When you’re making decisions about subjects to study, whether at university, or as choices for your GCSEs or A-Levels, it helps you to have a career in mind. An overarching aim makes it simpler to break down all the choices you have to make between where you are now and achieving that objective into simple decisions that can advance your cause or hinder it – so for example if the career you’ve picked is Accountancy, it helps you choose A Levels that make achieving that goal more likely: maths based subjects will help you, a full slate of humanities might not.
That said, this school of thought does put all the weight of your decision making on one big choice: what do you want to do for a career? Today it’s that question we’re putting under the microscope, to ensure that as you choose a career, you’re able to do so with confidence.
The most important thing you can take into an account when you’re choosing a career is what motivates you: what makes you feel like you’ve done a good day’s work.
If it’s financial reward that you focus on at work (be at a weekend job, paper round or the potential future salary your studies could lead you to), you need to bear that in mind, and aim yourself at a career that values that drive. Working in a sales role often means your bonuses are linked to your performance, which should ensure you find the job satisfying.
If you’re more focussed on outcomes, on seeing the results of the work that you do, you need to think about jobs with a practical element, jobs that let you easily quantify how you’ve impacted people’s lives when you lie down to sleep at the end of the day. Occupational Therapy jobs, for example, are about helping people adapt to lives impacted by disability, injury and age, so you’ll be doing practical work and to help people live fuller lives, which in turn rewards the part of your brain that’s looking for concrete results.
It’s also worth deciding whether some of your dreams and ambitions are the basis of a career, or something to kept for hobbies. Don’t forget while most successful wanted to be in a band since they were a child, they’re a small subset of every child that ever wanted to be in a band.
Deciding, ultimately that your passion isn’t to be the basis for your career doesn’t mean giving up on it. In some ways it allows you to enjoy it more purely: if you’re not struggling to earn money from acting, for example, it can never get associated with the stress and misery of a job. It will remain entirely a pleasure.