- It’s okay if you are not sure what career to pursue.
Young people can easily get overwhelmed by the fact that they are going to make, probably their first most important decision in life, and they are afraid to make mistakes. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic, there are thousands, if not millions of other people in the same situation. So, instead of feeling guilty of not being sure of what you want to do in future, get help! Talk to someone (ideally a careers adviser/counsellor) who will enable you to firm up your ideas.
- Don’t mistake your interests for your abilities.
This is one mistake some young people make. They mistake what they love to be what they are good at, and as such, base their career decisions on those things they believe they love. A true test of ability is a challenge! When you are able to overcome challenges using a particular trait, then you can call that trait an ability. For most people, some of their interests fade as they mature. It may be frustrating when you find out you are studying a university course which you no longer have interest in, and perhaps lack the ability to do well in it. So if you are yet to decide, then when next you are taking stock of your interests and abilities, ensure you differentiate between what you love (interests) from what you can do (abilities). However, if the two of them overlap, you are likely to do well in that area than in other areas.
- Keep your options open
It is very common for young people to get obsessed with certain specific career ideas without considering other options. Well here is a newsflash…. things happen and sometimes our plans do not work out as we hope. When you do not have backup plans, you can be stranded. So the safe thing to do is, have at least two (or maybe three) career options in mind, if your Plan A fails, then you have a back-up plan to fall back on. For instance, if you want to study Medicine in the university, you could have a medically related course in mind as a backup plan, just in case you don’t make the required grades to study Medicine.
- You can change jobs in future.
Presently, we have more cases of people who start their professional work life in one job, then change into a number of different jobs as they grow older. In Nigeria we have a significant number of graduates who do not practice what they were trained to do. So, if you choose a career path and in future, you feel you might be better off doing something different, get professional career guidance and make a move. Flexibility is important. Never allow yourself to feel caged in a career path if you are convinced you are no longer getting much out of it. Like I said, tread with caution here, get professional help before you make the switch.