19 February 2016
Making Smart Career Choices

Still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up? At any one time, thousands of Americans are looking for their ideal career. Whether you’re looking for your first “real” job after completing your education, thinking about making a mid-life career change, or choosing a part-time job to supplement retirement income, finding the right job takes planning and goals.

Here are some suggestions to help with this process.

Perform a critical self-analysis. Put together a list of fun activities and activities you dread so you can create a clearer picture of which career path is right for you. If gardening is at the top of your “fun” list, how do you become a professional gardener? If balancing your checkbook makes you light-headed, chances are that “bookkeeper” should be crossed off the list of career options.

If an office gig sounds like a bore, maybe something on the road is more in line with what you had in mind. Or, if your long commute is stressful, that job 10 minutes from your house may be a better choice.

Take a vocational interest test. Schools usually offer vocational interest tests, but these tests are also available online. You don’t have to study, and there are no right or wrong answers. Just be truthful and develop a list of careers that might interest you – careers you may never have thought of before. If you’re already working, you may find that you’re unhappy because your current job doesn’t match your interests and talents.

Take a trial run. If you want to change careers, or start a new one based on perceptions and not reality, try it part-time to see if that’s the career path for you.

You love good food, you cook at home, fine cuisine is a hobby – so you think working as a chef might be something you’d enjoy and be good at. However, if you’ve never worked in a high-pressure restaurant kitchen, you might take an entry level job before spending a bundle on culinary school.

Maybe you’d be happier writing a cookbook. You still work with information you enjoy, with a subject about which you know something, but you don’t have the noise and pressure of the real-world restaurant kitchen with its 14-hour days and non-stop deadlines.

Meet industry insiders. If you’re interested in real estate, talk to local realtors about getting your license and learning the ropes. If teaching sounds rewarding, talk to teachers to discover how you can follow those who went before you.

Industry insiders are often eager to share their knowledge. Adult education classes in your community are good places to start, and community colleges – open to all – are another great way to meet people doing what you want to do. Listen to these people. Their real-world experience can steer you in a number of directions.

Think of your next job as a business opportunity.  Don’t just look at your next position as a paycheck and some benefits. Real world experience is a wonderful teacher, so consider how a job can help your career long-term, not just in the next few months. How can you make your next position work for you today and five years from now when you’re ready for a promotion and a bigger paycheck?

Does the new position indicate a step up the career ladder, or a horizontal move to another position? If you’re just starting out, that entry level salary may seem skimpy, but you’re learning how the business operates. You’re learning the language and becoming an “insider” – something you can’t always get in a school setting.

Don’t go with just any company unless you’re truly desperate to pay this month’s rent. As a prospective employee, research the company, using its website as a starting place. What’s the corporate culture? Does the business seem to fit your professional values? Do you get the feeling you could learn something in this potential position? Choose a work environment you’d enjoy instead of rushing into the first job opening you find.

Make things happen for you; don’t let them happen to you. At times, we all feel a loss of control over our work lives. Things change, and what worked last year isn’t working now. Today, more than ever, people change jobs and careers, along with workplace environments.

Don’t settle, and consider both long-and short-term benefits of any job you consider. It’s not just about a paycheck. It’s about enjoying the work you choose.

Are you interested in a career at Nevada State Bank?  If so, learn more about us.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.


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