How To Choose A Major And A Career

When you get into college, you have to pick a major. Most people do this by asking themselves, “What do I want to do?” This is a pretty broad question, though, and let’s face it, pretty unhelpful. Some people know exactly what they want to do for a living from the start, but most of us have no idea. Then there’s the fact that what many of us want to do is out of reach in a practical sense. You might want to be a sculptor, but the point of choosing a career is to choose something which can support you, not just something you want to do. A more rational approach would be to ask yourself, “What’s something I can do which I can tolerate, which will pay me enough money to live comfortably, and which may help me to meet my goals?” Here are some factors to consider:

What the job entails

Is the job something you’ll find interesting enough to do day after day without feeling overly stressed or down? A career doesn’t have to be something that is the end-all, be-all of your existence, but it’s good if there’s something rewarding about it, or at the very least, it isn’t something that’s going to drive you crazy. Are you able to do some good through the profession? Even if you aren’t going to be changing the world, can you brighten somebody’s day or help someone get to where they’re going?

Work environment

Would you work in an office, a home office, our out in the field somewhere? Is the environment going to be calm or chaotic? Is it going to provide you with flexible work hours? Will you be able to live and work wherever you want, or in a specific city? Will the environment be conducive to your physical and mental well being?

The salary

Does the job pay well when you consider what it entails? Are you going to work 60 hours a week just to pull in $40,000 a year? Will you be struggling to pay your bills, or will you have enough funds to not only pay your bills but maybe pursue something you’re passionate about in your free time?

Opportunity

Is the field growing or shrinking? Are you going to be facing spates of unemployment in the coming years or is there a fairly good chance you’ll be able to find employment and have options as far as where you’ll live and what hours you’ll work? Is there enough demand that the profession will empower you?

It’s great to think that your career is going to be something you’re passionate about, and for the lucky few, that’s exactly what happens. But for most of us, choosing a career is a practical consideration. It’s much more sensible to ask yourself the questions above than to choose a field which has no demand, a low salary, a challenging work environment, and relatively little reward for what you give. A career that pays well and doesn’t take a huge toll on your time or emotions can support your passions by supporting you.

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