I’m 18 years old, male and a first year nursing student. My problem is that I don’t like the course I’m taking and don’t see myself as a nurse, ever. I’m taking this course because my parents and my eldest sister who is financing my studies are putting pressure on me to become a nurse because they want me to work in the United States and earn plenty of money. Another problem of mine is that I don’t have any strong inclination towards any career. In high school I did not make good in any subject. I was just an average student getting passing grades. How will I know in what career I will do good, considering that I’m just average?
Parents have good intentions for their children but such intentions often lead them to impose their needs and their values on their children. Making career choices for children is common among Filipino parents who sometimes “use” their children as a means to improve the family’s social status and financial condition.
On the other hand, children who are confused and undecided on what career to choose, open themselves to being influenced, if not controlled by, their parents, and sometimes by their barkada.
Since you have no strong inclination towards any subject and no work experience to use as criterion for making a career choice, the first step you have to do is to know your career interests and aptitudes. Your career interest will determine what you find enjoyable based on the tasks it involves, while your aptitudes are your natural abilities/capacities for learning certain skills. Your career choice should be based on these two important factors; namely, your interests, and aptitudes and also your mental abilities. Later, you also consider external factors like your family’s financial capacity to support your career choice, the likelihood of getting a job is the industry and organization where you want to work, etc. Then you identify the educational program or college course that will prepare you for this career.
Interests and aptitudes. The following questions can help you determine your interests and aptitudes: What do I enjoy or like to do? What are my preferences or inclinations? What courses in high school and college did I enjoy (for the subject matter and not because of the teacher)?
Dr. John Holland classified interests into six: artistic, conventional, realistic, investigative, social and enterprising. Each one of us may have two to three combination of interests. For example, to succeed in sales, a person must have Enterprising, Realistic and Social interests. An accountant should have Conventional and Investigative interests. A healthcare professional, like a nurse, must have Social, Investigative and Conventional interests. Please see inset on Find Your Interest, Find the Right Career which is adapted from Dr. Holland’s model.
Process of Making a Career Choice. The process of making a career choice involves the following steps:
Identify your career interests and aptitudes and know your mental abilities;
1. List down possible careers that fit your interest, aptitudes and mental abilities;
2. Choose the best career from number 2 above that is closest to your heart. This will require valid information from persons you know (relatives and friends of your family) and who are actually in that career.
3. Identify the college course or educational/training program that will prepare you for that career.
There are three levels you may consider depending on your mental abilities and your family’s financial capacity:
- vocational level
- technician level (usually 2 years after secondary education)
- professional level (requiring college degree)
4. Pass all your subjects, and get more than average grades in your major subjects. If you enjoy your major subjects, this will validate your career interests and aptitudes.
5. Determine the industry where you would like to work e.g., healthcare, banking and financial institutions, call center, information and communication technology, hotel and restaurants, etc. The industry will determine the working conditions and whether these will suit your needs and your values. Example of working conditions are working hours; level of control/empowerment given; working position; location; rewards and challenges; etc.
6. Identify the companies/organizations in your chosen industry.
7. Know the entry jobs in your chosen career available in the organization. Apply for these entry jobs.
Do not accept any job that is opened and offered to you by the company. This will likely change your career path and you are back to “Square 1” so to speak.
To choose the right career may require you to seek the help of your school’s guidance counselor who may have standardized interests, aptitudes and mental abilities tests that you can take, and who, more importantly, may provide you with career counseling.
Once you have made up your mind on what THE career is for you, you can assertively tell it to your parents and your eldest sister. Perhaps they will allow you to take the college course that fits your career choice so that you can be successful and happy.
God bless you.