New Year’s resolutions are as ubiquitous as snow in January or opinions on social media. This year, I encourage you to identify four reasons a specific career path will help you accomplish your personal goals.
There are too many reasons why people choose careers to list them all here. Here are four that are broadly applicable.
- One’s natural personality should benefit a chosen career. For example, I’m an extrovert with a relatively short attention span. It would not benefit me to be stuck in a cubicle doing accounting, even though for many people that’s an ideal work scenario.
I chose to use my “extrovertedness” first as a journalist and then by going into communications strategy. What personality traits will guide your career?
- Likewise, within specific industries there are career paths which may be more enjoyable than others. Education is an industry, and career paths can include being a teacher or a principal. Actors can perform onstage or become directors. If you’re in marketing, do you want to do research or write ads?
Be sure you know which path you naturally desire. But be sure to ask yourself if other areas in your career field may be a good fit. If so, it may be worthwhile to invest in extra training to broaden and improve your skills.
- Pick out key goals—professional and personal—to accomplish with your career. I went into politics so I could be a middleman between Washington and the average American. Now I have new goals and working from home to run my communications strategy firm allows me to accomplish them.
What goals do you have, and how can you conform your career to accomplish them?
- Where does income fall into your goals? Many people choose low-income careers because the work is fulfilling; for some people, income is a significant reason for choosing a career or a specific job.
However, goals change. I didn’t focus on income right after college because I was fulfilled by my work and I was single. As I got older and prepared to get married, however, income became more important and my career path changed appropriately.
No matter where income falls in your list of career and personal goals, make sure you consider your financial needs now (how much college debt will you have, will you live in a high-cost or low-cost area, etc.) and in the future (how much do you want to have in savings when you have a family, prepare for retirement, etc.).
I wrote last month that it’s important to think about others when considering career paths and specific jobs. It is equally important to think of yourself—your goals, strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, and more. Just make sure that your goals are means to an end, not the end themselves.
Dustin Siggins is the founder of Proven Media Solutions. A 2008 graduate of Plymouth State University’s Business Honors Major with a Minor in Communications, Dustin has spent his post-Plymouth career in the Washington, D.C. area working in public policy, political journalism, and communications strategy. As a student, Dustin was involved in many student groups in several capacities, such as: Campus Crusade for Christ, Catholic Campus Ministries, founded PSU Republicans, Boxing Club, columnist/editor for The Clock, Student Senate, Vice President of the Dodgeball Club, host 91.7 WPCR Plymouth, PASS Tutor