Career Choices: 'Dad Said…'
‘My dad was in the business and loved it. He claims I will love it, too,’ a student recently told me when I asked what their motivation was for applying for a specific role. I caught myself feeling very unsettled with this statement, yet I was not entitled to question this further, much as I felt I had the student’s best interest at heart.
Choosing a career path after University can be one of the most challenging and most thrilling decisions a student will have to make. For some it’s a decision taken independently while others rely heavily on external advice and guidance. But what happens when one opts for a career that has been recommended by someone else due to the latter’s personal experience?
I have come across quite a few students who are about to embark on career paths that a very close family member, most likely a parent, have advised them to take. Factors like the potential of an exciting career, sizeable salaries, versatile clients, and ample opportunities for career progression are always part of the argument. Is this right or wrong? And should one even question this?
The danger here is not so much that one might overlook their own wishes, needs, and values for the sake of others’. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with considering the opinion of those who love us and only have our best interest in mind and at heart. It is what happens when others’ views become our excuse for not exploring our own values, our own needs, and our own interests and aspirations. Without such evaluation and awareness, how can we really know – let along articulate – our strengths, our qualities, our attributes and our motivations?
Let’s take this a step further… How, when one has not spent time to really assess their career interests and options, will they be able to convey their motivations, their passion, and their enthusiasm for the role to a potential employer? Yes, we all have strengths, skills, and qualities, but don’t we put them to better use when we are actually energised and motivated to utilise them?
To conclude, career decisions will be affected by many factors, including personal, academic, and cultural, to name a few. Still, as it is one of the first most significant decisions a person will make in the beginning of their adult life, it is important to remember that in the process it is not only the awareness of career interests that will take place. Most significantly, it is a wonderful opportunity for self-reflection and self-awareness, discover one’s self, who you are, where you are, where you wish to get, what you need, and what you have to offer. That is why, when opting to follow someone else’s recommendation for a career choice, it is very important to have somehow achieved this self-awareness.
Warwick Advantage offers a wide range of tools to help you with your initial self-assessment and evaluation. Give it a go, you’ll be amazed at the breadth of resources:
And remember, my colleagues and I are always here to discuss Career and Employability related issues with you.