CHOOSING THE RIGHT CAREER
A person’s choice of career should revolve around one’s orientation in life, which comprises three factors: skills, interests and values. If you choose a career that enables you achieve success facilitating optimal utilization of your best skills, doing the kinds of work that relate to your favourite interests and in consonance with your core values, you will derive total job satisfaction in life.
In order to find out one’s orientation in life one has to know oneself. Go to some quiet place, sit down comfortably, close your eyes, and reflect. Consider the various skills you might have: Soft Skills (pertaining to the intuitive, creative and emotional right side of the brain) or Hard Skills (emanating from the analytical and logical left side of the brain). Are you a Soft skills person or a Hard Skills person? Or a blend of both? Think of your best skills. Prioritize them and make a list of skills in order of precedence.
Now list your interests and put them in order of your preference, just as you did with skills. How do you find out your interests? Assume you have enough leisure and plenty of resources; what would you do? How one likes to spend one’s leisure gives a clue to one’s interests. Will the career you choose enable you to satisfy your interests at work, or will you have enough leisure to pursue them on your own.
Now, list all your values. This list might include values like honesty, integrity, loyalty, prestige, happiness, friendship, family life, achievement, independence, education, power, money, independence, freedom and so on. Now prioritize your values in order of importance to discover your core values.
Introspect over your skills, interests and values. If you have conscientiously created and prioritized your lists, you have learned something about yourself, and your orientation in life.
Whilst considering a career see to what degree it is compatible with your orientation in life.
Let’s take an example. Suppose your priority skills include hard skills like mathematical and analytical ability, and soft skills like leadership and communication skills. Your interests include travel, adventure, photography and good food. And your most important values are family life, prestige and achievement. Now let’s consider various career options.
Consider a career as a deck officer in the merchant navy. Your skills and interests seem to be ideally suited but there is mismatch, a conflict, between the demands of a career in the merchant navy and your most cherished value ‘Family Life’ which in the long run could lead to frustration.
Perhaps, if your most important values were money, independence and prestige, the overall harmony and compatibility of your values, skills and interests with the career-attributes would have made merchant navy an ideal career option for you.
One’s values are the most important and critical aspect of one’s career orientation. If you want to enhance certain skills, you can work on it. Similarly, you can change your interests, devoting time to those interests you would like to create, acquire or strengthen. Skills can be learned, interests can be developed, but values are intrinsic. It is very difficult to change your core values. One’s values are the most important and critical aspect of one’s career orientation. If you want to enhance certain skills, you can work on it. Similarly, you can change your interests, devoting time to those interests you would like to create, acquire or strengthen. Skills can be learned, interests can be developed, but values are intrinsic. It is very difficult to change your core values. You may compromise your values, but you can’t change them.
Before you choose your career, introspect and ascertain the compatibility, congruence and harmony between the career and your orientation in life (your skills, interests and values). Don’t make a hasty decision or you may find yourself on the wrong road and then it may be too late to turn back. Devoid of intrinsic motivation to purse a career which is not in harmony with one’s orientation in life, but caught up in the need to retain parental affection, materialistic rewards and extrinsic recognition (peer and societal acceptance), young people often enter careers which never offer them true inner happiness or fulfillment. Thus, though they may appear outwardly successful, inwardly they lament over the reality of an unfulfilled desire.