College Advice Blog

Oct 4, 2010

Choosing Your Career

Several years ago one of our junior sailboat skippers, a pretty, blonde 10-year-old girl, came stomping out of the water with a huge frown on her face. “I HATE coaches!” she screamed. “Why?” I asked. “They’re always telling you what to do!” she shouted. Duh, well, I mean, uh, . . . . Before you think this is another dumb blonde joke, let me tell you that today she is the founder and CEO of a $30 million company in the fashion industry. Some of us, even at an early age, know what we want out of life – some of us never do! We just float along wondering what will come next. BE PRO-ACTIVE. You have the power to “Be All You Can Be.”

Several years before then, I asked one of my own daughters what she wanted to be when she grew up. “I don’t know,” came the reply “there’s nothing good left to be.” I walked away shaking my head, wondering where I went wrong. Before that, I had noticed during Orientation Week at college, everyone was PRE-MED, except for the few that were PRE-LAW. After their first college chemistry course, most of Pre-Med students became “Business” majors. I’m not really sure about the pre-law guys, except the required hours to be spent in the Law Library may have made Political Science Majors out of many a good man. (After Accounting 101, many decided on a career in English, or Sociology – or maybe with Uncle Sam in the armed forces.)

So, what are you going to be, and maybe just as importantly, how are you going to decide?

Some of the things you should consider when choosing a career (or a company) are: Type of Work, Working Conditions, Benefits, Security, Hours, Pay, Opportunity for Advancement, Supervision etc. In today’s environment, “Security” has moved close to the top of the list. Near the bottom, back in the job-hoppin’ days of yesteryear. In many surveys, “Money” comes in around sixth in importance. I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “Money means nothing – unless you don’t have any.” Once you hit that minimum level of comfort, the other needs (i.e. Job Satisfaction and others) surpass “Money” on the list. (And no, I don’t know why this principle didn’t work for the Wall Street Gangsters.)

Confucius says: “Choose a career you love and you will never have to “work” a day in your life.” How many times do we read about a very successful (banker, lawyer, accountant, retailer, etc.) quitting their job and going back to school to become a (banker, lawyer, accountant, retailer, etc.)?

So how do you find your calling? Get off your duff and find out – don’t just sit back waiting “to be picked.” If you wait, I can almost guarantee you’ll be stuck with a job nobody else wanted. Bottom of the barrel. So read, discuss, attend seminars, study about the job on the internet, and find out as much as you can about the career. We all know a Jackie, who always wanted to be a nurse – until she found out about blood and bedpans.

I’m the world’s greatest believer in internships. Their biggest problem is that they usually come way after the career choice has been made – student teachers or resident doctors. That’s a little late to find out “I hate this job.” But you can take it on yourself to intern in your field of interest. Many career choices accept volunteer interns to “work” in that industry, before you’ve committed. Your pay may range from little to none, but isn’t that a good investment for your future?

So "what are you going to be when you grow up?”
Choosing a career, college careers, internships

About The Author: 
James Luther is an inspiring human being who has so much to offer. You'll be very fortune to learn from him, as his thoughts and tips come from true life experience. Check out his website "" for more insight on what he has to offer.

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