For most teenagers, one of the most daunting thought is thinking about what career to pursue in the future. The pressures on them to come up with one big decision that would determine the career path for the whole life can be overwhelming. What are you going to be doing for the next 40 years of your life?! In addition to that, there are expectations from family. Even if they are not actively trying to get you to think about it, these invisible expectations still create some constant pressures, which makes the decision-making process even harder.
Here are eight tips to help you decide to pick a career direction:
Don’t think of it as an ultimate path, as it creates too much pressure. Remember in your daily life, one of the most difficult tasks ever is deciding the name of the character you are planning to play within a computer game, right? This is because you cannot change that name halfway through. Similar to the characteristics of some games, you can only choose between the likes of the warrior or the mage or the healer, and that’s the decision that will determine the direction of the whole game.
But unlike what most people believe, choosing a career is not always an ultimate goal. Many things can change. Opportunities come and go. It’s like the first few move in the beginning of a chess game, those few moves are made not because you know already the checkmate structure 35 moves down the line. Instead, those few moves a made because you think it gives you a good opportunity to win the game down the road.
It is important to move forward. It is much more of a priority than which way. Some people have a strong sense of direction on what they want to do. Among this group of people, only some of them have the will and ability to follow through.
Of course, there are always few people that you would already be able to tell that they are gifted in the field since their young age.
The rest of the people belong to the majority of the pool. They initially think they know what they want to do, but then they falter or have a change of heart later in the life. Your decision now is not as important because life may take you towards different paths. It is important not to let the decision or a lack of decision hold you back in pushing forwards. Have an idea, maybe it’s business, maybe it’s science, maybe it’s art, maybe it’s teaching and start with that.
Some people have a strong sense of direction on what they want to do. Among this group of people, only some of them have the will and ability to follow through. Of course, there are always few people that you would already be able to tell that they are gifted in the field since their young age. The rest of the people belong to the majority of the pool. They initially think they know what they want to do, but then they falter or have a change of heart later in the life. Your decision now is not as important because life may take you towards different paths. It is important not to let the decision or a lack of decision hold you back in pushing forwards. Have an idea, maybe it’s business, maybe it’s science, maybe it’s art, maybe it’s teaching and start with that.
However, there are exceptions from the general scenarios. For the following career paths, I recommend one to say Yay or Nay to at a young age: Astronaut, Medicine, and Sports. These career paths take a long time to develop and truly have a physical time limit. It also takes dedication to the direction from a very young age. The required academic grades or the physical demands and competition pedigree have to be built from a young age. However, if you are not sure about your choice and require reading articles to decide between Yay or Nay to one of these career paths, it is likely the answer is Nay.
After that, narrow down based on what is necessary to narrow down. Certain education systems in some countries require you to choose between arts and science and business at the age of 15. Some education systems require you to choose a broad spectrum of courses that fill up various categories and then gives you options for electives. Necessity is the first decision. It’s analogous to survival. It doesn’t matter what one can potentially achieve later if they don’t survive now. When choosing due to survival, the pitfall is only choosing just to choose. Still put the effort in making the choice, and if one is not sure what to do, just follow the below algorithms.
Now narrow down your career path based on interests.
For example, many will say that they are interested in computer games. There are aspects of playing computer games that would drive a person to understand himself or herself. Some people may like to explore different ways to win a single game. Then it is likely that this person likes to research, which will be great for a career in research or other fact-finding a career path.
Some people may be interested in spending time interacting with people. Then a cubical office job may not be the right choice. Opt for a career that involves more interaction with people such as marketing or hotel management.
For instance, some people may be more interested in detective movies because he tries to think along with the characters. Then he may be good with problem-solving, so a career associated with problem-solving will be a better fit.
Afterwards, try to narrow down the choices based on skill set. But don’t over-narrow your choices.
For example, you may be very good at art at school. Besides as an artist, this also means that there is a chance you may be great with designs in general, and thus, you can consider a career as an engineer or in fields of R&D or architecture.
For instance, you may be good at debate. This means not only you may be good as a politician, but this may also mean that you are good as a salesperson, a promoter, or a team leader.
Narrow down by looking at your current situation. Some teenagers may be able to afford as many expenses as they want because their parents continue to give them countless pocket money. To a certain extent, it’s actually the most dangerous scenario, because that may result in a lack of motives to move forward. In this case, it’s best to spend time discussing and analyzing their real desires.
In comparison, some family situation is more financially limited. Some may need to work once they are done high school. Some may need to get into debt to be able to finish college or university. That means they have to look for jobs that pay early. In this case, one must be realistic about the situation and decide accordingly. For example, college program provides students with more practical hands-on experiences in the field with less tuition fee.
Most importantly, one can narrow down by trying. Try things early.
During school day including doing homework, it usually takes up to two-thirds of your awake time. Use your extra time wisely. Try to do volunteer work or job-shadowing to explore the world. Don’t think of it as a chore. Don’t underestimate it because it generates no real income. Think of it as a research study to explore what you like to do. Try different things to expand your horizon. Moreover, these experiences can also help you networking and build a better resume.
While it is important to have a direction, one should always be vigilant to any opportunities that arise unexpectedly. If life takes you to a different direction, don’t let the stress takes over your life. When there’s a setback, treat it as a lesson to learn from.
Always spend the time to explore your passion. Find a career path that makes you look forward to every morning.
Always Remember W.H.Y.
Be Well, Be Happy, Be You