by Julia Scalise, DN, PhD
School bells are ringing once more calling students back to continuing along their educational journey. Yet how many students are confused or disinterested because they have no idea what to do with their lives once their basic education is finished? Likewise, how many adults are in transition about their current careers due to dissatisfaction or untimely downsizing? And further still, how many adults are retired but need to return to working because of financial need, or wish to return to working due to boredom?
I always looked forward to the new school year because any opportunity to learn something new was my objective, whether it was subjects I intended to use for a profession or just personal enrichment. However, I understand that not everyone feels the same about learning just for the sake of learning.
I wish our educational system had a way or a program to help each young student sort through the overwhelming number of choices or to help them focus at an earlier age on some career paths that suited them for their long term satisfaction and happiness. But no matter where you or your children are in life, here are 4 tips to help everyone. Not everyone knows from the age of 5 what they want to be when they grow up and ends up doing just that in their lifetime.
1) TALENTS: Determine your natural talents. Whether they are geared to right or left brain thinking and function, or a mixed blend of both, you can decide if you wish to have a career where you have to work very hard, or if you choose to do something that comes easy for you. There is no right or wrong answer, but be honest with yourself about what you would prefer. If you are assisting your children in this matter, try to help guide them where you feel they would best be suited.
2) PERSONALITY: The list of questions you can ask yourself is endless, but you should start to look at what best suits your personality or that of your children to further help define a career path to follow.
- Are you an introvert or extrovert?
- Do you like people or prefer to be alone or around animals?
- Does the idea of a corporate career in a tall skyscraper win out over a career in the outdoors surrounded by nature?
- Would you rather design clothes or sew the seams?
- Would you rather be a leader or a follower?
- Do you want to follow rules, or be an entrepreneur and set your own?
- Do you feel safest with employment which provides financial stability or are you more of a risk taker and can survive the anxiety and uncertainty of never being guaranteed a paycheck?
- Are you physically active or prefer a more sedentary day to day routine?
- Do you prefer using your mind or using your hands?
- What excites you most?
- What makes you want to hop out of bed in the morning charged up to face the day?
- Do you dread going to the office during the week yet feel like a racehorse in the gate on the weekend if you have an activity planned that you really enjoy?
- Do your children give you a hard time getting up for school, but if there is a sports practice scheduled early on a weekend, they give you no trouble getting up and ready quickly?
- What makes you feel good about yourself, valued and appreciated?
4) PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: These questions are but a very few to begin asking or observing about yourself or your children. But they are a great place to start. By combining your talents, personality and motivation preferences, you can begin alleviating the stress, anxiety, and confusion of not knowing what you want to do for a career. Then you can take all that energy and use it to work towards how you wish to live your life feeling content, fulfilled, and motivated. More often than not, if you do what you love, success follows.
Whether you are a young student, an adult in transition, or a retired worker needing or wishing to return to the work force and want further help with your direction or decisions, I suggest reading “Test Your Own Job Aptitude”, by Jim Barrett and Geoff Williams. This book contains actual testing to discover your talents, personality type, and motivators. I read it many years ago and still recommend this book to anyone struggling for answers.
Once you begin to get a clearer path or direction for yourself or helping your children do so, the next step is to figure out what you need to do and then doing the necessary work. But I know for a fact, in speaking with my clients and family and friends, determining what you want to do in life is sometimes the harder or more difficult part. The actual work becomes a lot easier once you know it is for your goal to do what you feel you would love to do and get paid to do it.
Wishing you health, living your best life, and finding success in career satisfaction.