AM I CAREER-WISE OR CAREER-FOOLISH?
A career is a person’s occupation or profession. It is a kind of job you spend a considerable part of your life doing. Examples of careers are: Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Soldiering, Writing, Speaking, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Banking, Catering etc. One can either have a fulfilling or frustrating career.
The choice of a career is an important one we all have to make at some point in our lives. It is probably as important as the choice of who you marry. This is considering the fact that some people spend more time on their job than they do with their spouse. A wrong career can really lead to big-time frustration. When you are ‘career-wise’, you make the right career choices but when you are ‘career-foolish’, you make unintelligent or wrong career choices.
I will share a couple of tips that will help us become career-wise.
1. Make your choice early: Don’t wait until you want to get into the university before you decide what you want to be doing for the rest of your life. Decide now. What are your strengths? What would you gladly do for free? What irritates you when not properly done? All these questions can help you make the right choice. It’s not too early to start. If you are a parent, help your kids think through. Study them and see their strengths. Then support them to make their choice. And make sure you don’t try to live your dream career through them. Let them be THEM.
2. Develop on the job: Don’t just choose a career to get a salary. Develop yourself on it. Your career will provide you an opportunity to meet people and become more exposed. Seek better ways to do your job. Learn the latest ways of doing things in your industry; else you will become stale on the job.
3. Have alternative plans: When some people lose their jobs, their world comes crashing down; when others lose theirs, a new world of opportunities opens up before them. When you have alternatives even on your present career, good or bad, it gives you an edge psychologically. Have you ever asked yourself: ‘what if I lose my job and can’t find another in this industry?’ If you have a ready answer, then you have an alternative. If not, it’s time to think. I recommend you get a side passion. Personally, I try to equip myself with two or three skills at a time so I don’t become extinct.
4. Don’t die in a wrong career: I think it was Jim Rohn that said: “if you don’t like where you are, move! You are not a tree.” I know people who have been complaining of their jobs for the past ten years. They have taken no step to provide a remedy. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still in complaining mode twenty years from now. Rather than complain all your life, make effort to change. Do something about the situation—Learn a new skill, take courses on your dream career, associate with people in your dream profession (that’s how you will hear of opportunities or get referrals), volunteer for projects to get experience and finally, don’t be scared when it’s time to take the big leap. If you really want to be happy, you need to be daring.
As long as the world exists, people will still keep doing jobs. But not everyone will be daring enough to make the right career choice. Will you be among the few who are daring? Many years from today when you look back at your life, I hope you will be bold to say: “I was career-wise and not career-foolish.”
Mike O. Nwangwa