How Do I Know I’m on the Right...

How Do I Know I’m on the Right Career Path?

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

When children are young, they often dream of becoming a ballet dancer, search and rescue pilot, or explorer. Later on, however, most of them begin to think of different careers like teacher or doctor.

Picking a good career is hard; how do you know you’re going to make the right choice?

In the past, people tended to choose one career, train for it, and then stay in that career for the rest of their lives. These days, however, permanent jobs are hard to find, and people tend to switch jobs or career paths quite often. Young people starting out in their careers might have twelve to fifteen different jobs in their working life, not including summer work. Although, some of these job changes are within the same career path- people have to be much more flexible than they were in the past.

This need for flexibility is important to remember as you decide on what career path to pursue. You might start out as a lawyer but then go back to school to study librarianship, or you might use your training as an engineer to get work in theatre set construction. The important thing is to find careers that fit your skills and your personality.

Knowing yourself can be the key to finding the right career path. Do you love to talk and work with people? You might want to choose a career that allows you to do that, such as becoming a teacher or a social worker. Are you very precise and love to work with your hands? You might want to consider careers such as lab worker, inventor, or mechanic.

Your skills and abilities can also help you choose the right path. If you dislike studying and memorizing facts, for example, you should avoid careers in medicine. If you have troubles handling stressful situations, you should probably not try to get into the police or security work. You might be able to overcome these barriers, but you should consider other options before you try these difficult jobs.

Besides all of your personal characteristics, you need to know something about the working world to choose a good career. The available opportunities change rapidly, and a job that seems promising now might disappear entirely within a few years. However, knowing the job market can help you prepare for these changes.

If you can fill a need, you are likely able to stay in your chosen career path for a long time. No one can predict exactly what will happen in the next few years, but it is a good idea to be as prepared as possible. Consider your options; try things you haven’t considered before. Using trial and error will help you figure things out, and lead you to where you’re supposed to be.


Harris, Peter. “How Many Jobs Do Canadians Hold in a Lifetime?” http://careers.workopolis.com/advice/how-many-jobs-do-canadians-hold-in-a-lifetime/.

HelpGuide.org. “Finding the Right Career.” http://www.helpguide.org/articles/work-career/finding-the-right-career.htm
Wikihow.com. “How to Choose the Right Career.” http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-the-Right-Career.

Work BC.ca. “Self-Assessment.” https://www.workbc.ca/Job-Seekers/Build-Your-Career/Planning-Your-Career/Starting-and-Planning-Your-Career/Self-assessment.aspx.

Zimmerman, Eilene. “Helping Teenagers Find Their Dreams.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/jobs/25career.html?_r=0.

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