One of the results of India’s economic growth is an entire generation of youngsters entering the workforce with a more optimistic outlook on life. Increasingly, the question on their minds is, “How can I work and still lead a life worth living?”
It’s a pertinent question. Work takes up a large time of our adult lives, and what you’re able to do in the remainder depends upon what you do during work. So if you wish to lead your preferred lifestyle, you have a major career decision to make.
So how would do you do that? Apart from the obvious steps, such as visiting a career counsellor, we recommend you ask yourselves the following questions:-
a) Are you really, really passionate about something?
It’s okay if you’re not. A lot of idealists and geniuses have over-romanticised the notion of finding what you love- making those of us who don’t have an ‘obvious passion’ wonder if there’s something wrong with us. But to paraphrase Dilbert creator Scott Adams, most people are successful because ‘They were smarter, they worked harder, They had better connections, and They got lucky’. The truth is that there are plenty of people who are extremely passionate and yet unsuccessful.
b) What are you good at?
Make a list of all the things that you’re good at. Rank in order of priority. Don’t worry about moneitzation
c) What are the things that you enjoy doing?
Again, do not worry about monetization here. List out everything and anything that you enjoy doing- whether it’s trekking, having a drink, food, shopping, etc. Rank in order of priority.
d) What are you qualified to do?
Translate: What do you hold a degree in? What was your last job? Have you demonstrated quantifiable success that employers will appreciate?
The answers to these questions will definitely aid your visit to the career counsellor, and help you make career decisions.
Now, here are some of the different techniques career counsellors would use to help you make your choice:-
a) Assessing Personality:-
As the name suggests, the counsellor typically tests your ‘personality type’, and then matches you with a relevant career. Perhaps the most common personality test is the Big Five Personality Traits. Notable proponents of this approach include Paul Tieger, who has his own personality test.
b) Assessing Career Values:-
Popularly called as Card Sort Career Assesment Tools, this usually involves giving individuals a set of cards (each printed with a career value such as Moral Fulfillment and Help Society) and asks them to rate their importance on a scale of 1-5 .
c) Assessing Interests:-
The most popular approach here is the Strong Interest Inventory, where the individual is asked to choose a series of across different categories, to get a greater idea into your interests.
The best career counsellors would probably choose some combination of all these different approaches.
Remember, there are different needs that you have to fulfill in your life- money, family, social status, achievements, morality, adventure, curiosity, travel etc. These needs are constantly evolving as you evolve as a person. Make allowances for change, and don’t be surprised if things you thought you would enjoy turn out to be boring, and vice versa.