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Career is derived from a French word “carriere” which means ’race course’ or ‘road’, which in turn is from a Latin word “carrus” which means wagon. Career is a person’s occupation and profession; one’s calling in life that involves formal training or education. It is a lifelong course, a learning process and work an individual engage in all through his or her life time.
Selection of a career is a difficult process. Many people have an idea of what they want to do but do not have the adequate plan or how to go about it. Right choice of career leads to life satisfaction, commitment and happiness while the wrong choice leads to unfulfilled end, unhappiness and sense of not achieving in life.
The point of occupational choice is a very critical stage in life. Choosing a career is an extremely important life course decision making process. It involves choosing a field of expertise out of the available choices. There is no fixed age of making decisions of career selection as long as one has a goal, educational maturity, insight, knowledge of personality, interest and what one want to do in life . Many people choose their careers early and blindly without discovering themselves. Career choice should be made carefully and without rush as it determines one’s life style.
Many people make their choices in secondary schools which opens them to the fields of specialization in the University and employment opportunities. Many factors influence the choice of career but the most important of them all is the intrinsic values and personality. Before making a career choice, know yourself, study yourself, know who you are, what you are good at, your strengths, values, skills, interests, what you enjoy doing, talent and hobbies. After this, match the inner value with a career and make a job out of it. The career must be achievable and must be the new of the society. The inner values serve as drive and motivation as one pursue his or her career.
Broaden your options
The next thing after self discovery is to broaden options in the area of expertise and not to narrow them down. The strengths in the area of expertise should be worked on. Also, development in other areas related to the field of expertise should be carried out. Students should not narrow their focus and streamline their decision; they need give room for diversity and flexibility. For example, if Zoology is the course of interest, one could study related courses like Animal husbandry, Veterinary, Zoo management and the likes.
Get Educated on your Chosen Occupation
There must be pursuit of educational attainment required by the occupation. More knowledge, formal education, learning process must be sought on the desired occupation. The occupation must be acceptable in the society and must address the social issues. The sustainability of a job should be taken into consideration before choosing it. It must be able to stand the test of time, survive and thrive in any condition; it should not be the one that will go into extinction in the future. Both the short-term and long-term goals should be considered.
Talk to People
Having conversations with people in the field of interest is a great step to be taken in career selection. Questions should be asked from some people. These people serve as mentors who will guide in the journey, they have the experience, they have the knowledge of the strengths, weaknesses and also the knowledge of how to balance the two and live a happy life. Their advice should be taken into consideration, lessons must be learned from their past experiences, their mistakes and pitfalls must be avoided and their fears should not be listened to. Also, their values and beliefs should not be changed but instead be closely held. Some occupations are inheritance bequeathed to individuals and thus run in the family.
Parents, teachers, interactions with friends, members of the society, career counselors and the social or life context are other factors that influence occupation choice among youths and teenagers. Parents, elder ones in the house and older members of the community serve as mentors and role models for young ones. Children tend to develop interest in the occupation of older members of the society especially the parents. Family members provide learning experience and helps in the socialization process which determine the choice of career later in life.
In an household where the father is a medical doctor and the mother a nurse, there is a great possibility of their child(ren) to choose a career in the medical world. Such teenager has been unconsciously influenced by people around him. It is mostly seen among youths to take up the profession or related areas in the profession of their loved ones and those they look up to. Parents teach their children their skills which may later lead to the development of talent and interest in that particular field.
Schools and teachers also help their students to choose their careers. Various tests are organized and an individual is placed on in the aspect with the highest percentage. In cases where such tests are absent, the school place students in fields based on the student’s prior academic performance. Those that are good in calculations and numbers are usually advised to go for a science or commercial courses while the rest are directed to humanities and arts classes. Some school management sometimes plead with the parents of their students so as to review the student’s choice of career.
The economy condition and social circumstances also influence the choice of career. Some youths choose the professions reigning in the society while some choose the ones people refer to as ‘hot cakes’. They chose the professions that are attached with high remuneration, prestige, high social status, and respect from the society. Social occurrences can also determine a youth’s choice of career selection. Increase crime rate, corruption, Insurgencies can make a student have interest in choosing a career in Police Force, Nigeria Army, Civil Defense among others. The occurrences of deadly disease can make an individual settle for careers in the health care system.
Allow your Children to Follow Their Passion
Moreover, parents should not dominate the decision making process. There should be a balance. Their roles are to guide, advice, assist and support the children by sending them to the appropriate institution that fits in the child’s choice of career. The parenting style determines whether a child will discuss his choice with his parent. Parents and teachers should not be autocratic but democratic so as to prevent a breach in the mode of communication in the house. Some parents are too busy and thus not involved in their children’s choice making process. The non – involvement of parents leads to the wards’ wrong choice of career.
Barriers against Choice of Career
There are many barriers confronting the choice of career. Some are lack of financial resources and to attend the institution of choice to achieve the optimum goal. Some goals could not be achieved due to lack of money. Difficulties in getting admitted to the University of choice and for your desired course. These barriers inhibit the actualization of goals there by making them settle for the second best alternative.
The Way Forward
Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations, educational establishments, career counseling bodies and agencies should organise programs that will expose students and their parents or guardians to various employment opportunities and career choices. Different learning techniques that will expose students to real life work situations which will give them ideas of the likely situations to encounter in the work world and the realities of various occupations should be introduced.