How to Pick a Career You'll Love

Jul 05, 2023

Work has that name for a reason. But a fulfilling profession can contribute to a happier life. Making the right decision can help you save a lot of suffering and provide for an enjoyable way of life.

Making the wrong decision might put you in financial difficulty, and going to work every day at a job you detest is not enjoyable.


Use these ideas to choose a career that’s right for you:

1. What do you like to do? Unless you’re fortunate, you’ll be working for quite a while. It would be smart to find a career that centers around something that you enjoy. Imagine spending 40+ years doing something that you don’t enjoy.

  • While you don’t have to keep the same career for the rest of your life, you can lose ground each time you make a switch.
  • What do you like to do? What are your interests? What could you see yourself doing for a decade or more and be happy?
  • What do you really dislike? This question is just as important.

2. What are your strengths? The best careers are enjoyable and take advantage of your strengths. What are you naturally good at? What have you become good at because you’ve spent so much time learning or practicing?

  • Not all of your strengths will be transferable to a career, but some of them will transfer quite nicely. Ask yourself what you can do better than most people.

3. What are the long-term options? Some careers have better long-term prospects than others. Think about what you could do 20 years down a particular career path. Is there the possibility to advance? Could you use the skills you build in that job and transfer them to another?

  • Avoid only thinking about the next couple of years. You’ll likely be working more than just 3-5 years.

4. What type of work environment do you prefer? Do you like the community feel of an endless series of cubicles? Your own office? Do you want to work outdoors? In a manufacturing setting? A laboratory? Suit and tie? Jeans and a t-shirt? What environment appeals to you?

5. What lifestyle do you prefer? This includes income, city/country, living out of a suitcase versus going into the same work location each day. Do you like to work nights, so your days are free?

  • Visualize your ideal lifestyle and consider the various careers available to you.

6. Consider your educational credentials versus what a career requires. Doctors need to attend medical school. A teacher in a public school needs a teaching license.

  • Determine how much additional education you’ll require for a particular career and whether or not you’re willing to acquire it. If you’re against additional schooling, then you’ll face certain limitations.

7. What careers fit your answers? Taking all of the above into account, what careers seem like a good fit to you?

The ideal profession is one that fits your ideal lifestyle and working environment, is something you enjoy doing, and at which you excel. In the future, you'll have lots of opportunities.

You might want to think about returning to school for more education if none of your options appeal to you. Even if next few years of school may seem awful, they are nothing compared to the rest of your life.

Future costs of making a bad professional decision can be high. Spend some time coming to a thoughtful decision. The time will be well spent.