It’s a scary thought to have to make such big career decisions so early in life. Think about it, the decisions you make from ages 15-18 can affect the rest of your entire life. So often I hear many of my students say, “what if I make the wrong decision?”
Here are a few things that students can do to help ensure the decision they make is the right one. Ask yourself:
1. What are your goals? For example, is making lots of money your goal? If so, something like social work may not be the occupation for you. Don’t get me wrong, social work is a great job with many intrinsic rewards, but it is a profession that usually does not pay very well. By figuring out what you want (money, flexible hours, being your own boss, etc.) you can to begin heading in the right direction.
2. What are you good at doing? That is, what are your natural talents? For example, I love talking with people. I can start a conversation with just about anyone. However, if you were to put me in a cubicle in front of a computer all day, I think I would have a breakdown. So, it seems, the office life is not for me.
Here’s another example about my skill set. I can’t draw–at all. So I hate to say it, but a career as an artist is probably not for me.
3. What do you like to do? Think about the things you like to do. I know, I know, it sounds silly. But if you think about it, shouldn’t your career be something you like doing? It sounds so simple, but so many people are unhappy with their jobs. Make a list of all of the things you like to do and cross reference it with the things that you are good at doing. Where you find the overlap is where you should begin your search.
Of course if you’re really not sure, you could always take an interest inventory to get started. There are dozens of online interest inventories. One inventory I have suggested before is the O*net interest inventory at https://www.onetonline.org/
Take your time & be honest with yourself. Only you really know the answers to the questions about your future. Good luck!