Choosing a Profession
The career you choose will be one of the most important decisions you will make. In a CES fireside President Thomas S. Monson said, “My advice . . . is that you should study and prepare for your life’s work in a field that you enjoy, because you are going to spend a good share of your life in that field. It should be one which will challenge your intellect and which will make maximum utilization of your talents and your capabilities. Finally, it should be a field that will supply sufficient remuneration [salary] to provide adequately for your companion and your children” (President Thomas S. Monson, “Life’s Greatest Decisions,” Sept. 7, 2003).
Pray for Help
Prayerfully consider all your options before choosing a field of study. Often people will choose a specific educational path because of the encouragement of family or friends. Remember, you will be spending many years in the workforce. The decision must be yours, since you will be the one living with the results of your choice. Praying for guidance and diligently studying may open your mind to career fields you haven’t considered. Include in your efforts a prayerful consideration of your patriarchal blessing and the counsel it includes.
One way to explore your options is talking with people who are professionals in areas that interest you. This approach is referred to as an informational interview. Most people are happy to talk about their job, including what they enjoy about it, what they do each day, what challenges they experience, what education is required, or how they got started in the profession.
You should also consider the future, or outlook, of a career. There are times when advances in technology or changing interests in a product or service mean that professions are no longer profitable or needed. Before you invest time and money in education, it is important for you to determine if your chosen occupation will provide long-term income for you. Most government employment agencies provide information on the future of various career fields. Informational interviews may also help you determine the future of a specific field.
Career assessment tools or tests help individuals determine the career field that best suits them. These assessments can be fairly simple or complex and can help you learn more about yourself, including your talents, abilities, and desires.
Simple assessments can be found at:
- The Internet
More complex assessments need to be administered by qualified professionals who are trained to conduct the assessment as well as interpret the results.
Complex assessments can be found at:
- High school and college advisement centers
- Government employment advisement centers
- Government employment offices
- Private agencies
Take Opportunities to Learn and Explore
Many colleges and universities require students to take “elective” classes. Taking elective classes will give you the opportunity to explore areas that may be of interest to you but are unrelated to your major. Elective classes may trigger an interest in a new field of study and lead you in a new career direction. Consult the school advisement center staff, faculty, or professionals already working in your field of interest before making any major changes that could take extra time and cost additional money. While the ultimate choice is yours to make, your choice should be an educated one.