What career would you like to do ?

The key to a rewarding career is a healthy lifetime relationship with your chosen profession. Many people suffer severely from their careers, due to stress, high workloads, lack of achievement, or personal factors which interact negatively with the career and its work.

Career choice, therefore, has to be compatible with the person. A career can be as individual as a person, and as unique in its requirements. Workplace environments, too are very variable. Not everybody is designed to work in an office. Some people thrive in that environment.

So the career choices are essentially a match between people, their interests, and the work environment.

Defining people is a pretty thankless task, and inclined to create simplistic generalizations. However you describe a human being, (and there's been no lack of attempts in the employment-advisory market) the correct description is that person.

In the old days, a career was a commitment for life, set in stone. There weren't all that many opportunities to design a career for yourself, because colleges and the work environment operated on very basic career paths. Career choices were often seen as ironclad, once in a lifetime, decisions.

The modern career choice is a lot more fluid, far more complex, and much better suited to individual needs.

Personality evaluation was another big breakthrough, trying to match people to careers. A personality profile was considered the best way of finding a good fit.

There are problems with that approach, though. A person may well be a risk taker, an adventurer, a social conservative, high flyer, whatever. It's easy enough to find tests which will tell you that you should become an aeronautics engineer or a maid, a cook or a nuclear physicist.

There are quite a lot of tests, some lengthy and expensive, which will lead you (eventually) to the conclusion that you are yourself.

But a career choice still works out as a combination of personal preferences and aversions, regarding what's your idea of a good career choice.

Self evaluation is a much safer option. You know yourself better than anyone. You don't need to be introduced to yourself.

People make natural choices, based on their character, interests, and skills.

People really love doing some things, and absolutely loathe doing others.

A person who loves golf may even, (gasp) consider taking up golf as a career.

Amazing, isn't it?

Consider any job. What's involved in doing a job?

Work. (The actual duties)
Environment. (Workplace, culture, conditions of employment, salary)
Location. (Degree of difficulty, commuting, times)
Skills. (Qualifications, experience)
Hours. (Shifts, time usage)

A job is done for years at a time, sometimes decades at a time. It's the governing influence in people's lives. They are dependent on their jobs. Any one of those factors could be stressful, or several of them. In some cases all of them can be problems. So you can look at a job, and have a pretty good idea what it's like. You have a fairly good idea what to expect, in practically any job you know.

The choice between being a hamburger hand and a high flying executive isn't exactly a hard one, is it? You know which you'd consider a career, and which you'd consider a jail sentence.

Exactly the same thing applies to careers.

Some people are lucky enough to be absolutely infatuated with their careers. They're doctors or nurses or physicists because that's all they've ever wanted to be, and they're also very good at their work. They've been fascinated with it, in some cases, since childhood.

Other people have to scout out careers, and make decisions.

This is where you start, with self evaluation.

You won't believe how easy self evaluation can be, in terms of a career choice.

Just be honest, make sure you're really reflecting your true opinions.

Remember also that a so called well paying career won't be paying too well if you can't stand doing the work. Stress is expensive, in more ways than one.

This is self evaluation, using jobs and careers as a method, rather than trying to describe yourself to yourself as a character reference:

Example:

Which would you rather be:

Doctor
Teacher
Business person
Accountant
Lawyer
IT specialist
Creative media

The choice could be anything. Here's a result at random:

Doctor Don't want to look at sick people all day
Teacher Don't like the education system, the pay or anything else
Business person Dislike the environment
Accountant Too detail-oriented, too picky, all office work
Lawyer Don't like the environment or the people
IT specialist Really not interested, looks too mechanical.
Creative media Like the environment, the work, and the people

All preferences. All related to the work environment, etc. Those rejected careers would drive the person that chose creative media up the wall. Those who preferred the other careers also probably wouldn't go anywhere near creative media.

The preferences are good self evaluation. What you don't like is as important as what you do. To a person whose preference is creative media, the other jobs would be like a desert.

It also means that your preferences tend to apply to related jobs. A person who doesn't want to be a doctor wouldn't relate well to the medical profession.

A person who loathes the idea of being an accountant would suffer some real strain in any accounts-related work.

Something called a good career may be good for some people, but it's murder for others. The lack of interest is a good decider.

Your own personal interests are another useful tool.

Let's say our creative media person has a few choices in creative media:

Writing
Film/TV production
Graphic art
Music
Dance and choreography
Sculpture
Modern art

This is potentially an area for having to make some tough choices. Many creative people are interested in anything and everything creative.

It's essentially the same process, but the creative media person doesn't want to block any options. The career choice has to allow for development of a career, perhaps across multiple streams of media.

Which, incidentally, is what most career plans now do.

Right from the start, you can use your preferences and interests to work out a very flexible, effective, career path, and give yourself a lot of additional options.

Basic qualifications in most professions allow for further qualifications and degrees. You can see why the career path is really considered a series of options. People don't just become a doctor or a lawyer any more, either. They have the base level skills to specialize, and develop according to their preferences.

Even during a career, decisions are made on self-driven preferences, to a very large extent. The individual is the driving force.

At this point you know what you want to do.

This is where your preferences really decide for you.

Your skills are the working version of your preferences. The things you like doing, the things you're good at, are your strong points.

Those are the reliable skills that make you competitive. They're the skills that you know will work for you.

They're also the ones where your confidence is strongest. You know your performance will be good.

In careers, performance is a very important part of your work. If you've ever done a job where your performance was patchy, or inadequate, you'll recognize the elements of what makes for a very bumpy career path.

The preference, naturally, is not to be in that position. Many people do in fact choose careers where their talents and skills are average, performance is average, results are average. The career result is nothing special, either.

People are far more productive, and far happier, doing jobs they like. Some people become millionaires, almost in passing, simply because they're doing something they do better than anyone else.

You are the best possible guide to your career choices.