September 13, 2017
How to go about Choosing the Right Career Path
Growing up, we all imagined ourselves in various professions. I had this notion that I was going to be a marine biologist and a crusader for animal conservation in the wilderness. While that was a lovely childhood dream, my interests and my career path took a dramatic turn in later years when I started having an insatiable thirst for media. It started with an interest in books and moved onto a passion for TV and radio and in later years I could be found doing Google searches for subjects like ‘how to start a podcast’.
Wherever you are in your professional journey, making a career decision is major. Knowing how to choose a career is critical and finding the right career even more so. There are many aspects at stake:
- Personal gratification
- Growth and personal development
What is a career journey?
Imagine that you are currently at a company. After an extensive job search, you’ve managed to land the job and you are grateful to have gotten a foot through the door, but is that where it ends? Many people get complacent with the status quo and forget that even a career path needs to be mapped and defined. The job itself is not the final destination, but the journey that accompanies it is one that should last a lifetime. If you have found yourself in a comfort zone, consider that you need to find ways to map your career journey. A career journey in this day and age can take on a number of different shapes and sizes. There is a career map (both company specific and personalised), career ladder and even a career lattice that form components of the journey.
Your career journey should include some of the following elements:
Trying to experience a number of different types of industry
Finding out how to develop professional skills and proficiencies
Speaking with your superiors and peers about your career growth path
Do you want an organic career path or a professional journey with one company only
What is a career map?
From a human resources point of view, a career map is often something that guides the company organogram in terms of positions held and the gaps that there are in that company. The human resources division would normally request a growth plan from managers in their different departments so that they always recruiting the relevant people for the business.
On a personal scale, you can also create a career map for yourself. Ask yourself:
- What am I most passionate about?
- Where do I see myself five years from now?
- What are the steps that I need to take to get there?
What is the definition of a career ladder?
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘career ladder’ or even ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ before.
If your career path is a career ladder:
It is an upward climb
The employee will climb from one level to the next in a similar career path as they gain in experience
Your rank and your salary will grow based on your climb up the career ladder
What is the Career Lattice?
This is not a linear career path
- Employees can move in several directions into different job roles
- They have more than one job description
- There are many skill sets associated with the job
- This career path promotes learning, gratitude and a culture of collaboration
How do you find the right job for you?
Celeste Headlee- Don’t Find a Job, Find a Mission
Making the right career or job choice is often something that many people feel challenged with. One of the key mistakes that people make is not listening to their inner voice when it comes to taking decisions that are relevant for them. Finding the right job and career path means that you need to reflect on the following:
What type of environment and career path do you feel you would do well in?
Consider your strengths and core skill sets
Do some research and make the right education choice when you study a good qualification
Have you had any career assessments or aptitude tests? If you haven’t, why not take a career aptitude test?
If you are only starting out in your career, consider taking on an internship or attaching yourself to a mentor
Will your chosen career path be both lucrative and rewarding?
When choosing a career path, there are no hard and fast rules. One of the most important things to bear in mind is that you will need to think in terms of longevity and fit into your lifestyle. Your career must be able to sustain your interest and your livelihood in the present moment and beyond. Choose wisely.