Glenford Smith, Career Writer
Q: I am a sixth form student set to attend the University of the West Indies in August. Although I was accepted to do a BSc in economics, I am not sure if I chose the right field. The fact is that I am clueless as to which career to choose. Can you advise me please?
A: It might be some small comfort to know you are not alone in your dilemma. Most high-school graduates have the same problem. Five years at high school teaches a lot of things, but how to find your ideal career is rarely one of them.
One reason might be because it is a difficult project by its very nature. Finding your 'right' career is not a one-size-fits-all exercise. Everyone is unique and has his or her own path to career success and fulfilment.
To compound the problem, very few persons at your stage of life has sufficient self-knowledge and life experience to make a long-term decision about the career they would most enjoy, and for which they are most suited.
The result is that most students will start a career they think they love, but find out later that they like another field better. Many change their careers later in life, where as others adapt and even enjoy the career they chose initially. Nothing is wrong with either decision.
So here's the bottom line: Knowing whether you're in the right career is a process that happens over time—years usually. For instance, I studied and worked in the engineering field for more than a decade before transitioning into my current career. But was my first career a mistake?
Not at all. It was enjoyable, highly fulfilling and taught me many life lessons. I also forged many important relationships that continue to help me today.
In the absence of knowing you personally, here are three general, but helpful questions to consider in deciding on your ideal career.
find your passion
What is your passion? What do you really love to do? One clue is that you habitually spend hours engaged in your passion and it seems like minutes. The question most people ask first when deciding on a career is, which career pays the most? The passion question is a far better one, however.
What are your natural talents and abilities? Becoming great at your career requires extreme self-discipline, determination and years of hard work. To sustain the motivation necessary, you need a career in which you can exploit your natural abilities.
For instance, if you love words, languages, and find public speaking comes naturally, then a career as a French teacher/lecturer might be a good fit.
How can you use your passion and talent to help many people solve a pressing problem, meet an urgent need, or relieve a hurtful pain or frustration? Making money comes through meeting people's needs. Your ideal career is one in which you can do what you love and are good at, while making a good income. You'll need to choose a company or start your own, which provides a highly demanded product or service in a very profitable way.
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of a new book, 'From Problems to Power: How to Win Over Worry and Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities'. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.