe in or even something you want to change. However, many employees perform their jobs merely because they earn a good income or because they want a better, more desirable position. You must determine if your income or interest in the career is more important. If you possess the required education and experience for a career, the fact that you find the job boring could be unimportant.

Career Aptitude

When choosing careers, you should determine your eligibility to work in the field. Even though not all careers require extensive experience and education, having at least some related experience may make it easier to find employment. Review your resume to determine whether your education and work experience currently conforms to the average requirements for workers in the field. If they do not, you should then consider whether making changes to your resume will make it more likely for you to find employment. Lacking the basic education and skills of the career may require you to eliminate it from consideration.

Career Availability

Your efforts in choosing careers will be worthless if you are unable to find a position in the field. Because of this, it is important for you to analyze the local job opportunities within the career. Newspapers, temporary employment agencies and the Internet may provide information about open positions. Networking events, such as lunches and dinners hosted by professional organizations or companies in the field, will put you in contact with individuals having information about current or anticipated employment opportunities. Through this research you will learn about the likelihood of finding employment in your chosen career. If you find that opportunities in the career are lacking, you may want to select another field of work.

Choosing Your Dream Career

Choosing careers can be a stressful and daunting task. Don't become discouraged if your analysis results in you discarding several careers; it is as important to know what careers will not work for you as it is to identify those that will. Furthermore, remember that while choosing a new career can be a slow process, it is also a process that can determine your future happiness as an employee.

Choosing Careers