6 Common Career Myths

For those just entering the workforce (as well as those currently in the workforce) it’s important to realize that careers, dreams and aspirations are constantly evolving. The ideal career choice right out of school may no longer provide satisfaction in a few decades. It’s been reported that people can expect to change careers or jobs 5 or 6 times over the course of their work life!

Below are a few myths about career choices that might be holding you back:

MYTH #1: Choosing a career is simple.

FACT: It’s anything BUT simple! First, you must learn about yourself, including your interests, current skills, values and personality. Then you’ll need to do your homework to learn more about fields of interest, including what training, certifications or skills you may need to enter that career. There’s a lot of work involved, but exploring different occupations can be fun!

MYTH #2: There is one perfect career for me.

FACTThere may be several careers that appeal to you and that match your abilities, interests, and core values. In truth, "there are many perfect jobs for you, it just depends on where you are in life," says Matthew Walden, senior vice president at Infinity Consulting in New York.

MYTH #3: Choosing a career means deciding what I will do with the rest of my life.

FACT: Most individuals can anticipate multiple career changes during their working lives. Author Catherine Conlan states that “many people go to college, major in a line of study, work for a few years in that area and then find it doesn't suit them at all.” What’s important to remember is that no matter how many times you change careers, your training, knowledge and personal skill set will go with you. When considering a career change, look at your past work history and education to see what skills might relate to the job you want. You do not need to restrict your job search to careers related to your degree or training.

MYTH #4: I should choose a career based solely on what's currently "hot" in the job market.

FACT: It is better to choose a major/career because you have a genuine interest and talent for it. When looking at the latest “hot career” list, it certainly can't hurt to look to see if any of the careers appeal to you, but you shouldn’t rely on that list to make your final decision.

MYTH #5: A career assessment test or career counselor can select my career for me.

FACT: While career assessment tests are useful in helping you to learn more about yourself and how you can best tie your abilities and interests to possible career options, they cannot tell you exactly what field you should choose. Likewise, a career counselor can help you learn more about yourself and then make suggestions on suitable careers based on that information, but they cannot select your career for you. However, a career counselor can be helpful in helping you find out what training you will need once you’ve decided on your career path.

For those interested, an informative self-assessment tool is the My Next Move O*NET Interest Profiler, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (there are many other free self-assessment tools online as well – try more than one!).

MYTH #6: Earning a lot of money will make me the most happy.

FACT: Salary is important (let’s face it, you need to make enough to pay your bills and live the life you want), but it isn't the only factor you should consider when choosing a career. Countless surveys have shown that money doesn't necessarily lead to job satisfaction. When selecting a career, weigh all factors including salary, work hours, possible job promotion, benefits, etc.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics warns, “career myths can cause you to overlook many possibilities. Sometimes, people don’t realize that a career exists; art majors might not be aware that they have an excellent background for industrial design or medical photography, for example. Other times, people exclude a known career based on false impressions.” Take the time to learn more about yourself, and explore various occupations.

Ed4Career offers hundreds of courses in 4 distinct areas of online education: 1) Career Vocational Training (Not-for-credit), 2) Personal Enrichment, 3) For Credit College Classes, and 4) Professional Development Training. Contact us today to see how we can help you explore and prepare for the career of your dreams!