How to Develop a Career Plan That Will Bring You Happiness
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Are you stuck trying to figure out which career you want? Or is your main challenge that you have a hard time getting there? Whatever the case, your frustration is understandable.
You may very well know what you want to do in life. All you really need is a little help to build the path to the career of your dreams.
Now is your time to get it done and this foolproof plan is all you need:
1. Identify careers you like. By now, you may have identified many careers that interest you. It's normal to have your interest switch from one career path to another. This can happen as your life unfolds and you learn more about yourself. Start by writing a list of those that interest you right now.
· Writing them helps to cement your interest from the get-go.
· It's important that you include all careers that interest you, regardless of how others feel about them. Write about what really interests you – the work that you dream about.
2. Determine the drivers for your interest. After writing the list, it's time to shortlist! This is when you dig deep, self-reflect and determine the underlying reasons you really like the items on your list.
· Is it because you'd join the long list of family members who entered this specific career? Remember, this is an important decision and should be based on what you want to do. Put family tradition to the side for a moment.
· What about finances? Do you see yourself in a particular career because of the salary? Certainly, it would be great to earn a good paycheck from a career. But think long and hard if that is your main motivation. If so, what does a high salary look like to you? What are you imaging your life will look like with a higher salary? Many times, a high salary demands more than a 40-hour work week so definitely consider that as you are evaluating your choices.
· At the end of the day, the best career choice is one that makes you happy. The last thing you want to do is land a job that makes you miserable. Even the biggest paycheck doesn’t have the ability to make you happy long term.
3. Find multiple options for getting there. Now, it's time to get creative. How do you plan on getting hold of that dream career?
· Start researching careers.
· The traditional method is to pursue tertiary education. Find courses and degree programs that can give you the necessary training. Having the know-how to go along with the interest is a great combination. In addition, meeting others with the same interest can be helpful and expand your network.
· Look for opportunities to expand your skills through an internship or volunteer opportunity. Even if the internship pays very little you'll be getting valuable experience and be able to form contacts with professionals in your ideal career/industry. Having an internship tied in with knowledge gained at school will strengthen your expertise. Many times, companies will hire their full-time employees from their intern pool.
You're at a crucial stage in life. Making a career decision that’s right for you is critical to your happiness. So take the time to focus on each step of the equation.
You owe it to yourself to succeed! Become that success story and the kind of example other people can follow. Do something that you'll be proud of at the end of the day.