How do you know if a career choice is right for you? Try it out!
There are some people who know, from the standard one, exactly what they want to be when they have grown up. They declare, “I want to be a doctor!” on their first day of school. They take up sciences in higher classes, enter medical colleges and give their patients a new life. Most people, however, either have no clue of what they want to be or they want to be 200 different things! They don’t know how to whittle that number down.
How do you know if a career is right for you? Of the hundred answers, one of my favourites is, why not try it out. How can you do this? It’s not plausible to have 20 different, in-depth internships or take different courses one after another. That would result in a poor cost to benefit ratio. Experts have suggested some strategies to sail successfully through this strenuous task of making a decision.
It is never too early to begin the research. Once you make up your mind for research, your interactions, activities and thought process will automatically get channelized towards seeking viable options for your career. Few of the steps to work it out are:
1. You can make a table of your interest areas, relevant career fields, corresponding courses and colleges and references of people from those fields.
2. You can look out for job titles, work profiles, work life that interests you. List them out with reasons and reverse engineer the way to achieve that.
3. To know your interest area you can sign up for the psychometric tests available online or visit an academic counsellor or get guidance from your trusted and experienced mentors.
4. With the internet at disposal, you have plenty of information right a click away. There are ample number of blogs, articles, and YouTube videos on the various career options, which you can refer to.
5. You need to ask the right questions to yourself, this will help you to think in the right action and come to concrete solutions. Another article will guide you through this too.
Once you have a list ready on the possible options you can consider, you need to focus on extracting real-world information in a detailed manner. The reason for this is that the various sites could be marketing platforms or outdated which would lead to biased or irrelevant information. The few ways to work around it are:
1. You can reach out to the people from the field. Use the network of your family and friends to find out the relevant sources. Emailing, phone calls, personal meeting could be the possible means of getting to the targeted people.
2. The important thing to keep in mind is to have the right set questions for them. Your aim is to seek a clear picture of the concerned profile in an unbiased manner. Ask them about the nature of work, personal-professional balance, skill requirements, expectations, problems etc. Your purpose is to know about real life experiences and judge them according to your own priorities.
3. You can interact with alumni from the courses and colleges that you have listed. Online answering platforms, social media sites, college websites can be used to approach the relevant people. This can help you build expectations from the place you are about to enter.
It is a very practical approach but sadly not a popular one in our country. You need to look out for opportunities to get work experience through internships/volunteers program in the shortlisted fields of interest. It would not be an easy task as such an ecosystem does not exist in our country. However, online internship aggregators, personal contacts could be used to find the right opportunity. The summer or winter breaks in your class 11 and 12 and time after the class 12 board exams before you enter college could be utilized for the same purposes. Your expectation from such a venture would be gaining practical insight into the field, learning from the experience and finding out if that is a field you want to explore further as your career.
As you learn more about yourself and opportunities available, it will naturally become clearer what career is a great fit for you. There are, however, high chances that you get more confused on the way and find yourself lost, but you need to keep endeavouring in this direction without getting stressed out.
You might not instantly know what you want to do but you will definitely discover what you don’t want to do. That narrows down your options and re-energizes the thought process. The decisions cannot be prejudged to be right or wrong but they definitely can be made more informed and responsible.
All the best!