How To Choose The Right Career

Profile photo of Harleena Singh - | 57 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Work & Career

Man happy after choosing a career as photographer

Choosing a career isn’t easy for some people, especially with so many career options available nowadays.

You may want to do so many things but eventually find that it’s not possible to zero-in and choose the right career for yourself.

Or, sometimes even when you just don’t want to do anything – you’re forced to choose a career because you need to earn a living.

What a dilemma career can cause for some; but what about you?

Did you really make a choice of your present career or did it just happen after many trials and tribulations?

Well, talking about myself, I belong to the latter category as blogging and writing isn’t what I had really planned for in life.

However, I feel good about what I’m doing now, and grateful that I’ve finally found a career that I love.

But not everybody gets as lucky I’ve been, and it’s wise to plan your career in time. So, let’s know more about what a career is and how to choose the right career options for yourself.

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.” ~ Maya Angelou

What is a Career

A career is a profession or occupation that you’re trained for. It is also the option that you choose to follow in order to earn a living and live the life you want.

Career has inherent prospects for progress, both in terms of money and recognition.

Usually you start at the bottom of a job hierarchy pyramid and work your way through – to rise to the top in your career or professional life.

Generally, when you say you want to make a career, you mean that you want to excel in that particular field and secure your future by rising to high positions. And of course, earn enough money too!

I agree with how Wikipedia defines career – “Career describes an individuals’ journey through learning, work and other aspects of life.”

Not so long ago, the primary motive to choose a career was only to find paid employment.

However, career is now defined as a continuous life long process of learning and development to gain more experience, and live a life of satisfaction with whatever you do.

A career includes all the aspects of your work and life that help you find and live your purpose of life.

“Analyzing what you haven’t got as well as what you have is a necessary ingredient of a career.” ~ Orison Swett Marden

The Right Career Options for You

Your career is based on your life’s learning through knowledge and experience.

I chose the career option of being a freelance writer and a blogger, and I want to keep learning and becoming better in what I do.

Career is more than just a job. In fact, it’s all about you and your choices, dreams, desires, ambitions, abilities, interests, and the efforts you make to fulfill them.

You need to choose a career option that enables you to realize your full potential in doing something that you love.

You must feel that it is made for you and you’re made for it – a right career option is the true love of your life.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ~ Confucius

Career meter shows career options

Things to Consider While Making Career Choices

I opted for a career and became a teacher earlier in my life. In fact, I just chose from the options I had that time and didn’t make any deliberate effort.

I didn’t know if I really wanted to be a teacher. As a result, I had to change my career later in life and become a freelance writer and a blogger, after I made efforts to understand myself.

More so, I had a personal condition that I wanted to spend quality family time with my kids, who needed me more in their growing years. And family always comes first for me.

Though it turned to be a good move for me, but those who wish to work in a corporate world, seek better jobs and reach high positions – need to do much more.

They need to be careful to make the right career choices right from the beginning, and work smart to reach their goals.

Here’s what you need to do for choosing a career that you’ll love and keep for life:

1. Know and Assess Yourself

Your career is all about yourself. Making the right career choice depends on the kind of personality you have.

Your personality is the sum total of your attitudes, beliefs, likes, dislikes, and the characteristic patterns of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

You need to choose a career that is in accordance to your personality.

For example, if you like to help people and believe in the cause of serving others, you may like to enter the service industry, opt for medical related jobs, or become a blogger!

You can even take a career or personality test to help you determine who you are and what kind of lifestyle you like.

Exploring and knowing yourself helps you cut down on the career options, which leaves you with a handful of choices.

2. Be Practical

May be you harbor certain dreams and desires, and develop certain ambitions in life. However, you need to do a reality check.

You need to gauge your abilities and capabilities, and discover the skills and talents that you have.

Of course, you can develop and learn skills at any stage in your life, but you need to choose a career based on your present set of skills.

You may take an aptitude test to ascertain if you’ve scientific, aesthetic, commercial, or any other inherent abilities or bent of mind.

Practically evaluate the career you choose, and see if it falls in line with your values and if you think the career will bring you happiness in life.

If you foresee certain financial limitations, constraints based on geographical locations, family liabilities, educational qualifications, or physical disabilities; then it would be wise to refrain from choosing that career.

Don’t choose a career just because you see others have chosen it or if somebody tells you to do so. Find out your strong points and best qualities, and make a career choice based on that.

3. Find the Career Options

It’s your life, your career – so it’s you who needs to do the hard work and decide the right career for yourself.

Once you know who and what you are, it becomes easy to find which career suits you better.

You can read career books, browse career related websites, and get to know about what people do in the job and profession of each career that interests you.

Don’t forget to look up the employment news papers, job websites, and survey your surrounding area to find out which career choices deliver what you want.

You must know and like the job description and way of life that the career offers, and the levels that you can rise to. Assess if the work style matches your lifestyle concept.

It will help you further if you meet and talk to job professionals or people who’ve already adopted the career you want to choose.

They’ll be able to guide you better, and you’ll get answers to many of your queries from them.

4. Listen to Your Heart

Most people realize that it’s not money but happiness that makes you love your career in the long run.

When it’s the matter of love and happiness, nothing else knows better than your heart. After using your brain and its logic or reasoning power, pay attention to your intuitions and feelings of your heart.

How can you ignore your heart while choosing a career, which is like selecting your love of life?

Choose a career that you can live. You can make that out when you find that your heart and mind are always absorbed with your career, and you’ve no problems with it.

The right career options for you are the ones that you can enjoy. Ask yourself if you like the job or work related to your career?

Is it something that you longed to do in your life? If you feel you’re making a career out of your hobby, then nothing like it.

If you find that you’re good at what you do, you’re comfortable with it, enjoy  doing it, and there’s scope in all aspects – then you’ve found the right career.

“If you don’t wake up in the morning excited to pick up where you left your work yesterday, you haven’t found your calling yet.” ~ Mike Wallace

Now you know that choosing a career isn’t hard but you need to know the way to go about doing that.

If you’ve further doubts, you can always consult your college guide, a career counselor, or a life coach.

But don’t get disheartened if you couldn’t make the right career choice because there might be something better waiting for you ahead.

Sometimes opportunities in life knock at your door when least expected, so be aware – and that’s when you can switch to the career of your choice, like I did.

It’ll help you if you set your goals, write a career action plan, and train yourself for the career that you want.

Remember that choosing a career is subjective and it differs from person to person – you’ve to take an informed decision and choose the career that is best for you.

That will be the right career you’re looking for. Listen to your heart because it’ll never guide you the wrong way. So, what are you waiting for! Go ahead and make the right career choice. 🙂

“The best careers advice to give to the young is ‘Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” ~ Katherine Whitehorn

Over to you –

Do you follow a career of your choice, and were choosing a career easy for you? What factors are needed to make the choice of right career options? Share your views below.

 

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos



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57 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Corina Ramos

    July 17, 2013 at 3:16 am

    This is a wonderful post Harleena!

    Knowing and assessing ourselves is an important one. We need to find out what makes us happy otherwise what we thought was a career choice will turn out to be just another job.

    My first job was out of necessity. I needed to earn a living. And when I put my website together I had no intention of becoming a blogger but fate had other plans for me and here I am. 🙂

    Thank you for putting this post together…it’s got great advice for anyone struggling to find a career that makes them happy.

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      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      Hi Corina,

      Glad you liked the post and could relate so well to it too 🙂

      Absolutely! You have to know yourself and your abilities before you plan on choosing a career because all that you choose may or may not be right for you. If you really cannot be happy in career you choose, then the whole purpose goes a waste I’d say.

      I can understand that, and I think some of us go through that phase when we tend to take up jobs to earn a living. But when we realize that it’s not giving us the happiness or desired satisfaction, we look for better careers options. Ah…I think both of us became bloggers by chance, though I think the choice was a good one – no regrets and only pure bliss now (except for the days when it becomes a little overwhelming for me!)

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with us 🙂

  2. Babanature

    July 17, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Hello Harleena,
    You are truly a wonderful blogger and knows how to enter peoples mind 🙂 . This is indeed one interesting read if i must say.

    Should i talk about me or talk in general? well talking about me will be perfect 🙂 . Seriously, I did not chose my carrier, i just find my self doing what i love doing best, which is blogging. Blogging is my carrier, my full time job so i don’t play with it.

    It was not difficult in choosing the carrier i am in right now. This might sound funny but, my carrier choose me 🙂 . Reason i said so is, i never thought i would do blogging, i just find me doing it.

    Thanks for always letting me speak my mind here. Do have your self a lovely week…

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Hi Babanature,

      Ah…is that so? I didn’t know that, and I’m glad you liked this post and could relate so well to it. 🙂

      I think that’s something very nice because you ARE doing what you love best, and if that becomes your career, which it has now as you are a wonderful full-time blogger, then you have achieved a great deal. And this in itself must be giving you immense happiness and satisfaction too.

      I like those lines…my career chose me. I agree because it was something I too never thought I’d ever get into, especially having worked in an altogether different field earlier.

      You know you are always welcome to say whatever your heart desires here Babanature. This blog is the place for all of you to share your thoughts and feelings with me, and other readers of the blog.

      Thanks for stopping by and letting us know about your journey. Have a nice week ahead as well 🙂

  3. Angela McCall

    July 17, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Me too. I have never planned in blogging. But like you, I’m pretty happy with my career. I love writing as much as I love designing for others. I think this is the era for Writers because blogging is still in its infancy.

    Career vs. Job. Job is something you have to do whether you like it or not; it pays the bill. Career, on the other hand, is a job you love doing and very passionate about and so even if you worked long hours, it doesn’t seem like it’s long.

    Today, there are personality tests which career you fit into best. I think the generation of today are luckier compare to when I was in high school and didn’t know what to take then. From Business to Arts to finally Commercial Art. I hated all my business courses then except for typing. I flunked some of them. Specially stenography. But I excel in Arts. And so that’s what I followed then. My dad said, I would never make money on this. Coz people don’t really value arts as much.

    But little did he know, the computer will be born. And so he was wrong. I was making a pretty good living being a Commercial Artist…which they now called Graphic Designer. So now…like you…I’m in the venture of blogging. And loved it.

    Angela

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      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Hi Angela,

      You too! What a lovely co-incidence I must say that so far most of us never planned to become bloggers, though we are all here collectively doing what best we are at, be it writing or designing, we are earning through our blogs.

      Absolutely! I’m glad you mentioned the difference between a job and a career so well here. I think most of us started off by picking up a job in our initial years because we wanted to earn. Some of us carried on with it because we perhaps started liking the job or we are still with it because it pays the bill. While the rest of us have moved on to choosing a career that we like based on the skills we’ve learnt along the way. I agree about working long hours, and with blogging – that’s just what happens most of the time!

      Yes indeed, a lot has changed nowadays as compared to what it was in our time. People are more aware and focused on what career they like and want. And there are many career options nowadays as compared to what they were at our times too. The Internet is full of personality tests that help you choose the right career based on your likes and dislikes, which wasn’t there again when we started off.

      Just like you, I’d taken up the Commerce stream, though it was again not something of my liking. But because of the limited scopes and options available that time, we had to make the choice. I’m glad all that has improved manifold now. Another point was that we used to get influenced by what our parents or family members told us that time, or perhaps they knew much more than us and often took the stream they suggested, though not always. That too has changed now and kids are smarter to take up the streams they like right from the time they are in school so that they are totally focused by the time they enter college about the career they want.

      Oh yes…the computer was never there that time, or perhaps it was just introduced our end but many people weren’t working online, and certainly no one ever thought that we could make a living through blogging – no ways! But how things change, and for the better I’d add – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by and adding more value to the post 🙂

  4. Munish

    July 17, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Hello Harleena,

    This is really very nice post. Here I am find this post is SEO friendly. Like your way to write. Glad to read this stuff here.

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      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Welcome to the blog Munish!

      Glad you liked the post, and well, though I try to add a little bit of SEO that I know, I still have a lot to learn. Nice to know that you like my writing style too 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. Perambur Kumar

    July 17, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Great post as usual!!

    Whether you aware or not I don’t know? You already joined the pro blogger list. The only blogger achieve this height without proper SEO knowledge is you only. Hats Off to you. You now crossed all the hurdles to become a problogger. Now you’re top of the mountain.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      Welcome to the blog Kumar – good to have you over 🙂

      Glad you liked the post about choosing a career 🙂

      Ah…thanks SO much for your warm and kind words of appreciation, but I don’t think I’ve reached that level as yet because there are so many things I still need to learn. I agree, I really don’t have much SEO knowledge, but I’m glad there are wonderful and knowledgeable people like yourself and many others who help us learn how it’s all done – so I’m trying and learning something new every day.

      Thanks once again for stopping by, and for making my day with your words 🙂

  6. Pramod

    July 17, 2013 at 11:02 am

    A person should have love and more important the necessary skills for the profession he chooses.If he lacks one of these two , he will eventually end up screwing himself(I’ve got many examples in my friends to prove).Apart from this , if you are thinking to work in some organization and you’ve got good contacts with HR’s or you have some top references…try to avoid them …as this proves that you’re unskilled and this move of yours would prevent a highly skilled person from getting a job.

    Regards,
    Pramod

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      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      Hi Pramod,

      Yes indeed, a person needs to love what he chooses to make his career, and also learn the skills required before choosing a career. If this isn’t done, then the person will never be happy doing what he/she does.

      I agree with your point of avoiding to make your way to the top the wrong way when you aren’t skilled enough, because that would deprive another person who might be more skilled for the job than you. More so, some day the organization would surely get to know about your tricky tactics and you might have to cut a sorry figure in-front of them.

      It’s best to tread the right path and choose a career that you like, even if doesn’t pay you all that much – at least you are satisfied and happy, which is what counts the most – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views 🙂

  7. Viola Tam

    July 17, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    I am amazed at the number of great points that you are sharing!! It seems like an everlasting stream of thoughts and ideas! Well done.

    I myself was fortunate enough to have bumped into my present career as a network marketer. I agree with you that career is more than just a job. It is about all the elements that you talked about in your blog combined. When we are honouring our true self and follow the career path that way, no external motivation is required. I follow my heart to get trained as a Social Worker as a mature age student. Now I am using network marketing as a vehicle for empowering other stay-at-home mums.

    Great post, as always, Harleena!

    Viola Tam – The Business Mum

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      Hi Viola,

      Ah…thank you so much for your kind words of appreciation, and yes, whenever such thoughts come to mind, they must become a part of the blog too – to share it with my readers 🙂

      You are absolutely right there – there is no motivation really required when you choose a career that you like because you are so driven to it and love doing what you do. It’s nice to know that you are even getting trained as a social worker besides network marketing, which is surely following your heart as you love doing it. And I know the wonderful way you are helping other stay at home mums with your blog – commendable indeed.

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the post 🙂

  8. sumit

    July 17, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Hey Harleena, great post. I agree with your first point – Assess Yourself. Knowing yourself is a art and it can make us a strong person. And of course One more thing that help in choosing a career – “Strength”.

    If you know your strength, it becomes damn easy to choose from bunch of careers… well , thanks for the informational post….

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Welcome to the blog Sumit!

      Absolutely! Unless you don’t assess your abilities or know what you’re capable of, I don’t think you can choose the right career from the various options available nowadays.

      I liked your point about strength, without which you can never know what you are really made up of, or whether what you chose is something you can carry forward at all.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. Carol B

    July 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Great advice Harleena! I too have had several career changes, in part because I just didn’t know “me” when I first started out, and because I didn’t follow my heart. Both are excellent points you make. I started my career as an engineer, which I don’t regret one bit as it was a great foundation, but in the end, engineering was not what I truly enjoyed doing.

    I eventually switched to project and product management, still using my engineering background, which eventually lead me to where I am today. Guess you could say I’ve had a few career changes over the years as I’ve grown, my family has grown, and I’ve learned to listen to “me”. As I now watch my oldest begin his own “hunt” for a career path, I can only hope that he will follow your sage wisdom at an earlier age than I did!

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Carol,

      Ah…you too! It’s just what I was mentioning to Angela above that most of us really didn’t know what was the right career for us when we initially started off, or we took up something we didn’t really like doing, as in your case. Or then we carried on because they were more of jobs we took up to earn.

      I’m glad that your engineering background is helping you in your present career – I think that’s why they say education and learning always helps in one way or the other.

      Oh yes…all of us grow with time, and as you mentioned, even our family, kids, and responsibilities have grown now. Being mothers we need to devote time to them and take out a little ‘me’ time too. I guess to do the amount we can handle at this juncture of life is what it’s all about, for us at least. Ah…we sail in the same boat Carol, as I watch my elder one also step forward into her chosen career. I’m sure our kids are much more focused and wiser than we were when we were their age, and the paths they choose now are with an aim and goal to help them reach new heights.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with us 🙂

  10. B k chowla

    July 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    There was a time when every parent wanted their child to study Engineering or Medicine.
    With massive oppurtunities the doors are open.What is encouraging is the women who are heading organisations.
    In fact,now it is becoming easy to s choose a carrier so long as one is inclined towards that particular profession.

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      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Hi BK,

      Yes indeed, there surely was such a time! Most of the parents literally thought that there was nothing beyond being an engineer or a doctor. How times have changed now, and choosing a career though isn’t all that easy because of the many available options, but at least you can think beyond just being doctors or engineers!

      I agree with you there – the horizons have widened and sky is the limit to choose and follow the career you like, and yes, women are heading and doing pretty well for themselves.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views 🙂

  11. Thomas

    July 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Very well written post Harleena!

    I think though for the most part what I see is too much of a focus on what a career earns or how popular it is. I find it very hard to come out of high school and never doing anything yet you are ready to say you want to devote your life to finance or being a doctor. I know so many people who have gone to school change majors several times graduate and still hate their jobs. Can’t call them careers since they weren’t happy with what they were doing in the first place.

    I would like to see more people take time to find things they enjoy doing and become great at it. The money will come if you become an expert or at the least very good at what you do. There are some careers that don’t make a lot of money but that is were you have to decide whats more important to you, money or happiness. Some cases you can have both. I don’t like kids being pushed into the careers that they never wanted in the first place. I like direction but I feel that parents should make sure they are pushing the kids in the right direction and not so that they can get their own dreams to come through in their children.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      Hi Thomas,

      Glad you liked the post and could relate to it 🙂

      You are quite right there saying that most people choose careers that pay them well or based on how popular it is. While it’s not their fault entirely because that’s what the general trend is, most of them realize their mistakes if it’s not the right one for them, and then later switch over to something that they like, even if it’s not popular and doesn’t earn them much. Why? Because they want satifaction, peace of mind, and happiness in whatever career they choose at the end of the day.

      If the desire and passion to do what you want isn’t there, you can never really do well in your job, and that’s why people change their streams or hate their jobs and are on the look out for something they like. Eventually, they do take up streams or land up choosing a career of their choice and liking, because they love it and that brings them happiness – which we all want, isn’t it?

      I agree with you there, enjoy what you do without bothering about the money, and even if it doesn’t come, have patience and learn to be happy with what you have, which I’m sure will only get better with time because your heart and mind are fully in your work.

      We all have to make choices in our lives, and just as you mentioned, it’s either money or happiness, or a blend of both, which is what most of us would like I think. Some of course are lucky to have them both, though its a rarity.

      Yes, some kids are pushed in choosing a career that’s not of their choice, or they are influenced by people around them, which results in them taking drastic steps and eventually leading unhappy lives. I wish more parents would be supportive of the careers their kids choose, even if they aren’t the usual ones like being an engineer or a doctor. That was the main reason I put up the picture of a photographer here 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and adding more value to the post 🙂

      BTW – I’d love to see who I’m talking to, so why don’t you grab yourself a gravatar so that your picture shows near your name when you comment 🙂

  12. yogesh pant

    July 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    A very practical article meant for the real life of the people. It is really difficult to select the right career. In this regard, we should insure what we select as our career interests us. We should take time to think properly about the decision we are going to make.

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      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      Hi Yogesh,

      Nice to know that you liked this post on choosing a career that would be right for you 🙂

      I agree it’s not easy to choose a career, but it’s not tough either when you follow the tips mentioned in the post – isn’t it? Yes indeed, take your time to assess yourself, your situation, likes, dislikes, interests, and then choose something that you like doing because your future and your happiness depends on it.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views 🙂

  13. jose marie

    July 17, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Great tips Harleena!

    Though this is my first time to visit your blog but every information you share is really worth reading. Getting a career as of now is really a bit tough because of competency but thanks for your great insights. Appreciated them so much!

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 17, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Welcome to the blog Jose!

      Glad you liked the tips shared here 🙂

      Ah…thanks so much for your words of appreciation, and I’m happy that you enjoy all that I share on my blog. I agree it’s not easy, but it’s not very tough when you know what you like and want. It all comes down to the choices we make, and what we really want in life – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by, and hope you visit again 🙂

  14. Donna Merrill

    July 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Excellent advice Harleena!

    I think a career is to really know yourself and also give yourself the power to change as you grow.

    When we are young, we may have a perception of the world that is different as we take our journey in life such as getting married, having children, etc.

    Our needs change and so must we. I deeply feel that we need to recognize this and give ourselves permission to be flexible.

    I started out working many many years ago as an assistant buyer because I just loved fashion (and still do) but I didn’t want to be “owned” by a corporation. That’s the way I felt in my heart.

    As I allowed myself to go into my own business, yes it was scary, but I did it! My needs changed and I chose my passion to help others.

    Now here I am, learning something new again, as an internet marketer and blogger. I now have another way to help those reach financial freedom.

    We must see a “career” as an ongoing learning process with twists and turns in the road.

    -Donna

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 20, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      Hi Donna,

      Glad you liked what I shared here today 🙂

      Absolutely! It IS all about knowing your abilities and changing things that you don’t like, so that you are happier with what you choose finally.

      That is the fact in most of the cases because we really haven’t seen the world as much, nor do we really know the right from the wrong when we are young. I’m glad things are much better nowadays and choosing a career is not as problematic because you have tests and people to guide you through if need be, which again isn’t something we had in our times.

      Nice to know about your earlier career, though as you mentioned, it wasn’t something that you really liked because you felt you were owned, and didn’t really have your say in things perhaps. But when you chose your passion and took up to doing what you loved – you must be such a happier person, isn’t it?

      Yes indeed, I think there is just no end to learning and getting better by the day. I think if we are really passionate about taking up a new career, age is really no bar, if we are ready to switch over. I agree, twists and turns help us grasp things better I think, and we should take them as stepping stones to our success.

      Thanks for stopping by and adding more value to the post 🙂

  15. Sue Neal

    July 17, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Another powerful post, which rings lots of bells for me. I chose my original career when I was young, thoroughly screwed up, and didn’t really ‘know myself’ at all. I successfully completed a degree in English, but left uni completely lacking in self-confidence as regards my academic abilities, I think because I was chronically anxious and insecure, and ‘escaped’ into psychiatric nursing, for which I thought I was better suited. I think I was a pretty good mental health nurse, but I was never truly happy in the job.

    The negative aspect of my experience is that I ended up in a career that I always found incredibly stressful and in which I never felt completely fulfilled – though I think I was an effective practitioner and ultimately achieved quite a lot. The most positive side of this choice of career is that it’s given me tons of interesting life experience, which now finds its way into my writing. It’s also given me financial security, which means that now, in my retirement, I’m free to develop the writing skills that I’ve neglected all these years.

    Although I made what I think was a wrong choice, I think it would have been difficult for me to have made any other, given the state I was in at the time. And I don’t waste time regretting it – I’m now extremely happy to be embarking on a second career and feel very lucky to have this opportunity.

    I agree with Donna that a “career” isn’t a static thing, but an ever-changing journey of discovery.

    Thanks for another very interesting post, Harleena 🙂

    Sue

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 20, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      Hi Sue,

      Nice to know that you could resonate with this one 🙂

      Ah…I think most of us were in the same boat and chose careers that we didn’t know or like much, or we picked up jobs because we had to earn for a living.

      Nice to know that you too completed your English degree, which comes as no surprise to me because that’s how you must have become such an awesome writer! I can understand about the insecurities and lack of self-confidence that we sometimes face, which stops us from pursuing things.

      I liked the word you used – escaped, which is so apt because that’s just what we do – find alternatives or take up anything that comes our way to get away. You chose psychiatric nursing, while I chose fashion designing after I completed my Commerce! Way off line I know, but that perhaps was also my way of getting away, so I can so well relate to what you mentioned here 🙂

      I think our career choices or jobs were pretty much alike because when I was teaching, it was a stressful time for me too as I had to leave my kids or wasn’t there when they needed me. I agree with you there, that even if you achieve a lot in your career, but if you aren’t happy doing what you are doing, all of that just seems such a waste.

      Yes indeed, no learning is ever wasted, and that’s exactly what I tell my kids too. I think in your case, the English literature made you a wonderful writer, while the nursing experience helped you learn more about life, besides the financial security that you can enjoy in your years ahead. And now I think you are evolving as a person because you are doing something that you love to do, isn’t it?

      That’s the way to take it, with NO regrets. I also never sit and think of the days gone by or the time wasted, because there were always hidden lessons for us to learn along the way. More so, if we keep thinking of the past, how do we proceed further? Donna summed it up well at the end by calling a career as a journey that always keeps changing for the better, especially for us who want to keep learning and getting better at what we do.

      Thanks for taking out the time to stop by because I know it’s not easy to do so. I appreciate that a great deal 🙂

      • Susan Neal

        July 20, 2013 at 8:34 pm

        Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Harleena – as you say, we have a lot in common.

        Fashion design, eh? You have hidden depths!

        Sue

        • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

          Harleena Singh

          July 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm

          It can never match up with yours Sue 🙂

          Ah…though I took that up, I never really pursued it much and later went on to do my English majors…that’s how it’s been 🙂

          Thanks once again 🙂

  16. Shalu Sharma

    July 18, 2013 at 12:13 am

    At some point in your life you will come to know your strengths and weaknesses and this is when you are able to decide what career to choose. Its not an easy thing to do and its possible to get it wrong. So as you say, listen to heart and take the right decision. Perhaps others can also tell you something that you don’t realise yourself.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      Hi Shalu,

      I agree with you there, especially if we hadn’t chosen it the first time, which I think most of us didn’t because we were either too young to know the right from the wrong, or had no proper guidance, or we were pushed into it.

      I do believe that when we listen to our heart, we can never really go wrong. But even if we do, we should be flexible enough to change ourselves and choose a career that would ultimately make us happy. I agree, sometimes others tell us things we don’t realize, or we might even learn new skill or read about better career options, which all helps us finally decide what we really want to do.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views 🙂

  17. Bren

    July 18, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Hi Harleena!

    Right now I’m not in my ideal career field but I’ve been doing it for over 25 years now. Ideally I’d love to work with animals and have my own rescue. Financially, I’m just not able to make that happen right now yet I hope to in the future. I think a lot of people are like me. They have certain skills that will bring the money in that they need to live in life, however, their passion career lies elsewhere.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      Hi Bren,

      I can well relate to that because sometimes it’s not easy to let go of what you’ve been doing for long. Ah…that would be wonderful indeed as it would be something that you really love to do, knowing the love you have for animals.

      Absolutely! That’s just what we’ve been discussing in the comments above that we are stuck in the jobs we are pursuing because we need the money, though it isn’t the choice of career we would like to take up.

      Choosing a career isn’t easy, unless you follow your heart, even if it means earning a little less than you presently do, for which again you need to have some kind of financial backing.

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the post 🙂

  18. Debbie

    July 18, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Great insight on a career Harleena. The most important thing in choosing what you want to be when you grow up, is do work that you love. Then it isn’t so much work.

    In todays world it seems with technolgy moving like it does, we have many more options now. Have to love that.

    I never dreamed in my younger days that I would someday be talking to people in all parts of the world. It is wonderful.

    I use to be in the accounting field. Still like the math, but sense I have started blogging I have learned that writing is great.

    Many times when we have to change our careers it is a good thing. As you state Harleena.

    Thank you for sharing your great wisdom and now I see how the teaching ability you have works in with your blog.
    Debbie

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 20, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Hi Debbie,

      I agree with you there, and that’s the key in choosing a career that you love. However, most of us aren’t able to do that because we really are either too young to decide or take the right decision about it, or it’s the peer pressure, or the other reasons attached.

      Yes indeed, it’s much easier to choose the career you like because of the various options available. Oh yes…nor did I imagine I’d ever be a blogger, which was something totally new for me who had never had any connection whatsoever with the Internet! I think we need to give ourselves a pat in the back for reaching this far 🙂

      That’s interesting indeed! What amazes me how most of us here come from such vast fields, yet we are all writing and blogging, so this is what has actually brought us together here – isn’t it?

      Oh yes…changing your career and choosing what makes us happy at the end of the day is what matters.

      Ah…thanks so much for your kind words. Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the post 🙂

  19. Arleen

    July 18, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Great post. My major in college was accounting as I had no idea what kind of a career I wanted. My dad kept saying you are so good with people why not try sales. He suggested that I go into real estate. I did that for 25 years and was also a broker. It wasn’t what I really wanted and I did it to please my dad.

    At 50 I started my own internet business. I knew nothing about computers as they didn’t have computers in college at the time. My son gave me his computer and I said I have no idea what to do with and I will probably blow it up. Sure enough I am on the phone with my sister and the hard drive fried. After the computer was fixed I decided it wasn’t going to get the best of me. I decided I was going to start an internet business selling promotional products. At that time no one was selling on the internet. I learned how to use the computer and from my real estate background, the most important thing that I could offer was service and then more service. If I had not taken this direction of selling real estate first I would have never found my niche. I never look back and feel I made the wrong decision, but look at it as a stepping stone. Everything in life is what you make it.

  20. Katherine G

    July 18, 2013 at 8:12 am

    These are great tips. I wish I wish I had pursued the career I actually wanted.

  21. Lola Stoney

    July 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    A very inspiring post. Choosing a career can truly be a dilemma if what you really want to do won’t put enough food on the table for your family immediately (especially if you want to be your own boss). You’re then drawn to consider alternatives that would most likely lead to dissatisfaction and disorientation so to speak.

    As you rightly pointed out Harleena, knowing who and what you are, will help you seek out employment in organisations whose aims and missions are similar to yours, this will give job satisfaction, and help you build your own dream career in no time.

  22. Anis Chity

    July 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Harleena this is an awesome post,

    Actually I’m a Student and Blogger and these are my career I hope when I grow up I get a good job that my parents would be proud of.

    But my dream was always to be a football player. I play football very well and my friends are impressed by the way I play, but unfortunately I can’t be professional footballer anymore 🙁 I’m 19 years old.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post
    Have an awesome day ahead 🙂

  23. Ahsan

    July 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Hello Harleena,

    I think choosing a career means doesn’t mean only to earn it is enjoyment too. If we choose career according to my will or strength, it’ll give better result in my work.

    So everyone must aware about the start of their career. It will start a new life as well as guideline of future.

  24. Oluwaseun Babajide

    July 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Harleena,
    Great post. What a big list!
    I did not have any problem getting my dream job. I am just one confident guy, too confident at interviews that companies had to change roles to a more senior role, just to suit me. I climbed the senior ladder very rapidly with a lot of awards, increase in bonus etc.
    It all comes down to what you want in life and working towards it. Life is easy must people just make it hard!
    Thanks for the share.
    -Seun

  25. Efoghor Joseph Ezie

    July 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Harleena, thanks for writing on this emotional subject.

    A lot of people find themselves in their present careers either by listening to their parents, friends or by personal choice.

    The best way to choose a career is to listen to your heart and choose what you think would give you satisfaction in life – what you have passion for.

    I became a nurse because my parents did not allow me to study Law which was what I wanted. I was actually already seeing myself as a lawyer because I was laying the foundation for it and doing relatively well. But my parents had some erroneous beliefs about lawyers and insisted I would never read Law.

    I have been in my current profession for several years but I still feel something is missing in my life. I eventually decided on my own in 2009 to become a blogger, and ever since, I had enjoyed blogging and I am rediscovering myself here. I want to build a career in blogging because it makes me happy and in charge of my personal decisions.

  26. Sylviane Nuccio

    July 20, 2013 at 3:02 am

    Hi Harleena,

    I’m working my way back to blog browsing now that my own blogs are back to life. I had hosting issues for the better part of the week And my blogs were off line for quite a bit this week. It’s all in order now, though.

    There is a big difference between a job and a career, indeed. To me a career is doing what you love and a job is just where you go to be able to pay the bills.

    As for me, I am in some kind of transition between a job a my dream career right now, and while I may not be moving forward as fast I as would have wanted to, I am certainly moving forward.

    The only way to live fully is doing what you love.

    Great post and great topic.

  27. Adrienne

    July 20, 2013 at 7:11 am

    I wish this type of advice had been around when I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The funny thing is that my Dad asked me if I wanted to start my own business. The problem was that what I was doing at that time there was no way I wanted to make a career out of it.

    I was always taught to go to school but that never panned out for me so I just accidentally fell into the secretarial role mainly because I’m annoyingly organized. The rest just came naturally and that’s where I got stuck.

    I wasn’t advised to find something I loved doing. Just think how differently my life would be now had that been the case. Oh well, I’m doing what I love now so it’s never to late to start right!

    I wish every young person would read this post and follow their heart instead of the advice of their parents who were only following the advice of theirs.

    Thank you once again Harleena for a very informative post.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    ~Adrienne

  28. Mayura

    July 20, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Wow… I didn’t know you were a teacher before 🙂 What kind of subjects you were teaching? Well, indeed you are a teacher for everyone here.

    Actually, I wasn’t thought of IT industry when I got my first computer but it’s a milestone that changed my way of life. I fell in love with it and I still do. So here I am 🙂

    You know, after studies and all that, students look for jobs and it often wonder when I see my friends get jobs that has no relate to IT industry. No idea if they assess themselves or not. But they were happy of the amount of money they can earn. May be being practical as you pointed out. But now they are calling it “BORING”. I asked why don’t you find something you love. They got excuses and I feel like they are waiting their dreams to come true without working on it.

    However after my school, I had pressure to find a job too 🙂 Not actually my parents, but as others asking about what I’m doing after school. You know, sometimes people worry about what others think or talk about ’em.

    At the same time I was blogging and decided to offer services by myself as a freelancer 🙂 But as my parents don’t know about it, I wanted a JOB to satisfy them too. Really glad I’ve got an opportunity in software development which I can do at home. I believe listening to our hearts will bring all the luck we need in our lives Harleena 🙂

    You have a lovely weekend Harleena 🙂

    Cheers…

  29. Hiten

    July 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    This was a brilliant post, indeed!

    It got me thinking of my own career and how my attitudes to what I want to achieve over the years has changed. When I was younger, I was interested in working my way up the corporate ladder. As I’ve got older however, and particularly since I got into coaching and blogging, my ambition levels are decreased quite a bit. I want to be in a position where I’m making a decent living dong what I love and making enough to support my family so they don’t go without anything.

    Thank you.

  30. Cynthia

    July 20, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    This is something that I am facing right now. I don’t want to return to my previous career. When I ended it to have my child, I was so burned out on it.

    Over the past few years, I am obtain a Master degree in something that I feel passion about but don’t know if I want to continue with the education that it requires. Not because it is not something that I don’t want to do but because the practical side of life says, you need a new house, child’s education and spending time with my aging mother would be a better way to go and that could be easily fit into my current career salary.

  31. Liz

    July 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    I’ve been round and round with the career thing with my kids because it’s been really hard for them. They’re conflicted with choosing a career that brings a great salary or doing something they have a passion for that’s hugely competitive. For example, my son wants a career drumming because he loves it, but he can’t make any money at it because it’s so hugely competitive.

    I think there’s got to be a balance there and it’s tough.

    Good post as a step through guide. Thanks!

    Liz

  32. Michael Belk

    July 22, 2013 at 3:54 am

    Harleena, I fall under the latter. I had one job that I chose and I went to school for. I loved that job and the people.

    I have not found the same happy environment since. I fell into blogging like many people, but the more I do it the more I like it.

    It is hard to find your favorite job.

  33. I. C. Daniel

    July 22, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I was planning till highschool to be a truck driver, I almost got my truck driving license, driving grades B, C already got them, however I have to get E grade which allows me to drive trucks with trailers attached.

    This E grade is going to cost me $300, this price include hours of driving the truck with trailer and fees to instructor and I’m almost done. Some certificates are required to carry goods, inflammable substances, oversized vehicles, etc but that’s easy to get, no hustle.

    After finished highschool I got the idea of making money online and felt dangerous atracted about it :D, since then I’m digging deep into understanding the process. How to start – How to Build Everything – Affiliate Marketing – Converting Products into Sales and Spending money Earned on good stuff.

    If my online endeavours aren’t going to bring results than I’ll be a truck driver, however I’m pretty confident that I’ll succeed online, I’m already earning money so everything is pretty good.

    Best regards from I. C. Daniel

  34. Amandah

    July 23, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Hi Harleena,

    I think parents, teachers, grandparents, etc. can be obstacles when you’re thinking about choosing a career. They mean well, but they don’t know what is best for you. For example, your family may have a thriving business, but it may not be for you. You have two choices: 1) go into the family business and be miserable and make everyone around you miserable or 2) do what you want.

    My background is accounting, but it wasn’t my choice. I listened to my dad who meant well. He told me to get a “secure” degree because I would make money. Guess what? That strategy didn’t work for me. Why? Because accounting wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to get a degree in marketing and/or advertising. One time, I approached my academic advisor about switching my major. She wasn’t any help. Her response was, “You’re so close to finishing. You’ll have to take extra classes.” It’s kind of ironic, if you think about it. An academic advisor talking a student out of taking more classes which would have meant more money for the college. If I can go back in time, I would have switched my major to marketing and minored in accounting. Lesson learned.

    I think the factors needed to make the choice of a right career are as follows:

    1. What interests do you have?
    2. What did you want to do when you were a kid?
    3. Who do you admire? What do they do?
    4. What do you love to do?
    5. What were your favorite subjects in high school?

    Brainstorm and think about what you want to do. Remember, you could have several careers throughout your life. Don’t worry if your first choice doesn’t work out. You’ll find the right career for you.

  35. Adesanmi Adedotun

    July 31, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Choosing a career is a must and one must be very careful about it so as not to choose the wrong one. Many choose wrong career today as a result of emulation, inability to stand on their own personal decision,not firm, feeling of inferiority complex but all the same choosing a life career need a proper scrutiny. For instance, if Michael Jackson had chosen to be a boxer that must have be an ill-luck career for him and the same thing happened to Bass Ali, so in this aspect of life caution must be properly taken indeed.

  36. Jessica Sweet

    August 29, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Thanks so much for including the idea about consulting a life coach or career coach.

    I am a coach that helps people figure out what career they will love. In my experience, the people that come to me have chosen a career for the money, or because their father or mother was in that field, or they just put one foot in front of the other and somehow landed where they are today.

    Your article gives people hope that you don’t have to pay for the mistake of choosing the “wrong” career for your whole working life. There is help out there to guide you to what you’d love to do. In todays world, there’s much more acceptance of being in charge of the design of your own career – and there’s help too.

    Thank you again!

    Jess

  37. Harry

    October 25, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Great post. Choosing a career is often easier once you decide what life goals you want to pursue. With a clear vision of where you want to be in next 5 or 10 years, you will more likely to make better judgement on which career to choose.




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Read more posts in the category: Work & Career




How To Choose The Right Career

by Harleena Singh time to read: 7 min