5 Steps to Choosing a Career that Fits You


February 14, 2007   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Are you happy with your current career? If you’re a student, are you happy with where your studies are going? If you’re like many people, you may find yourself often second-guessing the choices you’ve made that put you in your current position. This is completely normal. However, it doesn’t mean you should just ignore the feeling that something is missing.

Often, just the simple act of taking up a hobby will help those who have an innate desire to experience something new. If you’re looking to switch careers however, and have no idea where to start, use these tips as a general guide.

You probably wouldn’t make much money as a pool guy in the Northeast this time of year, just as becoming a country music singer would be difficult while living in Seattle. You have to go where the jobs are, or else adapt to what’s around you. A quick look at the help-wanted ads, or the degree programs offered at a University near you will tell you what industries are thriving in your area. Tip: Technology and health care are huge right now.

If you want to switch jobs, it’s probably because you’re unhappy. Ask yourself, If money were no option, what would I do? What hobbies do I enjoy? It could be writing, photography, building model RC planes, cooking. You can turn almost any hobby into a career, I promise! Tip: Do what you love, and the money will follow.

Here’s where you ask yourself just what kind of life you want to live. If you have to make a ton of money, whether for vanity or survival’s sake, you won’t want to quit your IT job to open a daycare. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to spend more time with your kids and family, it could be the best move you ever made. Tip: Make a list of what’s important to you in your life, and whether or not you need money to accomplish it.

Are you married? Have kids? A jet-setting pilot may have rough ride of it (sorry for the pun) if he’s away from his family all the time. If you’re unattached to anyone or anything, the sky really is the limit. However, I highly recommend taking your family’s needs into consideration when choosing a new career or applying for a new job. Tip: Avoid being on a different shift from your spouse, or your love life will disappear, and perhaps the relationship as well.

Finally, are you a Type A personality, or happy-go-lucky? If you are not a people person, you might want to avoid managerial work. If you are passive, a sales job is not for you. Enjoy sitting at a computer all day? Data entry jobs in the health care field aren’t bad professions. Evaluate (honestly!) your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps a conflict of personality is what is keeping you from being happy in your current position. Tip: Take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test – it’s truly a tremendous resource.

One last thing – talent doesn’t always matter. If you want it bad enough, you can teach yourself how to do it, regardless of what you’ve been made to believe. Many artists may say they were born artists, but they still had to learn the basics of drawing, painting, and writing.

So, if you aren’t doing something you love and enjoy, why not? Get to it!

Diane Penna is the creator of The Write Path blog, and is proud to call herself a WAHM (Write at Home Mom).

photo: “Career Path” by Suren Rapasinghe


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