You will agree with me that career talks begins from the early stages of childhood. The question what do you want to be when you grow up is a typical example of our first contact with “Career Life”.… Lawyer, Doctor, Police, Banker, Engineer, Space shifter, Nurse, Footballer, Native doctor, some even said Michael Jackson.
As little as we were back then, every response to this question were with so much pride and enthusiasm such that some of us choose our profession based on how hefty the word sounded. For instance, my younger brother would always scream “Aeronautic Engineer!!!”. Of course, we were so young, what do we know? Strangely your response to this question will tell how ambitious or serious you were as a child. If you ever made the mistake of saying I don’t know yet. You literally become a “menace” to the society. Those big aunties or uncles and even parents will give you the look that says I pity you, look at your friend/sibling with a big dream while you have non to call yours. Basically a competition of who was going to be great based on their so called “dreams”.
I used to feel like I was the dumb one because I wanted to be just “A Banker”, it sounded too simple compared to the bogus career my little brother chooses for himself. Whenever he spills out those words, my whole being is filled with jealousy on how a little human could aspire for such a big profession as that. Not until the day we discovered the meaning and what the job entailed. And as soon as he learnt he most likely has to fly a plane, his career ambition changed shape and he is currently in his final year studying Pharmacy. How cliché!
Career choice for everyone is different. Some find themselves there, while others actually wanted it and chased it. But the best advice I ever received and can freely give out in terms of career path is let your experience, personal interests, and constant learning mould you.
Let’s face it, life experiences are what makes up a person’s personality. Everything that happens to us in life happens for a reason. No two persons can ever share the same experience and that is what makes each person unique in their own way. When asked why she choose her career, a friend of mine said;
“My Mother was a Home Economics teacher and she encouraged me to learn about nutrition from a young age. We’d go to the market and buy foodstuffs and kitchen utensils for her students’ practical classes, so even when I was 14 or 15 years old I was experimenting and learning, and I ended up loving it. I chose to major in Food Nutrition in University and now that I have graduated, it’s still what I am most excited about and interested in doing professionally”.
There are several other career choice stories centred around personal experiences and the above is a typical example of such. Look within, and ask yourself, what did life throw at me? What industry was I exposed to during my growth stages? Whilst seeing this person do this, did I cringe at the thought that I could do it too?…These questions and the example above will help you decide where you want your career path to be directed at. I used to say I wanted to be a banker. Why?….Whenever I had to accompany my sister to the bank anytime she wanted me to, I always admired the bankers so much that I developed a feel for the industry and eventually went in to commercial class in secondary school to chase that admiration. My experiences with accompanying my sister to the bank made me think
“Oh! I would love to be a banker like the lady at the bank too”!
Whether you are about to get into high school and wondering what department to choose or you are in the University, and even post graduate level, look around you and find out what it is you are skipping out on. You shouldn’t be experiencing difficulty in choosing which path to follow with those amazing career experiences life threw at you while growing up.
Personal interests can make up a career choice. This can also mean your talents, gifts, abilities, and what makes you tick.
Although I am quite versatile, my writing career stems from my own mother. Apart from it being a natural gift, I remember during my primary and secondary school holidays, my mom who used to be a teacher would make my siblings and I read comprehension passages and write summaries of what we had learnt. Regardless of the fact that we had summer lessons in school, every 4pm was “Mommy’s tutorial time”. And you dare not be ready by 3:50pm with your learning materials; already there were canes of different sizes ready to restore you back to default settings. I find it quite awkward seeing my mom as my teacher, because I felt we were being exposed to her, she knew each of her children’s abilities and I always felt like she was knowing too much of us as she will constantly remind you why you failed your test the other day when she sees you watching TV. So you see why it wasn’t so rosy having her tutor us??!
But I loved every bit of the comprehensions and essays, and she took her time in nurturing me to be good at it. Even in my spare time I would write, it actually reached a point where I couldn’t communicate effectively by mouth and preferred to write a note or letter rather than stand up to anyone. I started drifting from this energy goddess/talking drum into a complete I wanna be alone with my pen and paper. Although I wouldn’t consider this a negative impact, with time I began speaking with a good diction and could sway with great choice of words. I didn’t just speak, I spoke out of a well thought out and organized reasoning which was as a result of my ability to write and learn new words plus put them together in sentences.
When my mom eventually quit teaching and went into business, our lesson sessions ended and my writing ability took a break. There was no muse, nobody to read and applaud me because the cheers and remarks from her were a huge motivating factor for me to keep up with the practice and constant learning. It all began to make sense when in my 2nd year in the University, I took an elective course in creative writing and that was when I had my big break! I exceled so well and even caught the attention of my lecturer amongst the almost 400 students in his class. I came out 2nd in a creative writing test and his feedback from my script that day hit me so hard that when I went back to read through what I had written, I knew writing was for me. I decided to write more often and store them in my mailbox. Oh! that joy anytime I read through what I had written, it felt surreal! I still sometimes feel like “I didn’t write this!” whenever I look at any of my written piece. It feels almost too good to come from me. I know it might appear to some like I underestimate my abilities but truthfully, it’s just my way of expressing how amazing gifts/talents can be when properly groomed.
Experiences and interests actually work hand in hand to determine a career choice.
And Learning is if not one, the most important factor. Until a man dies; he learns every day! This is a matter of fact. Many today are contributing their expertise to various industries because of what they had learnt. This is where it is necessary to get a degree or learn a good skill. And to this I say you don’t have to attend a university to become a developer or a software engineer. The great thing about learning is it can be self-taught. Thanks to technology, YouTube videos, websites and even blogs now come with several skill empowerment platforms for people to develop themselves.
Permit me to add, with the current situation in the country, many are forced into jobs they do not like because it is what was available to them. My advice for those who fall into this category is, work with what you have and don’t be non-challant about it. Build experiences from there, at the same time figure out what you really want. Sometimes you do not have to be employed by anyone to achieve career success. You can also start up something of your own with the path that most interest you. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is self-fulfilment and happiness. And the end eventually justifies the means.
It is important to take out the time to reflect on these. The earlier you start, the easier it becomes. The moment you are conscious of what you really want from life and what you want to do, you tend to put your mind into it. Not just saying it, but also acting it so all forces of the earth will begin to fall in its place for you.
I will conclude awkwardly by saying…..I just read through this and it feels surreal yet again that I actually wrote this! Only those who read bits by bits would understand. You can go right back up to get the feel.
May all of the odds be in your favour! Good luck on your career path decision making. Cheers!