Most people spend over 40 years working for a living. Some work until they drop. Imagine how it must feel to spend the whole time doing something that you dislike or even hate. That's where careers work comes in. Good careers education and guidance can give young people a flying start by helping them gain the basic knowledge and skills they need to begin navigating their way successfully through career choices and changes. A more useful concept of career is a person's pathway through learning and work. Planning that journey should start in lower secondary school at the latest, when students have to make subject and course choices. They need to make choices that reflect their interests and strengths, while making sure they don't close any doors to possible future pathways. They will need your help, whether in formal careers lessons, in one-to-one guidance interviews, in preparing for work experience, or just in a passing question as they go out of the door at the end of a lesson or during a tutor period. Today, planning your career is much more like planning a journey with several stopping off points or "destinations" along the way. You need to decide on your destination (what career you want to move into), what to pack in your suitcase (skills, qualifications etc you will need) and what route would suit you best (means of getting there).
You career route is unlikely to be a straight line between where you are now and where you want to be at some point in the future. You may hit dead ends, some routes will be quicker than others and unexpected things do happen (road works!) which will result in your plans having to change before reaching your job destination. There is also the possibility that, if you have not done enough initial planning, when you reach your job destination, it may not be what you expected it to be.
One extremely valuable input in devising a systematic plan, is to visit a career guidance specialist. With today's modern technology, there are a variety of computerised assessments available to aid you in choosing a suitable career.
The next important step is to adopt a structured process to assist you in implementing good decisions and choices. The RACPAC methodology was developed by AQR Ltd in the UK, and it is offered through Perfect Careers, a Johannesburg based career guidance company.