You will probably change your mind several times when making a career choice, which is totally normal. Before you make the big decision, it’s important to get hands-on experience within a few different careers. You can do this through shadowing, volunteering, internships, or even part-time employment. To make the most of these experiences, here are some questions to ask people you interact with (and yourself) to make the most informed decision possible.
What are the positives of a career in your field? What are the negatives?
You want to be sure the career you choose aligns with your values. The positives should be things that are “wins” in your book and will leave you fulfilled. On the flip side, it’s also important to learn about the negatives. Evaluate the positives against the negatives and be sure the pros (from your perspective) outweigh the cons.
How is the work/life balance?
It’s true that you will spend a good majority of your time working, but remember, it’s not your whole life. Everyone has a different need when it comes to work/life balance.
Is location important?
You definitely want to consider your geographic preferences when it comes to a career. Certain careers are going to be more readily available in big cities vs. small towns. Similarly, you may find certain careers pertain to different regions of the country. Meanwhile, there are other careers, such as teaching, you can find in every community.
What does your schedule look like?
Many careers require hours outside of the typical 9-5 workday. This makes sense because life happens outside of those hours! For example, we need nurses serving our hospitals and firefighters responding to emergencies far beyond those 9-5 hours. When making a career choice, take into account the hours you will need to work. Does it fit with your preferences?
What are the educational requirements?
When making a career choice, you’ll want to research the educational and training requirements needed to enter each career field. View your time and money as an investment. Will this investment allow you to achieve your financial goals and make you happy at the same time? If there is a huge upfront cost to your education, be sure to research the time it will take to pay off any debt you take on to earn the necessary credentials.
When exploring a single career, it’s important to gain multiple perspectives. Everyone’s experience can look different based on the organization they work for. Many people change careers throughout their lifetimes, so even if you do tons of research and feel very confident with your choice, always keep an open mind.