A Career Changer's Checklist - 12 Common-Sense Questions to Find Your Career: What Do You Want to Do? (Goals!)
Questions to Ponder
Now that you have a list of potential responses to the what-do-you-want-to-do question, you have to ponder a few other questions that this question generates. They are a bit tougher and don’t require an immediate response. But they are worth thinking about. Think of these as EXTRA CREDIT questions.
These followup questions include the following:
- How long do you want to do what you want to do? Short term or long term? Are
you looking for a short-term solution to a situation or a long-term solution
I am strictly looking for long-term solutions.
- Why do you want to do this job? What is your reason for wanting to do what
you want to do? Does it provide you with a better life circumstance? Does it
give you pleasure? Do you like the type of work that is involved in this career
choice? Do you like to work with your hands, your head, or both? Do you like to
lead others or follow others? Has there been some teacher or role model who has
inspired you to follow in his or her footsteps? Do you want to work with people
I have had many role models who have made me love to teach, speak in public, and write. Others have taught me to love working with my hands and troubleshooting problems. In that regard my role model was my dad, who was the best mechanic I have ever met. And I have to thank him for the love of working in the trades (for me, IT is a trade). To love to work the way my dad loved to work is a goal of mine.
- What will you do if you can’t do what you want?
This is one of the toughest questions of all to answer. When I made career changes in the past, I always knew what I was going to do. But sometimes circumstances dictate that you cannot do what you want. I am not a chaplain today because of ecclesiastical issues that were dominant at the time and completely out of my control. And I really wanted to be a chaplain to geriatric and terminal patients. But I couldn’t. So I had to find an area in which I could use my skills and talents and interests to make a living. IT was one solution and when further refined, an IT trainer was the option I chose—and it has lasted for 12 years.
As I write this I am doing what I am asking you to do: re-evaluating what I want to do and asking myself what to do if I can’t. My response has to develop as we move on with this series. I have some ideas, but I don’t really know. The point is to be honest. You might not have all of the answers to the questions as I ask them.
- What would you do with your career (life) if you could do anything you
wanted and there were no obstacles?
This is the big question. This is the toughest for me. This is the question every child is asked and the one that I started this article off with. I have just asked it in a different way. As adults, we’re experts at compiling all the reasons why we cannot do something we want.
What if we ignored all those obstacles and nothing was in the way? What would you want to do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Now that is something to think about.
Write your thoughts down in your Word doc. You don’t have to come up with an answer right now. But think about it. Sleep on it. You might be surprised to see what you are really thinking and feeling. Someone who is reading this is saying s/he wants to become the next Bill Gates. Well? Go for it. Who said you can’t? Bill Gates did not know he was going to be such a brand until he tried and decided what he wanted to do, without fear of failure.
From this list and from my responses to the questions I have provided for you, you should at this point be able to come up with a short list of what you want to do.
What are your goals? Remember that this is just the first question. So whatever you say now is simply a hypothesis as we diagnose your career options in the coming weeks. My list is also simply a hypothesis. There are more questions that will direct us to the proper treatment.