There is much to consider when exploring careers and occupations. It is not just about the pay and how much fun the job is – there are many other factors of importance! You might be surprised to hear how often computer engineering students, who loved their chosen field in college, end up disliking their post-graduate jobs because they did not realize that they would be sitting in a cube by themselves, programming all day.
Being as informed as possible about all the facets of different careers and professions is key. There are many factors to consider – here are just a few:
- Career Risk: Knowing what type of career strategy (i.e. Job Change, Diversification) will help you achieve your goal and understanding the level of risk associated with each option.
- Personal suitability for the work/career: Are you capable of doing this job? Why? What skills or competencies would you have to develop or acquire to have a good chance of getting into this job or career?
- The work: What types of tasks are performed in the position? What products or services are provided? Do they sound interesting to you?
- Working conditions and environment: What is the location of work, safety requirements, uniform and dress, indoor or outdoor work, trade unionism, and level of interaction with others vs. working independently?
- The effect of technology: How does technology improve working conditions, productivity, or eliminate certain work/positions?
- Wages and salaries: Learn the range of wages or salaries and any special conditions for overtime work.
- Opportunities for advancement: What is the upward career path and timeline for this job?
- Required skills for specific tasks within the work/career: These might include computer programming or working with your hands.
- Transferable competencies you possess that apply to the work: Leadership, communication, problem solving.
- Education or training qualifications required for the work/career: College degree, vocational training, computer-based training.
- Advantages and disadvantages of the work/career: Pay, hours, level of independence.
The end goal is to evaluate many different career choices and make a final selection on a specific career to pursue. This decision-making process will give you a sense of fear about the future and also a sense of hope about what lies ahead. This is natural, because you are coming to terms with a choice. With this choice, you will open new doors and close old doors. During this process you should expect lots of change, be ready to accomplish tasks and be prepared to face drawbacks or obstacles that may arise.
In another article you will find a worksheet called, “Discovering Career Options.” This worksheet is a place to capture your thoughts on everything you have learned about yourself and your future career direction. It is a place to log the careers or industries that interest you, make notes about what types of information you need to uncover about each choice, and capture your fears and ideas about the transition process. It is very good to capture your thoughts and ideas on paper for reflection through the transition process.