Many Americans hate their jobs. This hatred can be blamed on many things: dislike for your boss, monotony, being unfulfilled at work, the list is long and varied. It’s disheartening to know so many people are unhappy in their careers, especially when you consider they took out an average of $37,172 in student loans in 2016.
There is no guarantee that a person is going to love their career choice, even if they’ve dreamed of it their whole life. Many people decide what they want to be at a young age, strive to achieve it, then hate it because it doesn’t live up to their expectations. Rarely will we find a career that syncs completely with our expectations, and even if it is everything we imagined, there is no guarantee that we will love the actual practice as much as we dreamed we would. In the real world, we must push to find one that matches us enough we can overlook the minor flaws.
So, how do you help the engirlneer in your life find the right career for her?
Here are some things for her to consider:
1) Does she want a desk job? Or does she want a job that requires physical labor?
2) Does she want a job that requires travel? Or does she want to primarily be at one location?
3) Does she want to work alone or with groups?
4) Does she want to deal with clients? Or does she want to focus on projects?
5) What is more important: money or fulfillment of another kind?
How can she determine what type of career she should have? I’m a huge fan of career and personality quizzes. Part of me just loves the psychology behind them. I suggest taking as many as possible.
Some of my favorite quiz websites are:
Or you can find several more quizzes here: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-11-best-career-quizzes-to-help-you-find-your-dream-job
Most of these quizzes give your engirlneer a broad idea of what she might be interested in pursuing. These quizzes are based on personality as opposed to abilities. It’s important for young girls to realize that much of their happiness in a career will be about whether it suits their personality not necessarily their technical abilities. For example, your engirlneer may be great at math, but the idea of sitting in a cubicle all day crunching numbers makes her cringe. Or maybe she enjoys geology but traveling for extended periods or working in extreme weather conditions might not be something she likes to do. These quizzes will help her determine what types of career environments and surroundings would best suit her.
Your engirlneer needs to be honest when answering the quiz questions. She should not try to answer questions the way she thinks they need to be answered, but rather answer them as truthfully as she can. For instance, some quizzes might ask if a white lie is acceptable. If she thinks it is, she should answer it that way (some careers may require stretching the truth, or have a lot of people in them who are dishonest). Career and personality quizzes will only help provide her insight if she is truthful with her answers. It’s important that you, as a parent and guide, explain that to her fully, because you don’t want her to end up in a career or environment she hates any more than she does.
Once she gets her results, don’t let her get discouraged if she is pointed away from a career field she had her heart set on. Help her analyze the results and encourage her to stay positive even if they don’t indicate the career she really wanted it to. A good way to do this would be to explore some of the careers that were suggested to her. These quizzes can help her figure out why her idealized career might not fit her personality or strengths, and exploring the other options with you may enliven another area of interest that she hadn’t even thought of as a career.
If she refuses to alter her ideal career, these quizzes will give her lines of inquiry about what aspects of a career are important to her. This can help her determine if she is willing to compromise on different aspects of her career.
Determining the type of work environment she ultimately wants to participate in can also offer great insight into whether her ideal career fits into her preferred environment. Most majors lead to a plethora of career opportunities: academia, consulting, government, private companies, research, etc. Each of these industries can have very different types of demands and work environments. If she loves engineering, but she doesn’t love the business side of things, maybe she should consider getting her Ph.D. and doing research and/or teaching. By exploring her likes and dislikes in this way, she can focus her academic and early career work toward a specific set of ultimate career opportunities.
By identifying what your engirlneer really wants to do with her life as early as possible, she can take a path that will lead to her desired career as seamlessly and stress-free as possible. While there will always be forks in the road, knowing her destination will help her keep her compass set to her ideal career.