Have you been feeling the pressure lately to pursue a career that you're not sure you even want to follow in the first place? Don't worry, because you are not alone.
Choosing a career is one of the most critical life decisions you will ever make. However, it will also be one of the most significant moments where people around you will express their opinions on what you should do with your life, especially as a woman of color.
It can take time and consideration to decide what you want to do for a living, and no one else should have a say in what that looks like for you. It's your life to live and build, so don't rush or feel pressured into making a decision immediately.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right career for you. Today, we'll list some tips to help you decide what direction is best for you at this time.
Be Aware of Your Current Skills
One of the best ways to determine what career is right for you is to analyze your current skills. Knowing your current skills is essential because they can open doors to opportunities you never knew existed.
The best way to analyze your skills is to ask the following questions:
What can you do well (i.e., organization, customer service, etc.)?
What have you done from previous jobs that reflect those skills?
What do you enjoy doing?
Are those things related to each other, or are they completely different?
For example, pursuing an MC or songwriter career would make sense if you love making music and enjoy writing. On the other hand, if you're good at math and enjoy data analysis, perhaps becoming a financial analyst would be more suitable.
Find Out the Kind of Workplace You Fit In
When it comes to your career, you need to choose one where you will feel comfortable and stimulated. Therefore, finding the kind of workplace you belong in is necessary.
The right environment will boost your productivity and employee satisfaction, making it even more vital that you are comfortable with the work environment and the type of people around you.
Another factor to consider is workplace culture. To pick the environment that best matches your developmental style, you need to answer the following questions:
Do they encourage collaboration?
Do they value autonomy?
Are there opportunities for personal growth and professional development?
Physical surroundings also matter, so consider the following questions when making your decision:
Is there plenty of natural light?
Is it quiet enough for concentration, or does background noise interfere with concentration and creativity?
Will your commute be long and frustrating (or short and stress-free)?
Consider What Roles Match Your Preferred Learning Style
A learning style combines your natural preferences and the way you are taught. It's not about how smart you are or how much effort you put into learning but how knowledge comes to you.
There are five main styles: listening, reading, writing, speaking, and watching/doing. You can use various methods to learn, but there is one that feels most natural for each person.
Let's say you prefer hands-on instruction; maybe this comes from being told "do this now" at home as a child instead of having things explained.
Or you might be great at problem-solving by trial and error – figuring out what works when something doesn't work out right away – because that was how they taught science when you were in high school!
The sooner you can figure out your preferred learning style, the sooner you can decide which career options best match the career you're seeking.
Think About Your Work-Life Balance
You may have heard the term "work-life balance" before, but what does it mean? And how can you incorporate your version of what it looks like into your growing career?
First, work-life balance is managing your time between work and personal life. It's crucial for your physical and mental health to ensure you have enough time to do things outside of work. After all, life is NOT all about work; you need room to play too.
Some people prefer a more traditional schedule with long hours at the office, while others would like to work fewer hours and have more time off. Therefore, you must choose a job or career with work hours that you are comfortable with working.
For example, if you prefer more personal time, you might not like pursuing a nursing career. Or if you don't mind working long hours, working as a substitute teacher may not be for you.
Pinpoint What Drives You To Do Things
If you're struggling to figure out what career path is right for you, it might help to take a step back and think about what drives you by answering these questions:
What motivates you?
What are your goals?
What do you want out of life?
These are all questions worth asking yourself as they can help determine the direction of your future career plans.
One way to figure out how much passion there is in a career you're interested in is by asking yourself if there would be a high level of excitement no matter what happens in that field.
Even when faced with the biggest hurdles you have to overcome to get to the next level, if your passion is there, then chances are that there's a lot of drive behind this career path, and that's always good news.
Research Job Opportunities In Areas That Interest You
Doing this will give you a sense of whether there are enough opportunities in any given field and whether they're accessible to you based on your background and skillset (i.e., are they entry-level positions?).
It'll also help establish a baseline salary range so that when it comes time to negotiate pay raises or bonuses, you'll know what kinds of numbers companies expect from their employees—and try not to settle for less.
Listen To (Constructive) Advice From Others
Earlier, it was mentioned that you shouldn't let the opinions of others influence what decisions you make about your career and life. But there is an exception to people who can provide unbiased advice.
It's okay to listen to the advice of people who know you well and are happy to give an honest opinion. These people can include your friends, family members, colleagues, and other people in your network, which can be a good way of getting new perspectives on a career path.
However, you must choose these people carefully. The more time someone has spent with you over the years (and thus knows about your personality), the better their judgment will be.
It's perfectly okay to take your time and make sure you're making the right decision when choosing a career path. Don't rush into anything or feel pressured by other people's opinions, primarily since this career is based on what you want to do with your life.
You should also be able to change your mind at any point in your life, as circumstances can change dramatically over time. Don't be afraid of failure in your career; try something new if something doesn't work out as planned.
If you're still unsure about what career path to take, don't worry. It takes time to figure this out, and even when you think you have it figured out, there will probably be some bumps along the way. The important thing is that you keep an open mind and listen to the advice of people who know you well—they might surprise you with something new that leads you in a completely different direction than you'd expected.