How do I choose a career?

This is a crucial question that every young adult must answer. However, studies have shown that it is the least addressed! Worrisome!  This is because there are far-reaching consequences the answer has on an individual’s life.

What are the factors that dictate the choice of career? Frequently money, peer pressure, imagined status, family tradition and influence by films and radio dictate the answer. What many young people forget is that the future belongs to ‘me’ not ‘us.’ That whatever you are looking for is not out there but within you! I will never forget the lesson that I learnt in a character in Paulo Coelho’s book ‘The Alchemist.’

He tells the magical story of Santiago, a shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. He later finds the treasure under the tree where he slept all the days as a shepherd. The story teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the signs strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.

The importance of making an informed career choice cannot be underestimated! Your interests, values, strengths and personal attitude should guide your answer. Understanding yourself hence becomes the first step in making this great choice. This may require the help of a career guidance counselor or/and taking of a psychometric test.

The psychometric test as well as career counseling will help you determine which careers you are intrinsically aligned to and bound to bring you the most personal satisfaction and reward.

With this new found knowledge, good research on each of the careers will still be necessary. Find out the entry level requirements to undertake on the career course. Find out the availability of the job in Kenya (some jobs may not be available in the country). Find out about the daily tasks from professionals already in the field.

Once you have explored all available options and gotten all relevant information it will be time to get focused and fly to your dream career. Of great importance is to set career goals and begin the networking process. Remember the sky is the limit!

Words of caution: Do not join the millions of Kenyans who are miserable in the wrong jobs!

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