Choosing a career direction that will inspire you
by Sally O'Keeffe
What do I like best about myself?
What do others say are the best bits about me?
What frustrates me about myself?
What inspires me and makes me feel a sense of purpose?
It is a fact that we will spend most of our lives working at one thing or another. As we all want to live fulfilling and happy lives, the work we choose to pursue is very important.
It is estimated that many people will change their occupations up to five times over the course of their career. In most cases, the reason for this could quite simply be that as people mature, their priorities change. However, it may also be that they chose their initial career without giving it much thought and realised soon after that their chosen career didn't satisfy them at all.
Making a smart career decision isn't that hard. It simply involves taking the time to get to know yourself and what you enjoy doing. Start to develop a Strategic Career Management Plan by asking yourself the following questions:
1. Who am I?
2. What do I like to do?
What are my favourite activities? Why?
What don't I enjoy? Why?
NB. Be specific when answering these two questions. For example, 'I enjoy listening to others', or 'I enjoy designing an item', or 'I love making things'.
These questions will guide you into identifying what your natural strengths are and how you can integrate the things you enjoy doing into a career of your choice.
After identifying the things you are good at and enjoy doing the next step is to investigate occupations and fields of work that interest you. A useful resource includes The Job Guide, published by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs and available at Centrelink. It is packed with information about all sorts of jobs available in Australia.
Look at the requirements of your targeted jobs and see if they match up with your favourite activities. It is important to determine what type of training is needed and whether it is realistic for you to undertake study at the required level.
To help you make a final choice, ask yourself what you would like your working day to entail. Do you want variety? Do you like working to deadlines? Do you want to be your own boss and make decisions? Are you happiest in an office where there is routine and order? Do you want to have contact with a lot of people, or would you rather work alone? A great way to discover exactly what goes on in a particular workplace is to organise work experience. Approach a company and inquire if you can shadow someone for a few days to see what their job is really like.
Finally, talk to other people about their work. What do they love about what they do? How did they go about securing their dream job? Being passionate about your career is the sure fire way to succeed and asking others for advice can help you work out what you are passionate about. Also, be prepared to be flexible as change is an inevitable part of creating a fabulous career. A career is a body of work, not just a job, and it implies progression. You will find yourself changing direction at different times in your life and that is ok. In fact, it is what will keep you focused and happy, because change is ensures that you are continually developing.
Sally O'Keeffe is the director of CareerGirl, a service that helps females secure their dream job.
Check out Sally's website: www.careergirl.com.au
Phone: (02) 9238 7666
Address: Level 67 MLC Centre, Martin Place, Sydney 2000