Dear Matt: I'm on my second job since graduating from college and I'm starting to think that the career path that I thought was right for me isn't. I'm not sure what I want to do next. Did I waste my college degree on a field I no longer want to work in or should I stick it out and try to get another job and give this career path one last try?
Matt: First of all, it's never a waste to put in the time and effort to earn a college degree. No matter where your career goes, you have a degree, and that is what's important. A high percentage of job seekers get a degree in one field but end up choosing a different career path down the road. What interests you between the ages of 18-25 certainly can and will change at age 30, 40, 50.
"I always tell people that they should find what it is that they love to do and are passionate about, this is when you can truly be happy, fulfilled, make a difference and really be successful," said Diane Duguay, HR and diversity coordinator with Kraus-Anderson Construction Company.
One way find your niche is through career assessment tests. Cindy Edwards, a career development coach and owner of Find Your Fit, LLC (tofindyourfit.com), likes two specific tests - the career self-assessment and occupation exploration, and the Assessing and Deciding Your Fit test. Edwards said the self-assessment process helps you identify and understand career satisfaction and engagement criteria that lead to fulfillment. Assessments can identify transferable skills, values, strengths, roles/functions, personality and interests. This helps identify work activities that provide enjoyment, organization qualities that match values, practical need criteria (defining salary, benefits) and expectations of relationships at work.
Developing a clear understanding of where you want to go next is key, no matter what you decide. It might take a couple of different jobs or even different career paths to find your best fit. But because you have a degree and some work experience, you are in a good position to explore new opportunities.
"Even if you feel like you've wasted time on a degree that perhaps has less job opportunities or lead to an unsatisfying job, in today's employment market it is still an advantage to have a degree," said Edwards.
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