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Choosing a Career

It’s never easy to make a decision about something when you don’t have all the information that is needed, and the consequence of your decision can affect your life for better or worse! This is particularly true when it comes to career decisions. The best decisions are usually made when you are well informed of the options available and the decision just feels right. It’s relatively easy to explore the available options – this requires some research, but it is often more difficult to act on what feels right. This is because most people are not confident about acting on their feelings.
Consider any two people who find themselves in a similar situation and have to make a choice about their career. All their career research reveals that both have equal opportunities available, so reason would suggest that both should make the same decision. But they are different people, who feel differently about the world. Their decision must take into consideration their personal characteristics for the decision to feel right. Knowing what you feel and care about matters a lot when it comes to career decisions, which is why the first consideration for any advice offered is a good understanding of who you are.

Career Research
Once you have a good sense of your interests, personality, values and skills, you will find it easier to recognize career and job opportunities that would be fulfilling for you. Career research is a process of exploring the world of work with the objective of finding an area you would like to invest your future time and energy into in a way that you would find satisfying. Your research should reveal some direction and goals to aspire to.

Exploring Education Options
We start our career journey with skills and knowledge we learn during our school years. In the modern world, however, we may need to extend our learning well beyond our school education. Most occupations require very precise and detailed training, and to be able to work in most career areas you will need specialist training. There are many courses available to bring you to the next step in your journey, the difficulty is often choosing one that serves you well for the future.

Growing your Career
For most of your journey you may be employed or actively involved in some activities (volunteering, traveling, parenting / housekeeping also play an important part of many careers). During these periods you will develop new skills and valuable experience. Just because you are ‘settled’ into whatever role you choose doesn't, however, mean you will remain satisfied indefinitely. There are many ways to maximize your development and growth so as to improve your satisfaction levels for the future.

Changing your Career
If you are considering changing your career the first thing to consider is that you are almost certainly better off planning your career change while still employed - you at least have the financial stability that will give you time to nurture your plan.
Secondly, you need to appreciate your situation - is this need/desire for change based on a 'knowing in your heart' what you want, or a 'yearning in your heart' to find something more satisfying. In the first instance you might be considered fortunate - you know where you are going and your task is to find the route. In the second instance, your task is to explore the route in the hope that it might lead to a satisfying destination.

Looking for Work
At various times during your career journey you will probably need to look for employment. This can be a stressful time and your patience may well be challenged. Understanding the process and knowing where to look can make life that bit easier.

Work / Life Balance
There may be times when the amount of time and energy used in your work as compared to the rest of your life is causing more stress than you are happy about. This can happen both ways – too much or too little work – either can cause stress for many people. Sometimes it helps to get a different perspective on life and re-arrange your life in accordance to what is important to you.

Being prepared and equipped for your career journey is essential. No one knows what the future will bring, or what opportunities will be created as technology further impacts on our world. We don’t know how we ourselves will grow and change, or what will interest us in 5 or 10 years’ time. Fortunately, career development specialists in Canada have highlighted five principles they regard as essential to survival in the modern world of work.
  • Change is Constant
  • Learning is Lifelong
  • Focus on the Journey
  • Access your Allies
  • Follow your Heart.
These five principles keep us focused on the reality of the world of work alongside our own personal development

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