Our career path lies in our very own hands.
Your career choice should depend on your perceived happiness on the job, the potential rewards, and your chances of success. This may or may not have anything to do with your college degree.
It used to be that your college course dictated the path your career would take. Such no longer holds true today, thanks largely to technological breakthroughs, increased job diversity, changing skills requirements and short-term learning opportunities. Agri-business graduates can now find work as web programmers, nurses as encoders, engineers as HR professionals, commerce graduates as hotel staff, and tourism graduates as bank tellers.
Nowadays, only specialized careers such as law, medicine, engineering and the like have stringent educational requirements. Increasingly, companies are starting to treat college education as just a basic foundation for employee skills building through training and development at work. If you can communicate well, can do your math, and have good comprehension and analytical skills, you have a pretty fair chance of landing a very good job whatever your degree.
This development now poses a dilemma to a lot of graduates. Take a job you have prepared four or five years for in college? Or explore non-degree-related possibilities? If you decide to explore, what are your chances of success?
To help you find the answers, you first have to ask the right questions:
What are my real interests and penchant in life? Will I be happy if I take this job?
Many people enter college unsure of what they want to be in life, and this is a pity since the college years strongly impact on adult life. They take up a particular course for a number of reasons. There’s parental influence (‘’My father is a lawyer so I want to be a lawyer too.”). Another is peer pressure (“All my barkada are taking up engineering.”). There’s the perception that it’s a cool course to take.
If you took a course you wanted -- and you believe you will enjoy doing something along that line all your life -- then by all means hunt for a job related to your degree.
But if it was not a good choice for you -- and a related job would make you miserable and unhappy -- then consider applying for the job you really like even though unrelated. If you are not equipped with the right skills, consider taking specialized non-degree courses. That little investment will spell a lifetime of difference. A prospective employer may even give you credit for self-honesty and for having the guts to make a correction early.
When we opened a web production company a couple of years ago, one of the applicants for web designer was a lady who finished accounting and worked at a large bank. She loved the Internet so much she took special courses in web design after office hours, and later designed and developed her own personal web page.
Her skills were raw and limited compared to the other applicants. However, her interest and commitment to learn shone through and she was hired. In a few months, proper training and exposure enabled her to surpass her more skillful and experienced co-workers in job performance.
Will this career be financially rewarding?
One deciding factor for selecting a course is financial viability. This factor triggered mass enrollments for nursing, physical therapy, computer programming and other hot majors at one time or another. Later, oversupply and dwindling demand forced graduates in saturated fields to make a career shift.
Ask yourself if your chosen career is still financially viable. Your answer, together with those to the other questions above, will guide you down the right path.
Do I have an advantage or a handicap? What are my chances of success?
If you decide to take an unrelated job, check out the competition. Will your degree be a handicap or an edge? An engineering graduate going into HR management may have fewer people skills compared to a psychology graduate. However, he will do well in HR systems such as compensation because of his strong background in math. In fact, many engineers who excelled in the HR profession generally had their start in compensation.
Meanwhile, some entry-level jobs offer an equal start to everyone regardless of course. Clerical, secretarial and administrative tasks are very similar across departments, mostly involving data input, report preparation, record-keeping, coordination. If you are content to stay in such jobs all your life, then there’s no need to worry about whether you have a competitive edge or not. But if you want advancement, then this is something to look into.
Taken together, here is how the questions can be used to guide you:
Are you happy with your course and do you look forward to a career connected to it? If you answer yes, do you think you will be happy with the potential monetary rewards? If you believe you will be, then you could pursue this path.
If you don’t want a course-related career, then look at your other options. Evaluate whether there exists a level playing field in your job of interest, and whether you have a competitive advantage or a handicap. If there’s equal opportunity and your degree gives you an advantage, you could take this route.
But if you feel at a disadvantage, then assess your chances of catching up and making it -- and whether you’re willing to take that chance. If you are, you could choose this path. If you are not, look for more alternatives and start over this line of questioning again until you come up with a positive response.
In the final analysis, your career choice should depend on your perceived happiness on the job, the potential rewards, and your chances of success. Don’t accept a job just because it matches your course or is the first one available. Make an earnest soul search first so you make an informed decision that you won’t regret later on. - Articles from Jobstreet.com