Sometimes, people just get into a certain career path and stay in it without considering whether that is really what they want to do. If promotions or raises come their way, they take them. If they hear of any better opportunities, they might work towards them. If they feel terribly unhappy in their jobs, then they might think about leaving them and going back to school or finding something new.
So most career development is a reaction to circumstances that the person finds himself/herself in. But does it really have to be this way? Wouldn’t it be better to plan out your career in advance? Maybe you could do some soul-searching to figure out where you’re heading and whether you actually want to go there. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Am I happy in my present career? This is, obviously, the most important thing to consider. Are you unhappy, mildly happy, moderately happy or very happy? Even if you’re only floating along, you might still have, coincidentally, ended up in a place which makes you very happy. Most of the time, however, this is not the case.
- Do I want to continue in this field? Sometimes, you can see yourself being happier in a different field. Or in a different job in the same field. Think about what would make you happier and jot down your thoughts.
- In what field do I think I would be happy? If you don’t want to be in your present field, then maybe there’s something else that you think would make you happy? Maybe it’s something you’ve always wanted to do since you were a kid. Or maybe you had a job for a short time in that field and you felt happy being there.
- What qualifications are needed to change my field? If you decide that a change is needed, you might have to go back to school or start at the entry level of a different field. Do some research to find out what type of qualification people have in the field that attracts you.
- Realistically speaking, where can I get in five years time? This depends on whether you decide you want to continue in your field or change your field altogether. Are there opportunities within your field that you could work towards in the next five years? If you decide to change fields altogether and go back to school, set a realistic five-year goal for your career.