How can I pick between two different career options?
You have hit a fork in the road. You’re tossing up between two different career options and you’re not sure of which one to choose? Each has its own benefits and challenges and it’s almost time to make a definitive choice. The following are some of the key areas that you can use to think about as you decide between which option is the best fit for you.
Compare the day to day tasks
The best way to see if a job is a good fit for you is to try out the tasks that you will be doing every day. So in comparing the two career options, find out what tasks are often performed in each and spend some time doing those tasks yourself. Then spend some time reflecting on your experience. Which of the tasks do you enjoy and which better used your skills? Are the tasks from one job more enjoyable than the other?
Compare the pathways
Studying and choosing a job opens up certain pathways into future opportunities. Is the door that opens from one of the jobs more appealing than the other? It might also be that one job opens up more future opportunities than the other, and that this could be a key deciding factor.
Compare the learning potential
Lifelong learning is key to a successful career. In the changing world of work one of the only constants is that you will have to continue learning for the rest of your career. When you compare the two jobs that you’re considering, does one give you access to learning more skills? Which of the two jobs will provide you with new skills or training that’s relevant and valuable? If the learning potential is much higher in one job than another, it could well be worth factoring this into your decision making.
Compare the impact
Every career has a different impact on the planet, people and the economy. When you compare your two options does one stick out as being significantly more positive in its impact?
Compare the support and training that will be provided by your employer
Every organisation has a different support and training structure. This can lead to an incredible acceleration in your career, and in your learning if you happen to be in an organisation that is particularly focused on developing your talent. If you feel like one career will give you access to more valuable training opportunities or even greater support for all areas of your life, it may be worth following this path.
Compare the lifestyles
Your career will have a huge impact on your lifestyle. Have you learnt about the lifestyle that accompanies the two careers you’re looking into. What are the hours? Is there much flexibility in terms of where you work? Is there much travel involved? This is such an important question and can be a make or break when comparing the two career paths.
Compare the transferability
Some careers will help you to develop specific technical skills that are relevant to one field. Other careers will help you to develop a broader range of transferable skills that can be applied to any industry, for example sales or marketing. If you are tossing up between two careers it might be worth considering if one career and the skills it will help you to build will give you more transferability in the future.
Compare how you will feel in the career
This factor is not to be underestimated. As you are going to be spending over half of your waking life working how you feel in your career on a day-to-day basis is important. Is it a fun work environment in which you can have a laugh and enjoy yourself? Do you get along with the broader community in the industry? This factor is often forgotten when deciding between two career pathways, but it is such an important part of your work life. If you enjoy how your career makes you feel, you are more likely to last the distance.
Compare the income
What you will be earning in each career is worth considering. It may also be valuable to get an understanding of your future earning potential in each of the career pathways. We have put this element last as it is often what most people think of first, when choosing between two careers. It is important and the more you earn the more opportunities will be available to you, but it is not the only element to consider.
Experience them and don’t worry if you make the wrong choice first
Don’t worry if you weigh up all of these elements and are still not sure of what to do. One alternative is that you choose to get experience in one and trust that the experience will give you the feedback that you need to decide if it is the right path. You can always change to the other career if you don’t feel like it’s not the right fit once you’ve tried it.