I enjoy uncovering the motivation behind why people choose the career paths they do. Some choose careers in their passion. Some choose careers because they believe that is where the money is. Many young men told me that they had chosen their career goals based on what their father had done during their lifetime.
There is a flawed logic in using a parents’ employment history as labour market information for your own future. The availability of jobs, necessary education of the time and amount of competition all played a part in their employability; conditions that no longer exist today. This trap is particularly evident in smaller communities where a limited number of larger employers exist.
There is nothing wrong with targeting the larger employers in your community. It is important to target these employers for the right reasons. Seeking employment in maintenance simply because it paid your father well may discount your own aptitude for accounting, human resources or engineering. Check the labour market information on different positions available. You may find the duties of these other positions more stimulating.
Before embarking on a career, many of us do not necessarily know what we are looking for. Utilizing a program such as Career Cruising will help you decide on what you are interested in and what careers may best suit you. If this style of assessment does not generally work for you, volunteering can serve as a ‘hands on’ approach. Volunteering in an industry before deciding on a career will give you the best sense of what the opportunities have to offer, and the atmosphere in which they are performed in.
Know yourself! Choosing a career based on what a parent has done, or what the income level is, often sends an individual into a new career after a few years. In today’s market career changes are likely, but by gathering as much information about a career before making a decision, you are likely to enjoy your job much more.