Career Planning and Me

Career planning is exactly what it sounds like: planning a career that makes the most of your interests and goals, suits your temperament, and maximizes your education. Traditionally done once at the beginning of adulthood, today this is a process that has become a lifelong endeavor as those in the workforce must keep up with the constant changes of the economy and the demands of our society.

It begins with assessing your current situation, not just financially or at work, but your personal state of mind as well. Do you enjoy organizing things or working within a certain time period and leaving it there when you go home? Are you better at leading people or working alone? Do you prefer to be outside or inside? Do you have political, religious, or moral beliefs that compel you to get involved in a certain field? Anything, absolutely anything that truly inspires you can be made into a career. But first you have to identify what it is that inspires you and why. Next, take a look around. Is there a name for the job that you want to do or are you a pioneer in the field? Is there a company who is hiring or do you need to create your own? Research what is available, what is lacking, and what is related to what you want to do. Now take your research a step further. Try out an internship or a volunteer position, read books about those who have succeeded in your field, ask to shadow someone who does the job you're aspiring for. Find out what others had to do to get to where you want to be: other jobs, experience, education. And then decide if it's something that still interests you.

It's best to follow these steps for more than one possible career choice, but not more than a few. Unless all of them bombs, you may very well find something that you'd like to try. Enroll in courses if need be or get your resume, interview outfit, and list of companies ready and start applying for entry level positions. Or both. And remember, nothing is ever set in stone. If this doesn't work out after a few months or you decide you no longer like the career you've chosen a year later – or 20 years later – you can always go back to the drawing board and start again.

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