Choosing a career is no easy task. Deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life is tough to say the least. What if you make the wrong choice? What if you choose something that makes you miserable, or leads to stress and money worries? What if something terrible happens to that industry?
There are so many what-ifs when it comes to choosing a career. But if you avoid making these big mistakes, you should be in a good position to make a wise choice.
1. Ignoring signs of industry decline
Industries come and industries go. At one time, there was a thriving buggy whip industry, but it disappeared when the automobile became popular. Sign painters used to get plenty of business until machine-cut vinyl and large-scale printing replaced that industry. Very few career choices are bulletproof, and you need to look to the future to see if the industry you want to be in has a good chance of being around in 20 years’ time.
For example, mortgage brokering took a big hit during the Great Recession and the number of people working in that profession fell nearly 45 percent in the decade between 2007 and 2017. While the housing market bounced back after the subprime mortgage crisis, regulations have changed the industry for good and made it harder for mortgage brokers to earn the kind of money they used to make.
Do some research. Look at industry trends. Is yours growing, staying steady, or in decline? An unwanted career switch could be in the cards in five to 10 years if you’re not careful. (See also: 8 Ways to Escape a Dying Industry)
2. Choosing money before anything else
They say money can’t buy happiness. Tell that to all the people struggling to pay bills and put food on the table. However, while money — and the security it brings — are major considerations for any career path, they shouldn’t be the only aspect you focus on.
Taking a job purely for the money sends you down a path that will almost certainly result in unhappiness. We spend the majority of our lives working, and if you are miserable for that amount of time, you will have wasted your life. Sure, you’ll have a nice car, big house, and fancy clothes, but if you spend every day hating the job that provides those things, you won’t get much enjoyment out of them.
Strike a balance between decent pay and a fulfilling career. You may make a little less money, but you’ll be better for it. (See also: 6 Times a Higher Salary Isn’t Worth It)
3. Taking a job with limited prospects for growth
In most industries, there are ladders to climb. You start off on the bottom rung, you work hard, pay your dues, and…