Making a career decision: Parts one and two
There are three important aspects to consider when making a career decision, whether for the first time or tenth. Many times people confuse these three things and my job is to help them sort out how each of these three aspects impact their career decisions. The first aspect is your interests. Put simply, what do you like doing? What types of activities do enjoy doing on a daily basis? What things excite and energize you? The second aspect is your abilities. In other words, what are you good at doing? In what areas do you excel? Many people get these two aspects confused and intertwined.
What you enjoy and what you are good at doing are really two separate things. For example, you might really enjoy cooking – creating new dishes and using new ingredients to spice up old classic recipes. However, just because you enjoy this activity does not
make every dish a success. Many times I hear that people enjoy doing what they are good at doing. This is common, because let’s face it, doing things we are good at is often satisfying. However, when thinking about choosing or changing careers it is important to parcel out these two aspects separately. Put differently, just because you are good at analyzing market trends does not necessarily mean that you enjoy doing it.
The final piece of the career decision trifecta
Therefore, having an accurate assessment of what areas you enjoy and skills at which you excel is helpful in clarifying future career paths. The final aspect of choosing a career is values. In other words, what things are important to you? There are a myriad of values that impact career decisions. If you value flexibility, or being able to make your own schedule, this would impact your decision to take a 9 to 5 job. To consider career options without properly identifying your values could end up negatively affecting your job satisfaction. For example, if you take a 9 to 5 job out of a sense of urgency (let’s say you have been unemployed for a short time, but finances are dwindling), you have chosen the value of financial security over the value of flexibility.
In the short term, you might be satisfied with this arrangement. If your financial situation changes, however, your lack of flexibility may begin to wear on you and thus decrease your overall job satisfaction. Other examples of work values include competition (testing your abilities against others’), control (power to direct others), affiliation (a job at a certain organization), and helping society or contributing to the greater good.
(Reposted with permission from http://www.drmelissaaiello.com/blog.html.)