If you’re about to finish college, then the pressure is on. It’s your job to decide on a future, pick a college, and spend time and money to create that future. As a kid, you got asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Back then, you felt a lot of pressure to be something cool, like an astronaut. Now that it’s almost time to pick a career, you’re pretty sure you’re not going to be an astronaut.
In reality, the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question is confusing at best and harmful at worst. The question makes it sound like you are your job, or your job is your future. In reality, you get to be and do whatever you want–your job is just how you fund it. You don’t need to do something exciting or impressive for your job. Instead, you should choose a job you enjoy every day.
Certain careers might look shiny on the surface, but the day-to-day workload is anything but. Instead of choosing your career by job title or salary, think instead about what’s important to you. What aspect of a job could you not do without? If you choose a career based on what makes you comfortable and happy, you have a much better chance of future job satisfaction.
Which of the following could you not live without?
Some people hate the idea of an adrenaline rush at work, but you don’t. You want your job to be full of interesting days and new experiences. If you don’t want to work a job that leaves you bored, you could consider being a police officer, a volcanologist, or a paramedic. Police officers might spend some nights in their squad car, watching for speeders, but police work in a big city would never be ordinary. A volcanologist studies volcanoes, so if you want your scientific subject to suddenly rupture and endanger your life, then volcanology would be perfect for you. Paramedics arrive first and do what needs to be done after an injury. There are plenty more careers that offer excitement, like an aerospace engineer, a roller coaster designer, a stunt performer, an ER nurse, an airline pilot, or a 911 dispatcher.
Your Own Space
You may or may not enjoy excitement, but one thing you know you can’t live without is your own space. You’re introverted. You love people, but you don’t like being around them. Sales or elementary school teaching sound like a nightmare. You want a job where you can work quietly, have space to yourself, and work primarily with data, nature, machines, or art. Some of the best careers for you include farming, wildlife biology, or carpentry. As a farmer, you could spend your days out on your farm, making your own decisions about everything from agricultural metal roofing to when to harvest. As a wildlife biologist, you’d have your team near you, but you’d work primarily with wildlife or in the lab. And as a carpenter, you could run your own shop and work with wood. Other good careers for you might include a plumber, an accountant, or a web developer.
You might want excitement. You might space. Either way, those needs aren’t as important as the need to help people. You want to make people’s lives better on a regular basis. Good jobs for you include a trainer, a dietician, or a nurse. A trainer, once they get a certification such as this Cert IV in Training and Assessment in Melbourne, can help people on a one-to0one basis. A dietitian would study for four years at allied health degree programs, then work with hospitals and clinics and counsel people on their dietary needs. A nurse would work anywhere from a pediatric clinic to the ER, and they would help save lives every shift. Other good jobs for you might include a psychologist, a teacher, or a social worker.
You might want one thing, above anything else, as you look for a job: independence. Depending on your personality type, you might have a hard time with rules, supervision, or a controlling boss. Most people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses, and you hate the idea of putting up with someone else’s bad moods at work. If you want independence in your work, there are a few great career options for you. You could become a driver, a music tutor, or start your own business. As a business owner, you could do everything from run a bakery to create your own line of products, but either way, you’ll work long hours, team up with a marketing agency in Brisbane, and invest a lot in getting your business on its feet. As a driver, you wouldn’t make much money, unless you work quirky hours and live near a city. But your schedule would be entirely yours. As a music tutor, you could take your music skills and start making good money with them in your own living room.
Choosing the right career isn’t easy for anyone, but choosing a career for the wrong reasons makes it worse. You don’t have to impress anyone with your job title. You might not get a lot of attention for being a plumber, but you’ll make good money, have less college debt, and work in blissful peace and independence.
As you choose the right career, make sure you look more at day-to-day work than the sound of a job. An actor might have the fun and joy of theater, but they have the day-to-day work of teaching, working at coffee shops, or doing odd jobs on the weekend. Before you commit to a career, learn more about what it’s like on a daily basis. Determine the most important thing for you. Whether it’s excitement, independence, helping people, or having your own space–you’ll be even closer to finding the right career.