how to choose a careerWhen we are children, our parents ask us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

When you’re a child, the answer is simple—doctor, lawyer, astronaut, teacher, movie star. When you become an adult, that simple question can often be quite complicated. Here are 5 questions that should help you find the answer to that one complicated question.

1. Should your career be something you enjoy?

Ideally you should choose something you enjoy. You’re going to be spending a great portion of your time each day working in an occupation that utilizes your career choice. Why choose a career that doesn’t interest you or makes you unhappy? Job satisfaction is directly related to whether or not you enjoy working at the career you choose.

2. Should your career make you rich?

Choosing a career that pays well won’t necessarily lead to job satisfaction. The amount of money you make can never offset the pleasure you attain working in a career that you enjoy. However, you should always consider potential earnings as it applies to the cost of the education required to prepare you for that desired career. If you borrow money to finance that education and can’t secure employment to pay back your debt, it might not be the best career option.

3. Should you get advice from someone else about your career choice?

It doesn’t hurt to talk to career counselors, take personality tests and consult some experts in the field of the career you are interested in pursuing. But ultimately you will have to make the decision yourself. You are the only one that knows what interest you, what drives you and what you are passionate about. Parents dream of their kids being doctors and lawyers but not everyone is suited for those professions. Many adults have made bad career choices based on someone else’s dreams for them.

4. Is an occupation the same as a career?

When you choose a career path, there are often many occupations related to that career. For instance, if you choose law for your career, there are many different types of occupations where you might use that law degree: criminal law, corporate law, or even politics. Each career path has various occupation paths you can pursue. When choosing a career, research the various occupations related to that career and ask yourself if you can see yourself working in that occupation.

5. How do you know which career fits you best?

The simplest question to ask yourself when choosing a career path is, “What do I enjoy doing?” A hobby could turn into a career. If you like to write, you could work as a writer in any number of occupations. If you don’t enjoy math or science, you should not choose a medical career. The key to choosing the right career path is knowing what interests you and knowing what careers your personality is best suited for. Talk with people who are working in various careers and ask them why they chose them and what they enjoy most about their jobs.

How did you choose your career? Are you happy with your choice? What would you change about it if you had the opportunity? Tell us in the comments below!

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