I have learned over the years that choosing a career path and actively engaging in career development is one of life’s most important hacks. I’m sure at some point all of us have felt like we are stuck in a career wilderness. Whether you are at the beginning or in the middle of your career, this feeling can be hard to navigate and overwhelming, especially for the Black woman in corporate America.
The good news is that there is a way to map out your path regardless of which stage you are at in your career. This map does not need to be complicated, in fact I think we need to take a note from nature. Everything in nature is seasonal, which is the polar opposite of what most of us are trained to see when we look at our careers.
I have realized that there needs to be a wholesome or big picture outlook when we think about choosing a career path. We need to recognize that we are not stuck and we can maneuver things around at any stage in our careers.
I have identified five things that you and I need to consider on this career path finding journey. These factors when used appropriately and frequently will help you reassess where you are and regain some perspective.
Your interests are a good place to start because they determine how much you will enjoy any career that you set your mind to. If you want a career path that you are unlikely to deviate from, then picking a field that captivates you in one form or another should be at the top of your career mapping list.
2. Skills and Education
As a Black woman, you know that to be taken seriously in the work environment, you need to possess the requisite skills and education. It’s unfortunate that we do not have the same leeway given to other demographics in today’s society.
Doing your research beforehand and determining the level of education and skills you need for your chosen career path and for career development will better place you on the road to success.
If you are thinking about a career pivot, make sure that you have the skills and education necessary to make that pivot.
3. Job opportunities
Today’s world is no longer just about going to school and getting a good job, although as quiet as it’s kept, it’s never been about just that, but that’s a conversation for another day. The age of digitalization has come with some negatives too, especially in some job sectors. Even cornerstone markets and industries are becoming redundant in certain fields.
Being that we are usually on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of job stability, your plan needs to consider the current and future job opportunities. We do not have the luxury of ignoring this fact.
Try to organize any career development activities that you have around this factor. It will open your eyes and you might find yourself in an industry that you would have otherwise overlooked.
4. Personality and Lifestyle
Who you are as a person hugely influences how satisfied you are in your career. If talking and meeting new people is just not your kind of gig, then look for an industry or a sector that won't leave you wound up and suffocated at the end of the day.
If you are a family woman and love spending time with your kids, then a job where you barely see them might not be such a good idea. Engage in some self-introspection and be honest with yourself. A career is a big part of your life, so you want to ensure that you are choosing one that won’t suck the joy out of the work or your life.
Of course I have saved the best for last; money. It’s part of the reason we all wake up in the morning and go to work. Whether you are in your chosen line of work because of your passion or because you want that big paycheck at the end of the day, money is an essential consideration.