Career Guide: 5 ways to choose a bad (wrong) Career
The very title of this article is already unusual. It’s deliberate. Most of the times, we focus on the right way to do things. But the truth of the matter is that sometimes, it is both insightful and helpful to examine the wrong ways to do something.
In my career coaching sessions with students – both young and older adults – I have seen recurring patterns of wrong approaches that people take in their attempt to choose a career direction. As you would expect, the wrong path can never lead to the right destination.
In this article, I will be guiding you through these wrong approaches so that you or your children can take cognizance of them and avoid them.
5 ways to choose a bad (wrong) Career
- I saw it in a movie or TV show: This present generation is one that is heavily influenced by the media. The children and youth gain their civilization from the television and the social media. And they try to pattern their lives and career after the things they see and hear on these media. But the problem with trying to pattern real life issues after movies and TV shows is that movies and television shows are hardly realistic. So when it comes to jobs and careers, it’s either a job is overly hyped or glorified, or it is presented in such a way as to ridicule those doing the jobs.
- Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a….: This is the reason many young people give you when you asked them why they want to be this or that. They tell you that it is their childhood dream, that it is what they have always wanted to be ever since they were little. If you have had this mindset or held this as a reason for choosing a career path, you need to come off that. You really need to because your mental image as a 6 year old of a firefighter does not in any way match the reality. Fantasy is different from reality. People’s childhood dream of a career is always limited by their limited exposure and is a wrong way to choose a career. With growth, development and more exposure, you will always find out that that career fantasy would begin to fade away and be replaced with something real. But if your interest persists, visit your guidance counselor, coach and the professionals in that discipline for guide.
- My parents think I should….: Sincerely speaking, no one knows a child better than the parents that gave birth to and nurtured them. Most parents have a good understanding of their children’s strengths, weaknesses, abilities and inclinations, and often have good ideas and intentions for them. So most of the times, the parents make career choices for their child and insist that the child must follow that career path. More often than not, these career choices made by parents reflect the parents’ desires, dreams or their unfulfilled ambitions. You find parents transferring their unactualized dreams of becoming one thing or the other to their children without considering the preferences of the children. As a result, there may be a poor or bad outcome because the child may not have the inner strength and motivation to weather through the storms and persevere through difficult times to reach the goal. Another way this issue manifests is in families that own businesses. Here, you find parents who are desperately hoping for a child to come into the family business. So depending on the nature of the business, the parents want the child to take a career path that will prepare them to take over or occupy a position in the business. Unfortunately, sometimes, the child does not have a flair or preference for that kind of business and may want something else.
- I didn’t know what else to study so I chose…..: This is another very common response you get from students and it’s majorly because of their unwillingness or inability to take some time to research. So their limited knowledge and exposure causes them to choose a career from the pool of what they think they know. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what else to study, try to know by doing some research. Ask questions, consult with people who are older and more experienced than you are. Gather enough information and ensure that you are in the best position to a decision before venturing on deciding or making a choice of a course or career.
- I took the ‘Intro to XYZ’ and didn’t like it, so I changed to…..: This is sad and crazy at the same time. And unfortunately, it is one of the most cited reasons why students (undergraduates) change their courses. Here is a student who has had a long term dream of studying nursing science. She has always wanted to be a nurse. Then she scales through all the entrance examinations and successfully matriculates. Now she takes BIO 101 offered by a newly employed graduate teaching assistant. And because the class is boring, difficult and not what she expected, she changes her course to something else. This is a bad reason and a poor way to make career choice. Meet any professional and ask them if the introductory courses have any relevance at all to what they actually do in real life. Making career decisions based on course work or disposition of your teachers is a sure way to make a bad choice.
Success in life is a multifaceted phenomenon. It is the outcome of rational decisions taken over a wide range of factors. Apart from the decision you make in the choice of a life partner, one other area where your decision matters a lot is the area of choosing a career path. Your career goes a long way in determining your daily routine and would ultimately determine your level of happiness and fulfillment in life.
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