Choosing a career that you’ll love and keep for life can be one of life’s greatest struggles – especially when you’re confused about the endless options available to you.
After all, how can you be sure you’re choosing the RIGHT one? And how come it’s seemingly easier for some people but, for you, feels like a challenge no one else has ever faced?
But there’s no need to panic – because you’ve come to the right place!
We know that choosing a career can be an overwhelming and stressful process, and that’s why we want to help you identify your ideal career so you can embark on your path to success with ease and confidence.
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NEGATIVE effects of choosing the wrong career
Whether a result of peer pressure, parental involvement or lack of self-awareness, pursuing a career that you derive absolutely no satisfaction from or have zero interest in can be harmful in many more ways than you might think.
And sometimes it can be difficult to recognise a career misstep – DENIAL, for one, often comes into play – but it’s important to be aware of how a bad career choice can affect you so that you’re able to recognise the signs and act accordingly.
Problem 1: It leads to health issues
The work we do plays an important role in our overall health.
Think about it: if you like your job, you feel satisfied and happy; if you hate your job, you feel constantly discouraged and miserable. And with time, this can lead to burnout, which has all sorts of major negative health consequences.
In fact, research shows that those dissatisfied with their work experienced higher levels of depression, sleep problems and anxiety. Even your physical health takes a hit, as you’re more likely to suffer from back pain and more frequent colds.
Problem 2: It impacts your overall happiness
Choosing a career that doesn’t align well with your interests, values, strengths and overall sense of purpose – no matter how well it pays or how awesome your coworkers are – often means that you don’t find satisfaction in your day-to-day work activities.
This, in turn, not only affects your workplace happiness but also your personal happiness. And before you know it, you’re a metaphorical zombie navigating your way through life and work.
Problem 3: It’s expensive
A wrong career choice comes with a hefty price tag.
In fact, considering that the average four-year bachelor’s degree costs about $45,833 a year in the US, you’re looking at a loss of a staggering $183,332. Add to that books, accommodation and living expenses (like food and public transport), then this amount jumps up to $62,028 a year (or a total bill of $248,112 over the four-year study period!).
Changing careers, meanwhile, can be even more expensive, particularly if you choose to transition to a career that requires you going back to university. And then once you successfully change careers, you’ll generally need to start from the bottom again, which might mean a sizable reduction in earnings.
Problem 4: It’s time you won’t get back
It’s not just your finances that take a hit when you choose the wrong career. It’s also the time you spend pursuing it – time that you simply won’t get back (unless you decide to become a physicist and one day invent a time machine!).
Most people who change careers generally do so in their 40s – meaning that they spend most of their working lives resentfully doing a job they don’t like. Of course, some people don’t even realise they’re in the wrong career until later in life and actually find enjoyment, satisfaction and success in their previous job or industry.
But when you also consider the four (or more) years you invested into formal training for a career that you regret ever pursuing, you’ll realise that it’s time down the drain that could’ve been better spent elsewhere.
Problem 5: Your work performance will take a hit
You’ve achieved success in your field when you don’t know whether what you’re doing is work or play.
When you don’t enjoy your work, your productivity and efficiency will likely falter. As a result, your work performance will suffer – and this could lead to all sorts of complications, like strained workplace relationships (particularly with disgruntled coworkers who have to pick up the slack) and poor performance appraisals.
At the end of the day, your overall work performance speaks volumes about you. It’s one of the main metrics that employers measure to determine your success in the company – and whether to keep you on board.
What’s the secret to avoiding these problems?
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Self-awareness: 4 components of a great career choice
When choosing a career, you’ll of course want to negate the risks of a wrong career choice as much as possible.
And this begins by – really – getting to know yourself.
Only then will you be able to not only choose a career that is right for you but also one that you’ll still enjoy 20 years down the line.
Self-awareness and gaining clarity of who you are is, therefore, a prerequisite to good career decisions, which should be based on the following four key factors:
- Your interests
- Your personality
- Your motivations
- Your skills and abilities
Let’s take a closer look at each one…
1. Identify your interests
While watching Grey’s Anatomy might inspire you to follow in the footsteps of the fictional Dr Meredith Grey, and you might be attracted by the pretty handsome salary that real-life surgeons earn, you need to be realistic and think about where your interests truly lie.
Indeed, while it might seem exciting, it may not necessarily be something that you’re totally interested in.
As such, your interests – essentially, the kind of job tasks and activities you enjoy – are the first thing you need to look at when identifying possible career paths. Think about your hobbies (what do you get up to in your spare time?), your ideal environment (do you prefer spending time indoors or outdoors?) and your general work preferences (do you enjoy working with people, animals, computers or tools?).
2. Explore your personality
Your personality is defined by the way you think, how you feel, the decisions you make and the actions you take. It’s what makes you, well, you.
Are you a leader or a follower? A thinker or a doer? A team player or a lone wolf?
Understanding your specific personality type can help you figure out which careers you’re a good fit for, while it’s a great predictor of the success you’ll have in your chosen career.
Indeed, some personalities are perfectly suited for certain careers, while others simply are not.
Consider PR managers. An extrovert, for example, would make a great PR manager, whose job description mainly involves helping their clients communicate effectively with the public and media. But it might not be the best fit for you if you’re quite the introvert and generally find yourself hiding in a corner at parties and avoiding social situations.
3. Understand your motivations
Think about what drives and inspires you to do a job.
Do you value job security over social status? Is money a deciding factor when choosing a career? Are you attracted by opportunities that afford you with freedom of innovation? Or are you motivated by power and influence?
Understanding your motivations – what you look for in a job and why – and choosing a career based on your motives and values could mean looking forward to going to work each day rather than forcing yourself to do a job because you feel you have to.
4. Consider your skills
The next thing you need to look at is your particular SKILLSET – essentially, what you’re good at.
While you may dream of becoming a professional singer and enjoy belting out your favourite songs in the shower or in the car, you won’t really go far if you don’t have a good singing voice. Of course, it’s never too late to learn to sing – but it can take up to three years (or more) to learn the finer points of singing.
Still, it’s important to be realistic and be aware of where your natural talents truly lie.
If you’re mathematically inclined, for example, a career in accounting, engineering or computer science might be a good fit for you. Or if you’re great at deciphering written information, you could become an editor, translator or lawyer.
The solution: This is why we spent years carefully developing CareerHunter, which meticulously analyses those four components for you:
The ultimate solution to finding the right career
When the time comes to choosing a career, you need to take stock of all the factors we explored above – collectively. This, however, can be time-consuming, which is where CareerHunter, an all-in-one career testing platform, comes in: to help you gain insights on your potential future career choices.
Full access costs only $23.99 $29.99
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Key benefits and features of CareerHunter
- Get accurate career matches: Discover careers that fully suit and interest you by letting CareerHunter’s unique algorithm do all the work and match you to popular and emerging careers.
- Reveal your strengths and weaknesses: Learn about your true talents, abilities and weaknesses, and see how they can affect your career choice.
- Uncover your work personality: Understand your psychological makeup and how your personality traits affect your performance in order to find the most suitable work environment.
- Understand what truly motivates you: See what fuels your determination to succeed and what values make you happy to work, whether it’s job security, monetary rewards or status.
- Get reliable and precise test results: CareerHunter was built by a team of psychologists and career experts, so you can have absolute confidence in your results and matches.
- Access detailed data on 250+ careers: Explore your career matches to see vital information on salary prospects, entry requirements, job duties, outlook, career advancement potential, and more.
- Save time and money: By revealing your ideal career path, you will avoid costly tuition fees in pursuing the wrong education and save valuable years lost in the wrong profession.
- Download a personalised report: Once you complete all our tests, we’ll compile your results and career matches into your own personalised report for instant download!
There’s no doubt that choosing a career can be a stressful and overwhelming process. But this can be simplified by analysing your skills and abilities, identifying your interests and passions, understanding your motivations and values, and assessing your personality traits and behavioural preferences.
Armed with this information, you’ll be able to easier match your talents and potential to a career that is right for YOU. And CareerHunter will help you do just that.
Find Your Perfect Career
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