There is no roadmap to career success that has guarantees of smooth sailing. While many approve of their career paths, others regrettably retrace their steps to find out what went wrong in their career journey. And thus to avoid any career disappointments, we should ask ourselves, how do we determine if a career path is right for us?
#1 The Path Should be Driven by Passion and Integrity
Many careerists make the mistake of solely focusing on salaries instead of their passion and integrity when choosing a career path. Back in high school before we chose our higher education career paths, our teachers insisted on engineering and business courses since these skills were typically paying well and were in high demand back in the day. Unfortunately, many students fell for this and as we speak, the Kenyan market is currently flooded by such graduates. Surprisingly enough, the skills we dismissed and underestimated such as foreign languages, hospitality, child psychology and physical education are currently in high demand and are paying much better. This goes to show that instant gratification at the expense of passion and integrity can derail us from what we ought to pursue and thus blind us from choosing the career path that's right for us.
#2 The Path Should be Inclined to Life Goals
Besides having career ambitions, we also have personal ambitions regarding where we are headed to in life. Every life phase comes with its own demands like moving out, getting married, raising kids or owning that house in our dream location. Whatever the case may be, the career path we choose shouldn't be a deterrent to life progress. At times, a career path detrimental to our life ambitions may call for personal sacrifices to be made. In that case, if the career path will significantly tap into our potential, then the sacrifice might prove to be quite worthy and beneficial in the long run.
#3 The Path Should tap Into Underemployed Skills
Many careerists make the mistake of choosing a path that reserves them in the comfort zone of familiar skills. This in effect weakens their underemployed skills to a point that with time, they tend to forget and shelve them in the archives of foregone career ambitions. Consequently, such careerists get bypassed by company promotions because they're found to be incompetent as a result of skills that they initially underestimated.
#4 The Path Should Significantly Boost Your Credentials
It makes no sense to choose a career path that will stagnate you in the same position every time you change jobs. This is very common actually since many people change jobs solely for better pay. As legitimate as such a justification may sound, a careerist should also look at the long-run repercussions of maintaining such a stagnant career path. For instance, such a careerist may focus so much on his/her pay that he forgets the main essence of a meaningful career path which is progress. Hard questions should be seriously considered. For instance, besides better pay, will new skills be gained? Will you be positioned for better opportunities? And last but not least, will long run career ambitions be realised?
#5 The Path Should be Clear and Concise
Many careerists toss back and forth in their career paths because they're not sure of what they aim to achieve in the long run. A career path should be like the path on a map. There should be a set direction, time frame and the steps that one has to take to be propelled from one career destination to the other. This helps a careerist stick to the right path and avoid making wrong career decisions whose face value may look irresistible on first impression but in the end may have long term career consequences.
#6 The Path Should be in Tune With Your Lifestyle
As I said earlier, one's life phase is a key factor in choosing a career path. However, it should also be noted that the current life phase of a careerist plays a key factor in shaping one's career path. For instance, if a careerists is a mother, then risky night duty jobs should be least considered. In addition, the career path should promote a healthy, affordable and progressive lifestyle. For instance, if the an expensive career is likely to make you end up with outstanding debts, the it's time to make a detour in your career path.
#7 The Path Should be Morally Acceptable and Realistically Applicable
Many careerists find themselves betraying their principles and ideals when choosing a career path that disturbs their conscience. This ends up generating feelings of guilt and uncertainty as one is forced to do tasks that are personally disturbing and unacceptable. We all know of careers that are not worth mentioning but are morally degrading and most likely contravene human rights. This also brings in the concept of reality. If you know the inevitable repercussions of a particular career path and you're quite sure that you can't pull it off, then you should steer off that path and change direction promptly. In a world where lies and deceit thrive, you might end up dead or in many cases, a victim of modern day slavery. That's why it's essential to be safe, morally integral and realistic in order to choose a career path wisely.
Brian Tracy once said that if you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, then you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development. This goes to show that there has to be a balance between one's career path and the worthwhile impact that a careerist would want to make in the long-run. Solely focusing on your career path alone isn't enough. It's thus wise to give back to society through mentorship, innovation and worthy causes to leave a legacy on your path to career success.