How do you SHAPE your dream career?
After spending more than half of my working life with youths, they often ask me, “How do I know what I’m really good in?”, “What job suits me?” or “I’m not sure which course to take after this?”, and this often happens to people across all stages of life whether you have just graduated from university, going through a mid-life career switch or returning to the workforce after a break. I speak from my personal experience, too.
According to Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Labour Force in Singapore 2021 report, younger workers aged below 30 make up the highest proportion amongst all age groups to quit their jobs in the past year. This should not come as a surprise as younger workers are in the early stages and discovery phase of their career.
Proportion of employed residents who had changed jobs in the last one year by age (in per cent)
There are many great self-help authors who provide wonderful insights on life purposes and career choices. However, in today’s world of “fingers doing the walking and talking”, young people want fast and brief
tips, and often will not resort to reading pages of books to find quick fixes and answers.
I have used the word “SHAPE” in clearer decision-making steps while steering them towards a more obvious future career choice.
Is there something you are inclined to doing or watching about? Often this is a good indication of what you are gifted for or talented in. If you enjoy performing, or fixing something broken, or doing something that you keep doing, then perhaps that could be what you are really good at. Do look out for situations when people praise you for doing something really well. Often this is a tell-tale sign leading to the discovery of your natural talents.
Do you read or hear about something that evokes strong feelings inside you? Do you often tell yourself or your friends that this is the thing that you would really like to pursue when you see someone doing it? Take action to discover for yourself whether these things are really your passion and try them out for yourselves. You will never really know what drives you until you take the first step to find out.
My young son is a strong fan of F1 racing, very much like me. However, both he and I are frightened to ride in the least life-threatening roller-coaster in any kiddy theme park. Unable to overcome our fears and the G-forces one will have to face at such speeds, let alone in a racing car, I doubt neither my son nor I will ever be a great F1 driver! By understanding your own abilities, what you can and what you cannot do, it will definitely give you a realistic idea of what works for you in a dream career. (Just watch any reality talent competition and you will immediately understand what I mean by this.)
I once knew a young lady who told me that she wanted to be a singer. First glance at her, you would immediately see that she was shy and a person of few words. After finding out a little more about her, she shared that she actually idolised her favourite celebrity and enjoyed her songs, which led to her decision of becoming like her idol! Having the right personality for the career of your choice is a critical success factor. As many would say, if you enjoy doing your work, it won’t be work to you anymore.
Having some experience in your dream job or somewhere within the industry is often a great way to find out if it is really your cup of tea. Finding a short stint such as a vacation job, internship, volunteer, part-time, pro bono basis etc., may just give you the added experience to truly decide whether you would really want to pursue this further and take up courses and skills training to help you get there.
I am sure we all have big dreams and goals that we would all like to achieve. By SHAPE-ing our ideas and collecting our thoughts, I hope that this has helped you in taking the first step to discover what your dream career is regardless of where you are now.
Written by: Josephine PL Ong
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