Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos says: “One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest upon themselves. You do not choose your passions, your passion choose you.” Going by the runaway success of Amazon, this quote by one of the wealthiest persons in the world lend credence to the axiom.
Indeed, most people- students and professionals- blindly foist a career upon themselves. Visions of big money, success and reputation, lures them into making this blunder, which can severely impact physical and mental wellbeing in later life. As Jeff Bezos suggests, let your passions choose you. Meaning, do what suits you the best by allowing natural forces to identify a career rather than selecting one based on success of others.
There are several reasons why self assessment is important before selecting a career. Ancient Indian and Chinese philosophy holds that every human is born with innate skills. These can be anything from cooking to entrepreneurship, creating megaliths to designing clothes.
However, years of conventional, formal education combined with the unending rat-race to succeed in the world often inundates these intrinsic skills in humans. What started as a childhood hobby often gets buried under kilos of books containing information that can prove to be of little use other than gaining a university degree. This is amply highlighted by the fact that some of the greatest scientists and inventors of the world never attended universities or held high degrees in their field. They were commoners with a passion to change for better, the way humans live.
Ancient Chinese philosopher rightly says: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This means, follow your inborn passions to select a profession. This makes it enjoyable, turns work into pleasure or hobby and does not lead to stress.
In modern terms, self-assessment is vital to save time, money and effort. Unless you assess these skills, it is easy to end up pursuing a wrong stream of study and end up in a profession where you would be dissatisfied, despite earning money and fame.
Self assessment to select a career also helps you to convert a hobby into a lucrative profession. Those who love cooking can make great chefs with some culinary training. Those who collect stamps and coins have desire to travel the world and can make good airline crew. Introvert mathematicians often make excellent business analysts, for example.
America’s National Library of Medicine has ample research material that amply indicates people who are dissatisfied with their career are highly prone to stress related physical and mental disorders. In some, these may manifest through mild or sometimes, unseen symptoms while in others, they can become apparent to anyone. Hence, it is vital to self assess your skills before choosing a career. Job dissatisfaction leads to troubled family life and can also lead to substance or non-substance addiction, in some cases.
Avoiding these is easy. To do so, it is best to self-assess your personal interest and aptitude for a career. Here we discuss some simple steps that can help assess your suitability for a career.
Once again, we dwell on the topic of innate or inborn skills you possess. Every human on Earth thinks differently. This thought patterns reflect upon their behavior, especially during childhood. Understandably, kids are curious and get easily attracted to everything from an ashtray to aircraft.
As we grow, this curiosity wanes in its natural course and our interests become more focused. As years progress, this passion gets restricted to one or two spheres. We find we can excel doing something like playing a sport or music instrument, solving complex mathematical puzzles or helping parents fix the car. Things that hold your interest generally reflect your innate skills. For example, kids and teenagers who are deft at playing a musical instrument are creative and hence can opt for a career where this skill is essential to excel. Solving mathematical problems indicates very high pedagogic skills that can be of great use for careers in accountancy, IT and engineering, among others.
Scout for careers where you believe your intrinsic skills can be put to best use. Understandably, some of these careers may not be as glamorous or appear lucrative at first sight. Yet, further exploration will reveal, you stand a chance to strike it big by combining an educational degree with your passion. Every profession on this planet is lucrative, provided you have the right skills and the aptitude to make it to top.
Here, parents and counselors at schools can help you shortlist a career. Everybody would love to see you succeed in life. Hence, speak openly to parents and counselors about your career choice and how it best suits your inborn skills. Seeking their opinion is vital since they can guide you in certain areas of life where you have little or limited knowledge. Also, parental support is vital to fund and pursue any higher education.
Before finalizing a career, visualize yourself as doing the work it entails. For example, those aspiring for a physician’s career can envision themselves as one. Look at where you would realistically stand- say 10 years later. Of course, future is unpredictable. Yet, set a goal about where this career can take you in the short, medium and long run.
Read about the career you shortlist. Find out the various pros and cons such as availability of jobs, possibilities of entrepreneurship, median salary ranges, career and financial growth prospects over a span of a decade and other possible scenarios. Finalize the career if it suits your personal, financial needs and allows for expanding your skills.
Keeping your skills updated is prerequisite to successful career. To keep your skills fine-tuned, you need to be interested in the field and career. Else, all your efforts could be half-hearted. This can lead to poor performance at work or business. Alternatively, you could get stressed with the job since basic interest is lacking.
Remember, self assessment is important at every stage of the career. Millions of people around the world get the right career only after several hits-and-misses. They succeed after having attempted other jobs or professions that did not interest them. Such success often comes at huge cost: you will have wasted precious years of life before settling on a career that appeals to you in every manner. Hence, following the three steps listed above, may help you self assess your aptitude for a career.