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A few people are given an inner conviction that they must follow a certain occupation, irrespective of money, status or obligation to family. This applies to clergy, sometimes to doctors and nurses, and occasionally to teachers and social workers. So choosing a career includes many factors such as: capabilities, qualifications, personal problems and career goals. Most people choose a career taking into account these factors carefully.
First, we refer to capabilities which are developed in college. To some, science comes easier than the arts, or vice versa. Given a particular bent, the wise course is to consult a career counselor, who will not only outline job opportunities but also discuss the student’s potential. Any worthwhile career demands academic qualifications which are only obtained by successfully completing a course of higher education. This may be lengthy. To become a lawyer involves five years of training, a doctor, seven. This raises the question of tuition and maintenance fees. In many countries, success in examinations may lead to scholarships which may offset some of the expenses. In light of this, the student must be fairly certain of completing the training from the outset.
Next, it is one thing to qualify for a job, another to get one. Therefore a realistic look at job opportunities at home is essential. Some students decide to qualify and then go overseas, either to get a job or to obtain a higher qualification, which will give them better openings back home. An essential thing for working or studying in a foreign country is a good, preferably colloquial, knowledge of the language. Another is to have friends or contacts in that country, and to be certain that one can face a high cost of living. The third, perhaps the most important, is the need for a work permit. Various schemes exist to help students and qualified people in this way, although the world recession has not made finding a position easy.
Any career envisaged is certain to raise personal problems. The first is to what extent the young person should feel committed to his or her home. There may be a family business or farm owned and run for many generations by the same family. Has a son or daughter the right to break the generation sequence? In Africa, many students are financed for overseas training by the extended family. The family expects them to return so that they may reap the benefits, admittedly financial in many cases, of their training. The same may apply to the acceptance of grants. To be successful in a career means that you must feel happy and fulfilled in carrying it out, that you must not be a ‘nine to five’ worker, and that your partner must accept its disadvantages. It pays to study the lifestyle of a person and the attitudes of a person who is already advanced in the career you are considering.
Finally, to be happy depends on the goals of the question, “What am I looking for?” If it is just money, keep out of the academic professions, however able you may be. Stick to business or commerce. If it is money, status and power, then go into upper management or political career. If you love people, then go into one of the social careers such as teaching or the Peace Corp. Any good job may mean leaving your area and environment, possibly to a large or capital city. Are you prepared to travel, move houses, be separated from your friends and stand alone ? What is even more important, is your wife or husband prepared to accept these conditions?We are, in fact, defining our priorities when choosing our career. Before finding a job, we must consider what kind of job we want and qualify ourselves. Moreover, our decisions are influenced by our inner convictions, capabilities and expectations of family. All of these factors play a role in directing our lives.