The Career Choice Dilemma For Young People: Is choosing a career, like choosing a partner?

Do young people really have the capability to make a life decision regarding their careers at the ages of 16-17 without any real experiences and knowledge? Wouldn’t this be the same if an individual wanted to get married at age 16-17?

Surely there will be outrage from concern parents, relatives and friends with some form of resistance such as “ don’t be naïve”, “you’re still too young”, “ you don’t know any better” yet this cycle continues for young people as they enter into their final years of high school and this is the same dilemma I’ve face when deciding what career path I wanted to undertake at the end of Year 11.

Through my personal experience, I did not have a clue on what career path I wanted to undertake however just like when you see someone with a perfect partner, it inspires you to find somebody similar to that. In this case I saw my relatives with careers as Accountants, earning decent money, good job prospects and having great job security and from that moment I made a commitment in Year 12 to get ATAR required to enter into Macquarie University (Bachelor of Commerce – Major In Accounting).

After getting the marks required to enter into Macquarie University and within a year of studying, I felt miserable with accounting and just like a bad relationship, there was no chemistry, no love and sadly time and effort wasted on something that will not work out.

This is the similar situation that some young people face when choosing a career pathway too early without the maturity, experience and knowledge required to succeed in the chosen field.

Career choices appear to be a difficult challenge for young people because they want to make the right choices from the beginning and when young people are asked to make choices without knowing, this can lead to indecisiveness and confusion (Safta, 2015). Young people can also feel aimless and experience lack of direction or purpose (Lehmann & Konstam, 2011).

Making a career choice is one of the most important decisions young people face (Lipshits-Braziler, Gati & Tatar, 2015) especially with the aim for the perfect job, the perfect partner and the perfect life (Lehmann & Konstam, 2011).

These decisions can have a major impact on their futures including economic, social status, lifestyle and emotional well-being (Lipshits-Braziler, Gati & Tatar, 2015) and when young people are forced to make a choice at a time when they do not yet have a well-shaped career path: they may regret this premature choice (Safta, 2015).

In hindsight, it is important for individuals to take a step back, assess the situation and once you see the bigger picture, then commit. Like in Elvis Presley’s famous song “Can’t help falling in love”Wise men say only fools rush in. It is vital for people to understand it is ok not follow the social norms and enter into higher education or other pathways straight away. Take your time and once you are ready; you can go from there.

Lehmann, I., & Konstam, V. (2011). Growing Up Perfect: Perfectionism, Problematic Internet Use, and Career Indecision in Emerging Adults. Journal Of Counseling & Development, 89(2), 155-162. doi: 10.1002/j.1556-6678.2011.tb00073.x

Lipshits-Braziler, Y., Gati, I., & Tatar, M. (2015). Strategies for coping with career indecision: Concurrent and predictive validity. Journal Of Vocational Behavior, 91, 170-179. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2015.10.004

Safta, C. (2015). Career Decisions – A Test of Courage, Responsibility and Self-Confidence in Teenagers. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 203, 341-347. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.08.305

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