Surely there are few things more daunting than being asked to decide what you want to do with your future? How do you know what you want to do for the rest of your life? Sometimes it can be hard to think much further than the deadline for your next piece of coursework, or even getting to the end of the week. So how are you expected to not only make such a monumental choice, but also make sure it is the right one?
Fortunately, there is plenty of useful advice out there (and perhaps some not-so-useful) from teachers, careers advisors, parents, and of course online – such as right here. However, while this may give you information to help you decide, you still need to make the final choice. Chances are, your parents will have a strong say in what you are doing next, as will your circumstances, grades, and any amount of other things, meaning that your choice could be different from that of even some of your closest friends. And, unless you want to end up working in the same place with the same profession and job title, you will probably need to differ at some point.
Taking the specific factors, like grades, out of the equation, your choice will most-likely boil down to two things: what you like, and how much money you want to earn. OK, so you want to do something you love for loads of money – who wouldn’t? It is, of course, entirely possible, but how likely is it that you will end up running a top fashion house, playing premiership football, or having a world-famous Hollywood acting career?
Statistically-speaking, they may not be that high, so while you are working on those dreams, what will you do with yourself in the meantime? Everyone needs a back-up plan, right?
Unless you are truly serious about your dream of being an astronaut, you will probably opt for something a little more (if you’ll excuse the pun), down to earth. Fortunately, you will usually start to look for work or further education in an area that you already enjoy or are good at. If you couldn’t add up figures to save your life, you will probably not want to get into accountancy in the first place, let alone get the chance to find out it isn’t exactly your strong point.
Following your heart is a good place to start, so perhaps take some paper and just write down all the jobs that you would like to do (yes, even ‘astronaut’ or ‘movie star’). Once you have your list, you might want to cross a few of them off – let’s face it, you will know which ones may not be reasonable. If you can’t kick a ball, your premiership football dreams may not be realistic. It is not just down to ability either, as you will also need to think about what is available to you employment-wise where you live, or if you will need, or want, to move.
There are those people who make their choices based on how much money they can earn, content in the thought that if they are paid enough they can put up with most jobs. Others, however, will prefer to follow their hearts, even if it doesn’t exactly help their bank-balance.
You ideally want to strike a balance between the two approaches and find work that pays you enough, while also being something that you can at least handle doing, if not actually enjoy. This may be down to the culture of the company you work at, as well as what you are actually doing.
So, let your dreams take you to a career that you want; somewhere where you will be happy, if possible. It won’t just be good for you, but it will be good for your employer – as every employer likes a happy, and therefore, productive workforce. Plus if you like what you do, your chances to shine and get promoted go up too.