Are you working hard at finding a job? Are you looking for your first job or are you looking into making a career change? Whatever you are doing, if you are in the work force, you are either interested in finding a job, looking for another job or looking into changing your entire career.
Do you realize if you are happy with your job, the chances are your working partner is not? Only about half of the workers are happy with their jobs. The other half, well they would change their jobs if they could. For some people, changing a job isn’t a problem. But for most people, changing careers feels as though it would be an insurmountable obstacle. When I was a freshman in college, I distinctly remember a comment during orientation. The speaker told us to look to the person to the left of us. Then he told us to look to the person to the right of us. He commented to take a good look because 4 years from now, when it is time for graduation they won’t be there. Now the statistics show that half of students entering college do not graduate. When I was going through orientation, the statistics showed that 2/3 of us didn’t even have a chance.
What does this have to do with career changes? Well, I did graduate but that was due to stubbornness. When I graduated, I had the task of finding a job ahead of me. Most people that don’t graduate from college did not receive or seek good career counseling. I went to college to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources. You tell me how they are related?
Most people will go through 4-5 major career changes and this does not include how many times they will be busy finding a job in those careers. My contention is, and I am proof of it, that most people get started in the wrong career in the first place (and this includes their choice of studies in college). Job changes within that career will not satisfy the empty feeling they have towards their job because they are not matched with the career.
When I was in college, I took some automotive maintenance classes from a local mechanic. The town was small and had 5 auto dealerships. The mechanic worked for all 5 of the dealerships. (Not at the same time!) He loved his career but he changed jobs often as a way to increase his salary. He was in high demand because he had the skills necessary to be able to accomplish his job. When he would quit working at the dealership he was employed with, the other 4 dealerships would be on the phone with job offers.
Most workers don’t have this luxury of finding the career and just changing jobs within that career. Another mechanic I knew was a mechanic to be able to afford his “other” career choice. He was a racecar driver. He was a good mechanic but he was on his own schedule and his customers were ok with that. The racing and the auto mechanic went together as he built and drove his own cars.
These are two guys that “fit” their careers. They have different levels of acceptance but they “fit” their careers. Do you fit yours? After my first year of college while studying engineering, I took a career aptitude test. I took the results and threw them in a drawer, finding them years later. When I found them, I was busy looking for a job, again. As I looked over the results, I just shook my head in disbelief. Why didn’t I take this seriously when I took those career-screening tests? I struggled for 5 years in college trying to find what I wanted to do and here was the answer in front of me. In a long trial and error method over the years, I wound up where those tests told me I should be. Unfortunately, I had not studied in my career choice as long as I should have.
Before attending any college or training programs, you should be prepared to do a career test to match yourself with the career choice. This is where most people fail because nobody teaches this step. You may be a person that just “loves” what you do. With today’s economy of company mergers and downsizing, you will have to also be prepared for a possible venture again with finding a job. If you are in the right career, keep an eye out for those job opportunities to be aware of what is out there. If you aren’t in the right career, then some key planning is in order. You may need to start over again! No one wants to hear this. This could be the best option depending on your situation. So many people start over before they even get out of college. If you’re not studying the right field for you, change it before you graduate and are streamlined into a career that you hate from the beginning. So many people talk about being “stuck” in their careers with that glass ceiling preventing them from going anywhere else. If you can’t go up, you might be able to take a step to the side and climb a different ladder.
You don’t have to change ladders if you start climbing the right one in the first place. I have a son that is entering high school. During the next four years, I want him to follow a simple process of evaluation and testing to determine what he wants to study and where his pursuits will be. Some of you may have had a similar experience as I did in determining a career choice to pursue when applying for colleges. Just briefly, let me share. When I was in the 11th grade, my guidance counselor sent for me and spent maybe 15 minutes discussing what would amount to one of the biggest decisions of my life. He looked at my class records, and said, “You are good in math and science, I think you might want to pursue engineering.” My future was plotted in fifteen minutes, a future of failure. Fortunately, I was stubborn enough to stick it out and find what I wanted to do.
You don’t have to go thru the trial and error method of finding a job. You can do an analysis to determine what career choice would fit you best. You have to know who you are and what your likes and dislikes are. Have you taken an inventory of yourself to know what talents you have? There are certain skills that you will have to have to work on any job and there are skills you have to have for specific jobs. You wouldn’t expect to become a biologist by studying English Literature. The same would go for becoming a supervisor if you don’t like to talk to people. Of course, you can find supervisors that have NO people skills and there are often people in jobs that they are not qualified for. What I want to express to you is for YOU to be qualified for your career choice so when you are out searching for a job, you get there on your merits and your merits alone. Trust me, it is no fun being in a job that you are struggling at because you are in over your head.
My advice, it’s simple. Take a career test and find out what you are a match for. Find out what your skills are and how your personality will affect what you decide to do. Find the career that you will be happy with and find out what will be required of you to obtain employment in that career.
Let’s see if you have been paying attention. When I was in college, I remember another saying that went around. It went like this: “A students stayed in the university and taught, C students would leave and start businesses and B student went to work for C students. Now you should know why this is so (if you were paying attention).
I’m going to make a recommendation. You may have other resources and there are some out there. You should take a look at this website: “The Career Key” http://www.careerkey.org/index.asp I haven’t seen that many sites put together as well as this. This site pulls a lot of resources together and it is very thorough as a tool to determine what is the right career for someone contemplating a career change.