We've all made bad choices in our lives, but one of the worst is choosing a career that isn't a good fit for you. Worse, if you make this mistake when you're young and in college, it can influence what career path you take for the rest of your life. We make some big decisions in college — so big that we have to make some choices that last a lifetime. As you make these choices, it's especially important to avoid making bad decisions and to make the right ones. This article explains some of the wrong reasons for making career decisions that you should keep in mind when exploring possible paths for your professional future.
Choosing a career because it pays very well
One of the more common reasons people choose a career is because it pays very well. While money is important, it's not everything. If you find that you work just for the sake of making more and more money, you will likely be unhappy; after a certain point, there’s only so much satisfaction material things will bring you. You should pursue a career because it is something that you enjoy doing, not just because it pays very well. In fact, you can find success and happiness in any career if it aligns with your innate potential; this is true even for careers that typically deliver a more modest paycheck.
Choosing a career because someone you admire does it
Choosing a career based on your admiration for a specific individual can be tricky. It's important to realize that not every job choice is right for everyone. For example, let’s say you have an uncle who is a commercial pilot and it seems like he has the coolest job ever. He flies all over the world and gets paid to do it! You might think about becoming a pilot because of how much you admire your uncle—but are you really ready to commit yourself to the training necessary before you can become a commercial pilot? While flying may be glamorous, being a commercial pilot requires many years of rigorous study and practice in order to fly successfully.
It’s important not to assume that any career would be perfect for you based on how great it looks from the outside. Instead of automatically assuming this is the right path for you, ask questions about their careers such as: What does their typical day look like? What skills or education do they need? Why do they love their job?
Before choosing any career path, make sure that you have done research into what it takes to work in that field successfully.
Choosing a career that is popular
Do you think being a professional TikToker is a good career choice? What about being an influencer on Instagram or YouTube? As it turns out, those kinds of jobs are very popular right now—but they might not be in the future.
If you're looking at the industry's top players (and their follower counts) and thinking that you'd like to get in on that action, it's important to remember that these careers can be kind of dangerous. The same professionals who are all over social media today could be out of style, out of date next month, next year… or even tomorrow. Not only will your job be precarious, but you'll need to keep yourself up to date on all the latest trends if you want to stay in the game.
The same goes for any career where the field is changing very fast: if you're going into tech, finance, or anything else that moves quickly and evolves constantly, then there's no guarantee that your current skills will translate into success just a year from now.
Choosing a career that others want you to choose
Often choosing a career is not something that you do all alone. It could be your parents, close friends or a spouse. There are many reasons you may choose a career that others want you to choose.
- You may be trying to please them by fulfilling their own unrealized dreams of glory.
- You may feel like it is what is expected of you.
- You may not know what you want to do and feel like others might know a better than you.
This isn't always the case, but choosing a career based on what others have to say can lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness in life. It's important to remember that this is your life, not theirs and that even though they love you and care about your future happiness, they don't always know what's best for you.
Choosing a career for the right reason
While there are a number of reasons why you should not choose a career, there is one main reason that you should choose it—that it aligns with your innate potential.
By doing so you will be happier. This may sound obvious, but doing something that connects with who you are will give you more satisfaction than doing something that doesn't—no matter how much money it brings in. On the other hand, if what you do for a living doesn’t resonate with your natural abilities and tendencies, you’ll face considerable monotony. And that can really wear on you over time and leave you feeling empty, frustrated, and even stressed out.
Second, if your career choice is aligned with your personality, chances are good that 1) You'll be better at it and 2) You'll be more productive (and thus more likely to succeed).
After reading through this article, you will hopefully have a better understanding of how to avoid choosing a career for the wrong reasons. You'll ultimately be spending a great deal of time at work everyday. Short-sightedness in your decision making can lead to a lifetime of misery in what you do on a day-to-day basis. But by pursuing the right careers for the right reason—that it matches with who you are— you’ll improve your chances of being happier and more successful. And what could be bad about getting up every morning, loving what you do, and getting paid well to do it?
Learn more about our MNCAREERS course.