Finding the perfect career for yourself is an essential and necessary part of life. After college, we will spend a majority of our lives working for someone else. For most people, a full work week includes 40+ hours. Therefore, it is crucial to find the best possible career that represents who we are and what we believe. Not only will it be our source of income, but it will be a controlling factor in our emotions everyday. It has the ability to influence our dreams, passions, ethics, goals, and confidence.
Any one of you that has acquired a job in the past understands that understanding our own personal criteria is a huge step in a much bigger leap. The path we choose directs our path of life. Personally, continuing to be a cashier is not my forte. Most days are dreadful and changes my attitude tremendously. This, my fellow classmates, is why asking yourself a few questions is key.
- Does location matter?
Personally, location does not matter if I remain within driving distance from my home (preferably 0-2 hours) or within 3 hours of my family if it requires me to relocate. Having quality time with my family has always been important to me because once they’re gone you can’t get that time back.
- Would you prefer the option to work remotely?
The ability to work remotely would be great. However, it would not uninterest me of a great job opportunity. Who wouldn’t want to work from home on sick days, or while sitting at the beach listening to the crashing of the waves? As much as this idea speaks to me, rejecting a career choice or offer dependent on this is not practical.
- What are your main interests?
Ideally, my dream job will forever be a veterinarian. Within my first year of college, I switched my major due to personal criteria that becoming a veterinarian didn’t offer me. Consequently, I chose my second favorite option: Human Resources. My interest when researching suitable careers has remained as helping people. A career is worthy to me when it benefits others. HR has lended a hand to me personally in the past; I crave the same platform to help others who are in my shoes.
- What are your skills?
My skills go hand-in-hand with my interests. I collaborate well with others, communicate in a timely manner, achieve goals/tasks, and most importantly I help those in need. Recently, I held a clothing drive in which I donated clothes to the homeless during the winter months. I believe these actions capture my true intentions and personality.
- What are some potential stressors?
Unfortunately, I am the master at stressing. I normally stress the most when I have rapidly approaching deadlines, a rigorous workload, or impatient people working with me. Through work and school, these stressors have a huge impact on my personal and professional life.
- Do you prefer to collaborate or work on your own?
I prefer to collaborate with colleagues. For starters, this could easily lift the pressure and stress off of everyone’s shoulders. Secondly, two heads are better than one! I believe that new ideas and processes have a better chance of being recognized or created when people are working together to serve a goal.
- What is your desired salary?
I do not have a specific number to answer this question. My desired salary depends on future partners, children, etc. If I were to live alone in Raleigh, the cost of living (comfortably) would be around $81,542. Therefore, if I have no children and remain unmarried I would desire an approximate salary of $90,000. Numbers can fluctuate based on the facts.
- Does educational requirements affect your opinion?
Educational requirements do not affect my opinion when choosing a company to work for or my career. In short, I will do whatever necessary to be able to provide for myself and my family. No questions asked.
- What about treatment from upper-level management?
Employees are the greatest asset a company has. Without workers to carry out the processes, nothing can be done. It is extremely important when offering your time to a company that upper-level management does not abuse your emotions or treat you unfairly. I assume I speak for everyone when I say that fair treatment creates loyal employees.
- What is your desired work schedule?
I don’t mind the typical nine-to-five work week or a crazy schedule. One asset I carry is that I can adapt my life around work and other obligations. As previously stated, I will do whatever schedule a great opportunity provides me.
- What are your preferred benefits?
This question provides room for negotiation. I am not very picky about what a company can provide me in terms of benefits as long as I know that my work is appreciated. Sick days and holidays/vacations are a necessity to an extent. Bonuses are definitely appreciated, but not necessarily a need. Health insurance would be great as well.
- Do you have a preference in regards to leadership styles?
Yes! In previous jobs, managers were constantly looking over my shoulder at what I was doing. I was constantly yelled at while being told to do tasks while I was already working on other tasks at that moment. The treatment I was given was unfair compared to my counterparts’. That experience changed my preferred leadership styles. Ideally, when managers see my work and build trust, I favor being given space to work on tasks independently (or with colleagues) until they are completed.
- Does diversity and inclusion matter to you?
This question is the most important of them all for me personally. Inclusion and diversity policies are a necessity when deciding which company or career to work for. It seems that many top-tier executives are white men. Currently desiring to become an HR representative/manager, I want to help change this statistic. No company deserves my time if they lack appreciation for all types of people and their employees of all backgrounds.
- What if the company does not appreciate your work?
Although it is rather hard to tell sometimes, I feel as if I am rather diligent at noticing if a company is using you or appreciating you. Many warning signs appear in direct treatment to employees or benefits they offer compared to their opponents. Do they have empathy for their employees? Do they sympathize with their employees? Are they a cut-to-the-chase company offering absolutely no leniency in regards to hardships in your personal life? These are very important questions to me. If I feel that a company does not appreciate my time and effort in which I deserve, they will lose a valuable and trusted employee.
- Does your choice support your dream future?
I say this with confidence when I say that I haven’t always had an easy life. The different lifestyle I grew up in has permanently changed my outlook on future goals and responsibility for those in my life. My one goal in life is to never let my future children/family struggle in the way I had to as a child. I am grateful for that opportunity and therefore strive to reach my potential in the business world. My career path and job dictates if I will achieve my goals. Room for growth is critical.
As you can see, these questions are questions that you must ask yourself in order to prepare for the rest of your life. Most people at the age of retirement cannot afford to retire due to changes in the economy. You must be decisive when determining what career path is best for you, if it is something you will enjoy, and if it meets your personal requirements. It will be a long journey if you do not enjoy the ride!