When your lot in life is one you’re dissatisfied with, it is easy to take the first out you get. Then, when your “out” proves dissatisfactory, it is even easier to just assume that that’s just what life is like. That’s no way to make a change. That’s no way to make a choice.
When weighing career options, the best way to go about is the old fashioned way of Lady Justice. You bring out the scales. You Pro & Con.
This is very important, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t have fun. Give the process a points system, based entirely on how important each aspect is to you. It will start off arbitrarily, but it won’t stay that way. Your current job doesn’t quite cut it, and you receive another offer. You joined college with a major in mind, but it doesn’t seem for you anymore. Whatever your objections, putting them down on paper helps refine them.
Do you remember the last time you wrote an email, or a PM, or even a status update? You stopped, and you thought about the words and their consequences. You could talk and talk and talk to people, but true convictions form by the way of the pen on the paper. People are strangely reluctant to put into writing thoughts that are immature.
Quantifying each point helps you understand how important one factor is over another. Consider a job that is just fine, but your commute and timings are very comfortable. Then, you get an offer for a dream job, the kind for which you started studying in the first place. But, working there means getting a maximum of 4 hours of sleep in a day. As you put solid numbers on each single factor, you will slowly come to realize what is more important to you – sleep or fulfilling work.
Still confused? Psychometric Career Tests are a fun way to learn what drives you. You can’t take them entirely on their word – they are, after all, not Paul the Octopus. What they do is collect sample data of your interests and inclinations and put you in broad categories of prospective job opps based on your answers. You can use these to considerably narrow down your options.
You also need to measure your immediate choices against your long term goals. It is very easy to lose track of the end game while you are stuck in the now. At the end of it all, there is no one surefire way that works for everybody. But, you can use these methods to try to balance what you want to do and what you feel you need to do in the short term. Remember, it is these small choices that make up the tapestry of a long, fulfilling career.