Ed Hidalgo asks, "How can a child aspire to a career they don't know exists?" (Watch: TEDxKids@ElCajon). Great question! Here are a few tips to help you explore your possibilities.
Tim Elmore asks, “What problem do you want to solve in the future?” When I've posed that question to students some answer with what they want to do – be an electrical engineer, others add a reason – I want to become a pediatrician because the doctors saved my life when I was a child, and some just stare. (*crickets*)
The key to answering this question is focusing on solving problems. This could open the door to your higher calling. And this is just the start. Consider this, if you are a freshman, you are a decade away from entering the professional workforce. So your future career might not exist.
So what problems do you want to solve? Think about it. What makes you angry (in a good way)? What motivates you to act? What solutions to you offer up for when you talk with your friends? What makes you unique? The clues are there. Once you can identify a problem you are passionate about solving, you can find the major (career) that will help you fulfill your goal.
Who are the type of people that solve the problems you identified. Discover why and how they chose their career path. What majors did they study? This will help fine tune your career vision. It's okay if it develops over time or completely changes.
Now research those careers to understand what your future might look like. Dream! To get stared, use tools like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Occupational Outlook Handbook. You’ll learn about the salary, growth rate, needed skills, job opportunities, and what majors to consider. My Next Move builds on the handbook allowing you to search by key words or industries.
With a basic idea of the career field, your next challenge will be to conduct a short 5-10 minute interview with someone currently in that industry. Since people love to talk about themselves, you won’t have a problem asking basic questions. Ask them about their education, the awesomeness of their job (problems they solve), and the things they wish they didn't have to do.
You can interview professionals in your family, at their place of business, over the phone, or by email. CareerVillage is a place to ask current professionals your questions. And if you are an upperclassman, you can job-shadow, intern, work part-time in that field.
If you want a few career aptitude assessments to consider, contact me (blog, email, social media) for some recommendations.
This is just one step towards your higher calling.
Through student ministry and educational consulting (career and college planning), I have enjoyed guiding teenagers to discover their higher calling.