Careers: Thinking about the Future

Information on thinking about your future career and work. Here you will learn about:

  • Identifying your personal likes, dislikes and needs
  • Your motivations
  • Identifying potential careers that may be fulfilling to you based upon your likes, dislikes and needs

Every individual has unique personality characteristics which dictate their likes, dislikes and needs to some degree. You are an exceptional person with your very own characteristics, likes, dislikes and needs. The things that you like and enjoy doing may differ greatly from your friends’ or family’s enjoyable activities.

In school, many times students don’t know what they want to do the rest of their lives but they feel some pressure to make a decision. It’s sad but true, many times this decision is based on someone else’s ideas which results in a person feeling stuck in someone else’s dream – a life that is not of their own creation. This situation can cause much unhappiness and even blame and resentment, especially if you are inclined to make others happy without giving attention to your own desires.

Before making decisions about your continued education, future career, home, marriage, children, and so forth, examine yourself. Reflect on your passions desires and values. Answer some vital questions…

1. What do you like to do?
2. What do you not like to do?
3. What makes you feel good about yourself?
4. What makes you feel bad?
5. What do you want to accomplish in your lifetime?
6. What makes you happy?

Next, try to figure out what your true needs are and what motivates you. There are some basic motivation theories that indicate things that most people have in common like basic physiological needs and the need to feel safe and secure. Beyond that, many people are motivated by money and material things while others are motivated by making a difference for disadvantaged people, animals or the environment. Some have a strong desire to have a family and to nurture children. A lot of people want to avoid being dependent while others could not care less about independence. Some want to have power and to be in control while others simply don’t want that kind of responsibility. Many people have a need to be socially accepted and to be involved with people while others are loners. For some people beauty and creativity produce happiness.

What is most important for you as an individual is to discover what your needs are and which are most important and most motivating. Armed with this information, you are more likely to make good decisions for your future including family considerations, education and careers.

When you discover what your true passions are it is easier to be sure of what you want for your future. You will be happier doing something you love than, for example, if you have a strong need for social contact you will likely be unhappy in a career in which you have limited contact with people. If you have a high need for order and predictability a career that involves extensive shift-work or traveling, or one based on commissions may not be for you. If power is your driving force, you may be well-suited for management or leadership positions, perhaps even politics.

Taking the time now to discover your passions and to create a vision for your life will help you to avoid much heartache, feelings of failure and misery in the future. If you don’t know what you really want to do, don’t fret. You can always change your life course at any point in time. It’s a lot easier if you start your adult life with an objective and goals, but at the same time you need to be prepared to deal with changes. Along your path you may discover something new that adds excitement to your life and you may want to change your direction. There is nothing wrong with that. What is important is that you have a direction, that you have something to work toward, and that you feel you are accomplishing something.

Otherwise, you are likely to feel hopeless, useless, depressed and unhappy. These feelings are the result of circumstances and even though it may not always seem like it, as an adult you will have complete control of your circumstances.

As a student, your parents may make a lot of decisions for you at this time, but once you come of age your decisions will become your own responsibility. Grasp the empowerment that comes from knowing that you are in control of your own life and it can be as dull or as exciting as you decide to make it.


For a teaching lesson plan for this lesson see:
Future Career Lesson Plan

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