20 Great Questions To Ask When Choosing a Career
Choosing a career is the most significant investment of your life and time that you will make. The selection of a career field obviously will determine what you will be doing during this time, what kind of life-style you will enjoy, and your level of fulfillment. However few will select a career field and stay with it for their entire adult lives. The average person graduating from college today will have four separate careers and several jobs with each career. As a result, your criteria for career selection will be very important to you. Choose wisely! Here are some questions to ask that may help. – Bobb Biehl, The Questions Book, p.41.
(1) What contribution would I like to make to others? No amount of money will offset a career that is not fulfilling. You will be most fulfilled when you know you are in a career that makes a contribution to society and you know your efforts are important to that contribution.
(2) Do I have the proper training to make that contribution? Find out the education and training needed to be an asset to the career field you are considering. In a time of rapid technological change, continuing education will likely be significant to you.
(3) Am I prepared to pay the price the career will demand of me? This question is not simple. You must ask yourself what kind of time and emotional energy will be required in light of your commitment to non work responsibilities.
(4) What is the work environment that allows me to do my best? Do you like working inside or outside? Do you like a fast pace or a slower, more steady routine? Do you like change or predictability?
(5) Where will I be in this job in ten years? Picture your position, your income, and your responsibility ten years from now. Would you be content with what you envision?
(6) Will a person I respect in the career be willing to talk to me about it? Look for someone with gray hair in the career or company you are interested in. The person can provide a wealth of wisdom about what you would be expected to do and what the career might hold for you. Find out the good and the bad. Every job has both.
(7) What would the ideal boss look like? Do you need structure, or do you need lots of freedom? Can you work with a boss who is fairly autocratic, or do you need a more participative style of leadership from your supervisor? Should you be on your own?
(8) What are the ethical challenges I will face? To find this out, you need to talk to an ethical person in the prospective career field. The more you can find out ahead of time, the better you can prepare yourself to keep your integrity.
(9) What is the reputation of the company I’m interested in? Go to the library [internet] and get help in researching articles and information about the company. Find out its reputation among the critics.
(10) What is the market for the product the company offers? Some products have a short-lived life span. Some high-tech companies have products that can become obsolescent in a few years. Your future is tied to the company, so know something about its future.
Other Questions to Consider
(11) Do I need to have increasing levels of responsibility to be happy?
(12) What kind of people will I be working with?
(13) What would an average day look like in this career?
(14) What kind of non work life will I have?
(15) How much travel would I be comfortable with?
(16) Am I open to moving around the country?
(17) What are the annual sales of the company over the last few years?
(18) In what ways will my job challenge me?
(19) What weaknesses could hinder me in this job?
(20) What strengths would make me an asset to this company and career?
Doug Sherman is founder of Career Impact Ministries, a Christian organization that helps business people integrate their faith and vocation. Mr. Sherman’s career started with service in the Air Force Academy and followed with a degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is the author of several helpful books on your vocation including: More Than Ordinary: Enjoying Life with God; How to Succeed Where It Really Counts; Keeping Your Head Up When Your Job’s Got You Down and Your Work Matters to God & How to Balance Time Demands (co-authored with William Hendricks).