Finding the Right Career Path

Finding a career that causes you to wake up each morning with positive anticipation is not easy. In fact, according to, only 20 percent of Americans think the job they have is ideal. If you are among the other 80 percent, using life experience, online tools and the network of people you know, can be immensely helpful in discovering your career path or calling.

Finding it right away following high school or college graduation is not usually the expected course for most people, either. According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey in 2012, the average number of jobs help for baby boomers from ages 18 to 46 was 11.3. Today, the average number of careers is estimated at seven.

Realistic questions to ask yourself before embarking on a new career

In analyzing the best career path, it may help to start from a hindsight perspective. For example, at the end of his career, a life insurance executive authored a list of questions he asked himself to assess his success. He also used it as a ceremonial tool to assess his past achievements and performance, in order to discover meaning in and process his experiences, which helped him transition to the next life stage of retirement. You may use the questions to keep you grounded to the reality of how a career may impact your daily life. A few sample questions are below:

A feeling is also valuable input

How a career makes you feel can be equally as valuable because passion is a measure of the amount of energy you get from engaging in the work you do. A job that feels like the right fit, will excite you to rise out of bed each morning with enthusiasm.

Security can be a powerful motivator

A niche career, such as a test designer, can be a secure and stable as a high-demand career, such as nurse or accountant, depending on the projections for future marketplace need and the number of people pursuing the field in professional training programs, and the level of challenge in finding an entry-level role. Consulting professional projections on employment websites and interviewing recruiters and those currently employed in the job you are researching are useful ways to discover the demand level and your comfort level with the risk and training expenses involved. Ask about the future of the career in the next 10 or twenty years, and the feedback of career satisfaction for those already in the career field.

Test your talents

You may already know your strengths after testing them out for years in professional endeavors or hobbies. If not, a career assessment test can help you narrow down an appropriate starting point. Even if you end up pursuing six additional careers in your lifetime, at least you can embark on the road where you are currently with a well-designed online test tool.