By Deidre Bastian
So you’ve graduated from high school or college, flipped your tassel to the other side and thrown your cap in the air, while exchanging kisses, hugs, photographs and contacts, plus branded school shirts. Better still, you now have a nice graduation diploma or big, fancy degree that reads: ‘Bachelor of Science’ .
You may also have proudly made that impressive valedictorian speech that says: “I want to take a moment to thank my teachers and parents for the time and dedication they have devoted to me. Students, please give your parents a hand. Thank you to my friends, as it seems like only yesterday when we first set foot on campus.
“Class of 2013, we must be tomorrow’s positive images. It is up to all of us to make a difference, and choose a suitable career path as we move forward.”
Sounds dandy? The speech is dazzling, but ‘Mr Reality’ wants to know what is next for you? Where do you go from here? Have you even sat down once to figure out your next step?
Graduating from college is a major milestone, and some graduates have not figured out specifically what they want to do in their career. Should I ask if are they are properly equipped to operate in the real world?
Making a career choice requires getting in touch with you! Tapping into your intuition and really listening to your heart to better assess life and create a vision of what you want to accomplish or do as time moves on.
My (deceased) father always reminded me: “Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does with it while he or she is alive”. This is so true.
Graduates, chat with people who are employed in your desired career. Ask them such questions as: “How do you enjoy working in this career after all these years?”; “What is it about this job that you like the most?”; “What are the downsides to this job?”; “Do you find that this job lets you have a good work-life balance?”
Look for breadth in your career choice. Instead of trying to narrow down your options, it can be helpful to keep open as many as possible within your chosen trade, profession or field of expertise. This will be worthwhile to give you increased flexibility.
Listen to advice but make your personal decision. Parents, teachers and friends mean well, but it is you who has to feel comfortable with the cloak you wear, the boots you strap on and the daily routine that you adapt to. Remember, the difference between earning a good living and living a good life is enjoying what you do
Don’t be put off by stories from hear-sayers who are not affiliated with your career. Be polite but do your own research, additional training and follow your convictions, as onlookers may not be able to comprehend what you might bring to a new career with your previous experience.
It is a good idea to write down your ideas, as self-analysis is good. You can include a few of these hints in your list: Things I do well, things I do poorly, things I’d like to learn to do well, things I’d like to stop doing, peak experiences and things I believe in (values).
For each item, we also need to include a short-term goal (one year or less), a long-term goal (two to five years) and the preparation necessary to reach your goals; the obstacles to overcome; and a projected date you expect to reach your goals.
After completing this task and discussing it with your parents or guidance counselors, you should have some idea of what you want to do. But note: Once a decision is made, it is not necessarily carved in stone.
In fact, I feel high schools should teach students more about life skills or career paths, which is why I maintain that a ‘Career Path’ subject course be implemented in all high schools. This is so that upon graduation, students would have no difficulty in answering the question: “What’s next, now that you’ve graduated?”
How do you make a career choice when you don’t really know what you want to do? It’s important to recognise that career choices are not made based on any one factor. Everyone is different, and what works for one graduate will not necessarily work for another or make a good fit.
Finally, it is not easy knowing whether or not the career we choose will suit us for a lifetime, because making a good career choice is actually a lot more than choosing a job - it’s about choosing something that will provide us with a conscientious lifestyle and balance.
Chart your steps carefully and do not decide until you are fully prepared. If you need time, take time to discover yourself. So until we meet again, fill your life with memories rather than regrets. Enjoy life and stay on top of your game.
NB: Columnist welcomes feedback at email@example.com
COLUMNIST: Ms Bastian is a professionally trained graphic designer who has qualifications of M.Sc., B.Sc., A.Sc. She has trained at institutions such as: Miami Lakes Technical Centre, Success Training College, College of the Bahamas, Nova Southeastern University, Learning Tree International, Langevine International and Synergy Bahamas