Thursday, January 13, 2011

Career Pursuit: Practical or Passion-Driven

You’re not alone if you’ve toiled with pursuing a practical career versus one geared toward your professional passion. Often, this means weighing a job or career that is secure, lucrative, and accessible with one in which you’d be doing something you love for less financial gain. Weighing a practical career path versus a professional “calling” is common for those pursuing a first career or a “next” career. However, practical careers have taken on new meaning as the challenged economy creates an uncertain job market.

While there are no guarantees when it comes to finding a lifelong career that satisfies your passion and lifestyle needs, you can do some things to point yourself in the right direction.

Assess Yourself

As a job seeker or someone looking to change careers, consider your values, interests, and talents. Use a formalized approach by tapping into free assessment tests and tools. Start in Career Transitions “Discover My Interests” section for assessment tools.

Another key resource is the online O*Net center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. Go to to access an interest profiler, ability profiler, and skills evaluation tool that matches skills to occupations.

Explore and Research Career Paths

After completing various assessment tests and reviewing results, you should have a good idea of the occupations that might be a good match for you. Afterwards, decide which ones interest you, and then do some research. Read up on job responsibilities, the economic outlook and projected growth, average salary range, trends, and more. Again, Career Transitions presents this information in a way that is easy to find and understand in the “Explore Careers” section.

Selecting and pursuing a particular career path is exciting, but it can also be a daunting endeavor. By leveraging available career information and tools, you can make a more informed decision. Whether you opt for a practical career path, one weighted toward your passion, or a balance of both, the choice is yours. Be sure to embrace and enjoy the process and the exciting career opportunities that lie ahead.

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