Choosing a career path sometimes creates dilemmas not just for greenhorns, but also for “experienced” people who suddenly find themselves in limbo, in the middle of their chosen career.
I remember back in pharmacy school, I was this brainy student that mainly was top of the class and even graduated top of my class. There were subtle and overtly expressed views from colleagues and some of my lecturers that I was destined to become an academic, majoring in Pharmaceutical Chemistry.
In my subconscious and later based on some of my actions, I was already starting to accept that would be my career path. Somewhere along the way, I had some time away from all the noise in my head, to get some quiet and reflect on what was next after school.
I carefully considered the different career paths for a pharmacist, focusing on the pros and cons of each and my perceived areas of strength. I finally decided I was going to build a career in the pharmaceutical industry, starting as a salesman. That was totally off tangent, placed side-by-side with my initial thoughts.
It has been almost 16 years since I made this decision and I will say it has been very fulfilling.
So what do I have to share with you, my dear reader? Consider doing the following in choosing a career path or pivoting into a new career.
“Start today creating a vision for yourself, your life, and your career. Bounce back from adversity and create what you want, rebuild and rebrand. Tell yourself it’s possible along the way, have patience, and maintain peace with yourself during the process.”
― Germany Kent
Discover your Strengths
It is a corporate cliche that you need to play to your strength. This is true to a large extent because when you do so, your chances of success will be considerably high in your chosen career. So how do you identify your strengths? Check out the 3 tips below.
Request for Feedback
Ask your friends, colleagues, and family members to tell you what they think are your strengths. These are people who know you well and can give you candid feedback. You will need at least 5 persons to give you feedback and you can easily infer a strength when it is established by a handful of them.
Identify Successful Moments
You also need to think about times in the past when you have been successful and the skills and competencies that helped you succeed. Identify a handful of them and pinpoint the commonalities in terms of the strengths you leveraged in order to succeed.
Take a Personality or Strength Test
There are quite a few FREE Strength and Personality Tests Online that you can use to self-assess or even request feedback from others (usually PAID). Examples include High5Test which helps you identify your top 5 strengths and it is free.
Others include VIA Character Strengths Survey which also helps you identify your top strengths, as well as the Strengths Profile which helps you identify what you love doing, what you do a lot, and generally what you are good at.
Do a Pros & Cons Assessment of Possible Career Paths
As I said at the beginning of this post, I did a reflection on possible career paths with a pros and cons assessment. This was actually during my National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) service year.
For example, I had the opportunity during my training to do Industrial attachments in the retail pharmacy setting as well as an internship in the hospital pharmacy setting. I also had a fair idea of what life in academics looked like. So I went ahead and did a pros and cons analysis of each career path.
Eventually, I ruled out some of them and choose the Pharma Industry. For example, I figured I have the strengths to succeed in academics from a knowledge and practice perspective. However, a particular con made me deprioritize it and that is the frequency of industrial actions that lead often-times to zero income for lecturers while it lasts. There is one ongoing as I am writing this blog post. Whew!
Get a Career Mentor
Someone who has walked a career path can easily be a valuable resource for mentorship, first to decide on which career path and secondly, to share their experience with you. From their experience, you can make a go-no-go decision.
Finally, these are guiding steps that if you take can increase your chances of choosing an amazing career. Having said that, you should know that this kind of exercise is not a one-off. You will need to constantly access and reassess your strengths, and areas of development as well as turns and bends to make in your career as it progresses.
Wish you all the best! Wanna share your experience or got a question? Feel free to use the comment section below.