What If My
Career Plans
Are Uncertain?

If you are still in high school, you may not know yet just what career is right for you. If you have been working a while, you may have a better idea of what you don't want instead of what you do want. Should you postpone college until you have a firm idea of your career goals? Not necessarily. Consider this:

Core Curriculum. Most colleges and universities require students to complete a set of "core" classes. These are classes every student must take to get a degree. Typically, the core courses involve math, science, literature/English, and history. By starting with these courses, you can hone your studying skills while researching a career.

Research a Career. When thinking about careers, you should consider your interests, abilities—and what the job truly entails.

For example, let's say you like computers, so you begin think that a job as an IT professional might be a good fit. However, the more you research this job, you realize you'd work in an office all day and that doesn't appeal to you. Instead, you begin to think about how you once worked in construction and, although the work was hard, you liked being outside, seeing a building completed, and then moving on to a completely different building project. You begin to research what it would take to work in the construction management field. Construction managers oversee work on the job site and have a high degree of responsibility.

What if My Plans are Uncertain?

One of the best ways to learn about a job is to talk with someone in that field. Better yet, if possible, ask if you can shadow the person for a day or week to get a firsthand look at the job.

When you meet with this person, ask the following questions:

  • What education does your job require?
  • Was it difficult to get a job after you graduated? What are my chances of getting a job in the field?
  • What kind of pay can I expect?
  • How many hours do you work in a typical week?
  • How does your career mesh with your family responsibilities?
  • What are the pluses and minuses of your job?

If you don't know anyone in the job you are interested in, talk with a librarian or school guidance counselor on how you can explore a career. You also can ask help from professional associations that represent the careers you are considering. Professional associations are nonprofit organizations that further a specific profession. These associations often have Web sites that include forums where you can post questions and interact with professionals in that field.

So, if you were interested in finding out more about construction management, you could visit the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Web site at http://cmaanet.org/.