It was once estimated the majority of people are unhappy in their occupation. If it were possible to start over, most would choose differently–making it wise to choose correctly the first time. How do you know where to begin?
There are basically 4 things to know about yourself:
- What am I good at? There are all sorts of vocational aptitude tests. The Armed Forces ASVAB is given at many high schools and gives students a starting point when choosing further training. Life experience may point out areas where we perform much better than average.
- What are my interests? While we usually like what we’re good at and vice versa, oftentimes within our aptitudes are more than one interest area. We will be much happier if we are operating within our interests as well as our strengths. Interest inspires us to learn more and excel further.
- What do I feel passionate about? We often have areas that excite as well as interest us. I may be interested in science, but passionate about animals, or plants, or medicine. Past experiences may have me wanting very much to do something in a particular field. For instance, I may have a “cause” I care about because of something I saw or lived through, or that affected someone I loved.
- What is my basic personality? Do I like to work with people, things or ideas? Am I an introvert or extrovert? Am I a leader or a follower? Do I like to work with structure and routine, or am I highly spontaneous? Do I like procedures or am I highly creative? All these things can help a person decide on specific areas within a field. For instance, just within the medical field there are areas that will fit any personality type from the solitary researcher to the emergency room personnel, and things in between. Someone who loves science yet finds the research lab too quiet, may enjoy pharmacy. Someone who needs lots of drama and excitement might prefer the Emergency Department to routine operating room areas. Someone who is highly creative might enjoy the inpatient mental health unit, or if artistic, the plastic surgeon’s world. The possibilities are endless, but wherever one explores, it is important to find out what “a day in the life” consists of, and what personality traits are called into play.
Happy searching! Its important as a young person to try on different roles to see how they fit. This can be done through volunteering or “shadowing” someone working in a field that interests you. Ask lots of questions and imagine yourself doing this work. Don’t just do something because you admire someone else who is doing it. Do it because you see yourself doing that job with confidence and joy.