Navigating the proverbial career maze

15Mar 2016
The Guardian
Navigating the proverbial career maze

Career guidance is important for creating and maintaining a competitive edge in today’s complex and fast changing labour market.

Career development is not a onetime session of guiding and counseling rather a lifelong process of engaging the ‘work world’ and choosing from a multitude of considerably demanding employment opportunities.

In undertaking career development, the process is influenced by many factors including the environment in which one lives and their personal aptitude and educational attainments.

For starters, choosing an appropriate degree programme is a daunting task for university students and many make this choice before they are ready. There are key thematic areas that influence career choice for young adults, these are family, school and the social culture one lives in.

To navigate successfully through the proverbial career maze starts with reflecting and admitting to oneself as to what makes you tick, and what your interests and skills are, what you enjoy doing and why enjoy it. You must also consider things you are less good at or don’t enjoy

After the soul checking you will need to find out more about the different courses, training schemes and jobs that you could move on to. To help you plan your career, you will need to find out more about the kind of jobs that are out there now and which ones will be big in the future.

After that comes the planning part, this means sorting the different options open to you into order of priority. It entails deciding what steps you need to take to get more information about your favourite options to improve your chances of success and to apply.

Lastly you must have a back-up plan. Even if you have the ideal career in mind, it’s a good idea to think about other choices in case things don’t work out the way you plan. This is especially important if you are aiming for a very popular course or career.

Think about your alternative career choices and have a second or third option ready in case your plans change. This could be a different career choice or perhaps a different route towards the first choice or a similar one.

Occupations are also classified into categories people, data, things, and ideas. So one must question do you see yourself working with people? With data? With things? With ideas? Or a combination of these categories?

Do you enjoy working with and for other people? Are you friendly and like to help others? These are questions to ask if you are considering occupations like being a teacher or a sales representatives, as well as if you are thinking of becoming a social worker or counselor among others.

Without taking these personal assessment tactics and planning accordingly, you may find yourself leading a miserable life because once you start working, you will be spending most of your life at work, 8 hours a day or more, 5 days a week 11 months every year. Choose carefully, your career is your life.