How To Make a Better Career Choice for Yourself

Today everyone of us know people that look back and realize he or she had made the wrong career choice.

For example more than one in 10 – 12 per cent – of Canadians figure they “definitely chose the wrong career,” and another 24 per cent are “not sure” they made the right pick, according to a survey last year of 11,000 Canadians by temp agency Kelly Services Inc.

That amounts to more than a third of Canadians not really being happy with the career they selected.

The figures are even higher in other parts of the world, where up to half of those asked figured they’d picked the wrong career, according to Kelly’s global survey, which polled about 115,000 people in 33 countries.

In another more recent survey, 56 per cent of more than 2,100 U.S. workers polled by Adecco Group North America said they would pick a different career if they could choose all over again.

In these days and age, with so much career information available, why do so many people still continue to choose the wrong career?

The reasons are many. Infact family, friends, community and media in most cases have a crucial influence on the path we take.

But what life has to offer really is up to you.

There are several paths you can take and again it all is up to you.

Not your family, friends, school and community should decide the path you take.

It’s your life and at-least when you make your own choice you don’t feel so bad if you stumble along the way.

Unfortunately nowadays a lot of men and women are influenced by those factors above.

The family factor is the most crucial in making your  career choices.

Your father was a lawyer, your uncle was a lawyer, you HAVE to be a lawyer. I see that happen a lot.

What’s unfortunate is that we don’t realize that as time passes by and generations emerge, new jobs shape up and new industries are revealed which has more potential for our day and age.

For instance, and I will use my experience as an example. In my family if you weren’t a lawyer or an engineer, you were an idiot.

It’s just how they were raised and what their parents expected from us.

I remember my granddad, may his soul rest in peace, asking me what the hell I was going to do with a psychology degree “Are you going to be fixing others people problems with that? If they have a mental illness they need a doctor or medicines. They don’t need your help” he said.

Luckily I  became a psychologist and I helped a lot of people, working very passionate in my field.

But the majority succumb to what their parents, friends, communities think they should do.

Some enter a career that’s not a good fit just to pay their bills or student loans, thinking they’ll get into what they really want to do later. But once they get pay raises or promoted, that two years of temporary work in the wrong career stretches into five or 10 years. And the older you get, the more you realize this is not the career you wanted to get into.

Some choose the wrong career based on their desire for social status or prestige, rather than playing to their own interests and skills. Infact a lot of people feel that you are what you do.

Media images also factor in. Glamorizing some professions also steers people toward careers that don’t really suit their personalities or abilities.

Moreover I think there is too much pressure on younger people to choose not only a career, but the right career, right away after entering university. And all of this happens way before they really get to experience much of life.

To ward off a wrong career choice right from the start, it pays to do some early self-assessment, focusing on factors like personality type, learning style and interests, rather than just skills and grades. “Are you a people person? Are you hands on? Do you like routine or do you want to do something different every day?” Answers to questions such as these can provide clues to steer younger people in the right career direction.

Needless to say, you, not your parents, should be the main decision-maker in career choice.  And your decisions should be based on what you’ve learned about yourself, not pleasing your family, where you think the hot jobs are, or where you’ll earn the most money.

But most people treat work as something happens to them, or something they “are in.” They feel like victims in their jobs, when in fact they have a substantial degree of control.

Life happens, but that doesn’t mean those events have to define your path.

Most of us choose to let ourselves being carried away by the events of life. But we are not our past!

To become a personality, an individual in charge of your own life, you must write your own story.

What happened to you as a kid is just the first sentence of that story.

It is our personal responsibility to become what we want and we should not shy away from it. This personal responsibility is scary, but it is challenging and yet it is what makes us human beings.

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
― John Lennon

So, that work — the good, chosen, mature work — is an act.

It’s a decision. It’s deliberate. It’s external effort and energy every day.

It’s choosing and committing. It’s doing.


Here’s what to do if you’re already in a career and suspect it’s wrong:

  • First, make sure that’s indeed what’s behind your unhappiness, not something situational, such as a bad-tempered boss, toxic office environment or long commute, which can all be resolved by changing positions, companies or workplaces rather than switching careers entirely.
  • Next, take an “interest inventory” of your dreams, passions, goals, lifestyle preferences, communication style and personality type.
  • Along with the dreams and passions must come the reality check. So you should assess your skills and abilities and be honest with yourself about whether they’re strong enough to the match the new career you’re eyeing.
  • Once you’ve explored yourself, then explore career options that could be better suited to you. Don’t restrict research to books and the Internet; visit companies and call people in that line to learn what the job is like day-to-day.
  • Don’t forget to look at various jobs within an industry. If you love restaurants but can’t cook, find out if being a manager, host or marketing specialist within the hospitality sector would fit you better.