There are all sorts of different ways to make decisions and different things effect the process – in this blog I talk about career decision making.
Take the very simple example of making dinner – how do you decide what to make? In an ideal world, with no limitations, I guess you could just decide based on what you fancy eating. It’s not normally how it goes though. Normally there will be influencing factors – what ingredients have you got? how much can you afford to spend? Are you on a special diet? What cooking facilities have you got? How much time do you have?
Pretty much the same sort of thing is likely to happen when you are trying to make a decision about what educational pathway and career to chase after. (just different factors).
We all tend to have a different approach to decision making generally; some of us are impulsive, some of us agonise over every detail.
Things that are good to include in your career decision making
What you are good at and enjoy doing
Happiness and job satisfaction are important and go together. Work is a huge part of our life and nobody wants to dread getting up to go to work and head home miserable at the end of the day. If you get to know yourself, what you like and what matters to you (your values) and you research both jobs and employers that allow for this then the chances are you are going to be happier, more productive, healthier and ultimately more successful in what you do.
The labour market (what jobs are out there and where they are)
When making career decisions, it really isn’t as simple as just thinking ‘oh yeah, I want to do that’ – not if you want to actually get a job and earn money anyway. This relies on there actually being a job that you can apply for. This means understanding the labour market and how industry and technology are changing the way that we work and the work that we do.
The skills and qualifications that you have and those that you could do with
It makes sense to ask yourself – what can I do? What skills and qualifications do I have that employers are asking for? Be careful not to become fatalistic though; if you really want a particular career which requires a skills or a qualification that you don’t have, then don’t give up and rule it out – ask yourself ‘how do I go about getting that skill or qualification?’
Things that you should try to avoid when career decision making
What other people will think of your choice
If you’re male and you want to be a midwife; if your female and you want to be a plumber – it really doesn’t matter what other people think about that…really…Be brave; if you really worry that an employer won’t consider you for the job because they have a fixed idea of who ‘should’ do that job, then challenge those perceptions!
What other people chose to do
First of all, if you simply follow in the footsteps of someone else, you may be miserable (and remember what I said about considering what makes you happy). Secondly, the careers landscape is constantly changing – this is why it’s important to get to know the labour market – what someone went into 20 or 30 years ago may not be a viable career option now or in the near future.