In school we are taught that we can be anything we want, but by the time we leave college, we are scrambling for any job that will put food on our table. After a few years, we find ourselves still working in that job and asking ourselves, "How did I get here?" Much more than picking up whatever job pays the bills, career exploration helps college students and professionals alike to determine their capacity for fulfillment in certain career fields.
Get to Know Yourself
One of the advantages of career exploration is the emphasis on self-awareness. With the countless assessments, evaluations and tests that exist in the realm of long-term career development, you stand to learn quite a lot about yourself that you never knew before. You will answer such questions as: What are my strengths and weaknesses? What brings me the most joy? How does my personality affect my ability to do certain jobs? What are my deepest values and priorities?
Transcend Old Structures
Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Your grandfather was a gourmet chef, your father was a gourmet chef, and you are being groomed to take over the family business. Career exploration can help you to find out what you truly want to do with your life, not just what was handed to you at birth. Or perhaps you got into computer programming because it was the safe and responsible path, when really you were called to be a scholar or a scientist. Career exploration can help you to break out of a stale mold that no longer honors your deepest self.
Improve Your Skills
Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
During your exploration of different potential career paths, you will invariably notice that there are skills that you have let fall by the wayside, and you will be inspired to brush up on these skills. You may discover that many different career fields are requiring new skill sets that you have yet to acquire, prompting you to enroll in some community college courses or night classes.
Find a Job You Enjoy
Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
Ultimately, the goal of career exploration is to land you in an exciting new field that will leave you feeling fulfilled about the work you do. In this way, a little bit of research can go a long way, and can indeed lay the foundation for a long and deeply satisfying career.
- Let Your Life Speak; Parker J. Palmer
- Your Career and How to Make it Happen; Lauri Harwood
Parker Janney is a web developer and writer based in Philadelphia. With a Master of Arts in international politics, she has been ghostwriting for several underground publications since the late 2000s, with works featured in "Virtuoso," the "Philadelphia Anthropology Journal" and "Clutter" magazine.