Choosing the wrong career path is most often synonymous with lack of motivation and academic failure. Later, it makes it more difficult to find meaningful employment. Did you know that only 13% of workers worldwide actually enjoy their jobs? You don’t have to join the ranks of people who are unhappy with their work. Here are the 6 most common traps to avoid.
Trap #1: Choosing your academic or training path without a career plan
A common mistake is to postpone choices to keep your options open. You don’t know what kind of career you want. Hence, you keep your educational goals broad. But by not making them more specific, you may be closing doors. For instance, if you haven’t taken the necessary courses in physics at undergraduate level, it will be next to impossible to pursue graduate studies in physics.
Your career plan should dictate your academic or training path, not the other way around. Else you may waste a lot of time and money for diplomas or certifications that will be of no use. In addition, it is much more exciting to study or train with a career goal in mind.
Trap #2: No taking the time to get to know yourself well
Some people go through life without knowing who they are and what they really want out of life. To choose a career, you need to know your values, aptitudes, and aspirations.
Trap #3: Leaving the decision to someone else
You may be tempted to trust the advice of people around you: your parents, your friends, or your teachers. You may also be influenced by what’s trending right now, the most popular career paths. Yet who better than yourself can know what you want? It’s your life. Follow your own script! Don’t choose a career just because someone else thinks it’s a good idea.
Trap #4: Relying solely on your academic results to make a choice
Your personality is not limited to your report card. Resist the temptation to consider only those subjects you’re good at when choosing your academic or training path. Conversely, don’t rule out an entire career field because you struggle in a specific subject: if you find meaning in what you’re doing, you will overcome most learning difficulties with hard work. Finally, keep in mind that loving a subject does not mean that you can easily turn it into a career. For instance, you may appreciate literature; this does not mean that you will make a good English teacher. Check that you want to teach!
Trap #5: Choosing alone
It’s the opposite of trap #3. Once your personal reflection is well under way, it is crucial that you talk with the relevant people to get feedback on your career plans.
Trap #6: Limiting the range of possibilities
Like most people, you certainly have your share of beliefs about what careers are available to you because of your gender, social background, heredity, or geographic location. At this stage, it is essential that you widen your horizons.
To learn more about how to make the right career choices, please read “What the heck should I do?”.