Imagine that you could do anything, forgetting the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities required, or how much it would cost you to do it. What if you could have any career you wanted anywhere in the world? What would that career be? Close your eyes and visualize yourself in that career, now hold that image in your mind. The thought of choosing and planning for a future career can be challenging for many. Many times this is simply because you might not know where to begin your search. There are so many career possibilities available, how do you select the right one for yourself? Career decisions dramatically impact your life. The path you choose will determine where you live, your income, how much time you spend at home, your travels, and how you spend your leisure time. Choosing a career is more of a journey than a destination, and there is no one right path to take. You may travel many different paths before finding the one that offers you the most satisfaction. Although there are numerous opportunities available to you, you do have to start somewhere in your search. There are many factors to consider when selecting a career. These factors include nearly every aspect of one's life.
According to Beach, we tend to make decisions as follows: first, we survey the situation to figure out what is wrong; then we decide what we are going to do about it; finally, we take action (Eikleberry, 1999, p 05). Making good decisions depends upon gathering good information. The first step is to gather information about you. What do you like to do with your time? What activities do you perform especially well? What are the things in life that are most important to you? Interest's likes and dislikes, skills competencies and knowledge, and values (where you place importance) are some of the most important factors to consider when exploring the choice of a concentration and a future career. Knowing yourself well makes it easier to narrow or expand your options, because you can use what you know to evaluate how well a particular concentration or career will fulfill what you like and what is important to you. Your greatest professional satisfaction occurs when you are in a career that uses those identified characteristics. Acknowledging that your value system extends into your work life will assist you in achieving career satisfaction. When considering career fields, explore the work values you think are important.
Think back to high school and the types of activities you were involved in: athletics, student clubs, honor societies, community service, and so on. What was it that drew you to these activities? Why did you enjoy them - or did you? Now think about the activities you are participating in during your college years. You may find that your college interests are or were very similar to those from high school. However, college life may have introduced you to a variety of people, activities, and organizations that you have never had the opportunity to get involved with in the past. Your interests may change as you discover a new world through these new people and activities. Look at how you spend your time, where you spend it, and with whom. Answering the questions above can help give you a better sense of whom you are and what you want to be doing with your work time as well as your free time. Since you will be spending the majority of your time at work, it makes sense to look for ways to incorporate your day-to-day interests into your choices of academic study and careers. If you are having problems identifying your interests and how they relate to various career options you might consider taking and interest inventory or test to help you further identify and clarify your interests.
After gathering information about yourself, you can begin exploring concentrations and career options - just what is out there? Exploration is hard and it is rewarding. Exploration...