How to choose the right career for you

How to Choose the Right Career for you

A staggering 60% of people feel they are stuck in a job that they do not like and wish that they could find an alternative career.

What is surprising is that we spend a staggering 30% our lives at work. Why, therefore, do so many of us stay in a job that we do not enjoy?

There is nothing worse than being a job you dislike, and having personally been in that situation myself, I can only urge those people who do feel they are in a ‘dead end’ job to take positive steps to find the right career for themselves. Of course, it isn’t easy finding a job you enjoy, but if you carry on doing the same job you dislike day-in, day-out you will never empower yourself to make the all-important change.

Before we explore how you can choose the right career for yourself, let’s first of all take a look at some of the main reasons why many of us stay in the same job for years.

Job security
This is a big thing for many people and it is easy to understand why. If your job is secure and you are almost guaranteed to never be made redundant, you are highly unlikely to leave it, regardless of whether you enjoy the job or not. However, the job market has changed dramatically over the last few years. We are now hearing of soldiers, firefighters and immigration officers being made redundant. In a nutshell, no job is safe any longer. Yes, there are some jobs/careers which are relatively safe at the moment, especially those that involve customer-care, travel and transportation; however, there will come a time when even these jobs are not as safe as they currently are. The point I am making here is that job security is very important, but do not use it as an excuse to stay in a job you dislike.

Loyalty
Many people stay in their current job because they feel a sense of loyalty to either their boss or the company who employs them. My advice to these people would be that their boss would not think twice about making them redundant if he or she was forced to! Always think about yourself. Although this sounds selfish it is you who has to go to work every day. If you do not enjoy it, take positive steps to find alternative employment in a role that you will enjoy.

Expectations
Whether it is expectations from our loved ones or expectations from work colleagues, you would be surprised at how many of us stay in a job we dislike because ‘that’s what we’re expected to do’. Allow me to give you an example. For 17 years I worked as a firefighter with Kent Fire and Rescue Service but after 10 years I seriously started to dislike my job. Yes, the role of a firefighter can be very exciting and rewarding, but when you take the managerial route in the Fire Service like I did, it can be very frustrating and boring. I left the Fire Service in 2009 but I probably should have left 4 years earlier. I stayed in the job because nobody ever left the Fire Service unless they retired. In essence, that’s what was expected of you – you stayed in the job for 30 years and got on with it, regardless of whether you liked it or not. All I can say is this: when I finally took the brave step and left the Fire Service my life improved tenfold.

Knowing what I know now, I would never stay in a job that I did not like for a minute longer than I had to. You have the freedom and the power to do whatever you want in your life; so take control of it right now!

Of course, leaving a job can be a daunting experience and I would never encourage anyone to leave a job unless they had a better alternative to go to; however, you can start to take positive steps to finding a new career, that you will enjoy, whilst you are in your current job. Here’s a step-by-step process for finding a new job that you are guaranteed to enjoy:

STEP 1 – What do you like doing?
Before you think about the type of career you will like, you first of all need to think about the type of person you are. Answer the following questions honestly:

Q1. Do I like working with people?
Q2. Do I like being around people on a daily basis?
Q3. Would I be happy working on my own for weeks on end?
Q4. Do I need to be busy at work?
Q5. Do I like solving people’s problems?
Q6. Do I like working outdoors?
Q7. How would I feel about sitting at a desk for 7 hours a day?
Q8. Do I enjoy answering the telephone?
Q9. Do I enjoy a pressurised environment?
Q10. Do I enjoy selling to people?
Q11. Do I want responsibility?
Q12. Do I want to manage people?
Q13. Would I be happy working shift work?
Q14. Would I like to wear a uniform?
Q15. Is status important to me?
Q16. Do I want to work flexible hours?

STEP 2 – Analyse your answers
Once you have answered the above questions honestly you will then be able to find out what type of environment you wish to work in. For example, if you answered ‘NO’ to question 1 you are most likely going to be suited to working in a quiet office environment which is unsupervised and one where you are not mixing with other people. If you answered ‘NO’ to question 1, ‘YES’ to question 3 and ‘YES’ to question 6, then you may find that you are suited to working in an unsupervised outside role such as a self-employed Gardner or painter and decorator.

Here’s a brief explanation of the types of jobs suited to each question:

Q1. Do I like working with people?
If you like working with people you will be most suited the following types of roles:

• Office work
• Team roles
• Working in retail or supermarkets
• Customer care centres
• Sales centres
• Public sector worker
• Media and broadcasting

Q2. Do I like being around people on a daily basis?
As above.

Q3. Would I be happy working on my own for weeks on end?
If you enjoy working on your own then the following are examples of jobs that may be suited to you:

• Gardner
• Mechanic
• Painter and decorator
• Computer repair specialist
• Nanny/child-minder
• Photographer

Q4. Do I need to be busy at work?
If you enjoy being busy then the following jobs may be suited to you:

• Sales centres
• Call centres
• Police officer
• Jobs in IT
• Investment banker
• Jobs in retail
• Human resources and employment
• Education
• Engineering

Q5. Do I like solving people’s problems?
If you like solving people’s problems then the following jobs may be suited to you:

• Health care
• Nursing
• Hospitality
• Customer care

Q6. Do I like working outdoors?
The following careers are examples of working outdoors:

• Construction
• Engineering
• Gardner
• Painter and decorator
• Builder
• Carpenter
• Leisure, sport and tourism
• Mining and land surveying

Q7. How would I feel about sitting at a desk for 7 hours a day?

• Office work
• Call centres
• Information technology

Q8. Do I enjoy answering the telephone?

• Customer care/contact centres
• Call centres
• Receptionist
• Personal assistant

Q9. Do I enjoy a pressurised environment?
If you enjoy the challenge of working in a pressurised environment then the following roles may be suitable for you:

• Firefighter
• Police officer
• Entrepreneur
• Sales manager
• Retail

Q10. Do I enjoy selling to people?

• Retail
• Sales manager

By answering these questions and analysing your answers you will be able to start to get a feel for the type of job you will be most suited to. Whatever your answers, I would advise you do not rule out the self-employed route. Being a business owner and entrepreneur is a route many of us do not choose, simply because we don’t have the self-belief. When I left the Fire Service I chose to become an internet entrepreneur and publisher. That is a massive change of career direction, but one that I am very pleased I took. Have an open mind and take the time to choose your career carefully.

Richard McMunn