PROBLEM #26: How Can I Know I’m Making the Right Career Choice After I Graduate High School?
What is the best way to provide for a family, and make a good living in the process? What should I do with my life? These are loaded questions, and the answers are different for everyone. There are different options, and finding the right one can be a PROBLEM. Let’s explore some of the different options, and how you can make an educated decision, and know that you’re making the right career choice for you or your high-schooler.
“A college education is key in securing your financial future.” How many high school juniors and senior hear this quote or one like it during their final years in high school? It’s usually uttered by a guidance counselor or a college rep. But is this statement universally true, or is there also another way?
What other options are out there, and how should I advise the high schoolers in my life? I need to know that I’m making the right career choice.
Determine Your Skills and Interests
First, evaluate the interests and skills of the person in question. Are they mechanically inclined? Do they like to write, or draw? What are their hobbies now? The point of this exercise is to determine if there is already a skill that with further education can translate to a viable career.
So many freshman in college have a major that is “un-decided”. While this isn’t the end of the world, eventually a field of study will have to be chosen. And if a decision is made too quickly, it will most likely not amount to a fulfilling career.
How many college graduates do you know working outside of their chosen field of study or stuck in a job they hate within their chosen field? These are both negative. Why waste time in college if you aren’t going to use the degree? And why spend time in a job you hate, when you could have chosen differently? Either of these scenarios could be avoided by making the right career choice before attending college.
College Isn’t For Everyone
You can attend college. This is the most widely assumed and most used option. And yet it is not the option that many should have taken. College is an opportunity for some to party and be out from under their parents control. If you choose to attend college, look at it as an investment in your future. Attend college with a specific career choice in mind. What and how you do in college will have a direct impact on your financial future.
It’s true that on average, college graduates earn more than those with a high school diploma or GED. Did you catch that? College graduates. College can only help you if you actually graduate. True, you may learn life lessons and forge friendships even without graduating. But in the real world of making money, companies only care if you graduated or if you didn’t. There is no variable pay scale for those who only went two and half years to college before dropping out. You either finished or you didn’t.
But that doesn’t mean you have to go to college to secure a respectable job and make good money. There are at least two other paths to take.
Trade School Can be a Viable Alternative
You can attend a trade school. These degrees are usually quicker and cheaper. Because they focused specifically on one trade or career choice. For some, this may be a good fit. Mechanics, welders, electricians, cooks, or plumbers all reasonable money-making potential. More if you start your own business providing one of these services. Which brings me to the other option.
Entrepreneurship is Also an Option
You can start your own business. There is such a variety of small business options that it would be difficult to list them all. But any service you can provide which someone will pay for can be a business. Blogging can be a business. A difficult and slow one (check out my 2017 1st quarter report), but it has worked for others, and I hope it will work for me as well.
Not to discourage you if this is the route you choose to take, but it’s reported that 80% of all small businesses fail within 18 months. To lower the risk of losing money, start your small business idea as a hobby. Work on it in the evenings and weekends just to test it out. Without a doubt, it is easier to recover from failure the sooner it happens.
So if you have an idea, try to make it work – sooner rather than later, when you have other obligations. And trust me when I say, when you are trying to support a family, failure is not an option.
Our lives are a series of choices. One of the most important decisions is making the right career choice. Yes, people change careers and jobs all the time, but a more effective path is one where you make a good choice to start out. And then, stick with it. Don’t give up on your dreams. If you want to be an artist or own your own business – Go for it. Just realize that to be a success in your job requires hard work. There is no such thing as a get rich quick career.
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