Almost all of us have to work for a living. At the end of the day, we have to generate an income in order to keep a roof over our heads and maintain a decent quality of life. In fact, studies have found that the average person works for over three thousand five hundred days in their lifetime. The same studies have shown that the average person considers quitting their job around sixteen times every single year. Now, considering you spend such a huge part of your life at work, you shouldn’t be considering leaving so often! You should be enjoying what you do. It should provide you with sufficient income, it shouldn’t be a bore, and it should help you to feel content and fulfilled. So, what can you do in order to secure a role that you genuinely want to be in, or at least would prefer to be in than any other working position? Well, an answer is to plan your career. You don’t necessarily have to do this straight out of school. You can change your career path at any point of your working life! Here are just a few different areas that you should take into consideration when it comes to evaluating what kind of positions you could really see yourself in!

Salary

First things first, let’s focus on salaries. Your salary is the amount of money that you will be given in exchange for your work. It is what you charge for a set period of time and effort committed to a company or a client. Now, salaries can vary drastically, but so do people’s wants and needs. If you are single with no dependents, chances are you can lead a comfortable quality of life on a much lower salary than someone who has multiple children and other dependents to care for and cater to. So, determine how much you want from your job role. Figure out a salary that reflects your skillset and potential, and that covers your necessary outgoings, and start searching for jobs in an area that fits this criteria. The majority of employers will ask you your salary expectations when you’re applying or during interviews, so it’s good to have a figure in mind!

Benefits

Remember that your salary isn’t necessarily the only thing you gain from working. Many companies offer employee benefits and you should weigh up what you want from your employer alongside your pay. Benefits that you might want to request of your employer could include:

Make sure to set your expectations and find out what a position is offering before applying. You don’t want to find yourself in a role that isn’t providing what you really want and need to lead a stress free and comfortable life.

Academic Qualifications

Some careers require academic qualifications. They tend to be professionalised and specialist positions where you need to prove that you have taken in certain knowledge or training before commencing a job. Some examples of fields that will throw away resumes that lack requested qualifications include positions within the medical field. Most doctors, surgeons, and other medical staff will have had to have completed years of college studies before they will be taken on in any role. Other positions may not require academic qualifications as such, but recruiters will find them desirable. They can help your resume to stand out from the pile and further education or qualifications, such as a masters in operation management, could be the determining factor that encourages an employer to choose you over somebody else. So, determine whether you want to head to college or not. If this isn’t for you, you might want to look at more entry level positions in fields that do not require a degree – you can then look at working your way up in the company rather than joining higher up.

Working Hours

Working hours can make or break a career for you. Some of us are happy to work all hours of the day and will allow our lives to revolve around our jobs. This is fair enough. However, if you want more of a life outside of the workplace or if you have commitments and responsibilities outside of the workplace, you may need to look for something more flexible. Otherwise, you will begin to grow bitter at your position when you find yourself having to pull out of social plans, send your kids to more clubs or childminders, and have little time for yourself.

Colleagues

Do you work better alone or as part of a team? Now, almost everyone will say in interviews that they are a real team player and thrive as part of a working community. But is this true? You need to assess what genuinely makes you happy in terms of workplace sociability and find a role that caters to your preferences. If you really do enjoy others’ company, want to spend time amidst colleagues, and are more productive as part of a team, then look for roles that immerse you in an active workplace environment. If you are more of a solitary individual and feel more comfortable in your own company, there are positions out there that cater to your needs too. Lack of social interaction or forced social interaction shouldn’t interfere with your career.

Working Environment

Sure, the majority of roles might take place in office environments or other commercial premises. But this isn’t always the case. There are plenty of jobs that are undertaken in different environments. So, determine what kind of working environment you want to get involved with. If you are an outdoorsy person, you can find a variety of positions that allow you to work outside in the elements. If you wish to move between the outdoors and the indoors, there are many positions that allow you to do this too.

Opportunities for Progression

Chances are that you’ve heard of something called “dead end jobs”. These are careers that offer little chance of progression – you enter a role and this is what you will be paid to do for the foreseeable future. Generally speaking, it’s much more productive and fulfilling to enter a position that offers opportunities for progression. Receiving a pay rise or a promotion is one of the joys of life! It’s also beneficial to know that you can expand your skill set and reach out into more dynamic positions or positions that come hand in hand with more responsibility.

The Commute

If you’re working anywhere other than from home, you need to consider your commute. Sure, a couple of hours might seem fine when you first apply for a job, but the lived reality of experiencing it on a daily basis can be draining. So, determine how far you are willing to travel for your career. Remember to bear in mind rush hour traffic or rush hour public transport. Heading to the interview at midday isn’t necessarily an accurate portrayal of what you will experience – you need to understand whether you will experience delays when travelling at the same time as everyone else going to their workplaces.

Company Values

When a company values the same things that you do, you’re more likely to feel at home working for them. If you end up working for a company that holds values that go against your values, it’s highly likely that you’re going to have difficulties settling in or feeling content with the work that you are doing. It may be an extreme example, but you wouldn’t find a vegan working in a slaughterhouse! So, make sure your moral views align with the work you will be undertaking, otherwise you are likely to experience feelings of stress and disappointment on a regular basis.

Sure, there’s a whole lot to bear in mind when it comes to finding a career that really does tick all of your boxes. But it’s worth putting the time and effort in early on in the process, as this will help you to focus on positions that you can genuinely see yourself in for the foreseeable future. We all have different wants, different needs, and different preferences. So, this is something that only you can do for yourself! Perhaps the easiest way to go about things is to literally write up a list and check aspects off. The more boxes ticked, the more advisable it is for you to apply for a position. If you are unsure of whether particular companies provide what you want, never hesitate to ask. This is part and parcel of what an interview is for – it’s not only to see whether an employer finds you suitable, it’s for you to see whether the employer and the position are suitable for you too!

Build your personal brand

Remember its your job to make yourself as valuable as possible to drive your career forward. An online personal brand will go a long way to helping you achieve your goals. Consider studying Online Personal Branding or diving into my book about Online Personal Branding