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Finding the Right Career For You

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

Academia is often criticized and even ridiculed by the lay population because it is different from the real world.

Many people who have made a place for themselves at universities as professors and administrators would not find the same success in regular jobs, everyday social situations, etc. In academia, professors can get tenure, where they cannot get terminated unless they commit acts of gross misconduct, often involving violence or other forms of intolerable misconduct. Any sort of social deviance is often tolerated as long as it fits into a university's political agenda.

In real jobs, those who do not perform are terminated. Those who do not socially conform to the environment are often alienated, even if their performance is strong.

These factors all come into play in a person’s career choice, as it is crucial to study fields you enjoy and work-related tasks and social environments you will find a good match.

There are even career theories, such as the R.I.A.S.E.C. theory by John Holland. An inexpensive online test called the "Self-Directed-Search" has a relatively high construct predictive validity, showing that some factors can indicate what field a person might be the best fit:

In the United States, the U.S. Department of Labor has meticulously categorized each job based on such categories of interest:

More recently, a completely career-focused theory has been put into practice, especially with entry-level jobs. The Career and Technical Education field can be arranged into 16 career clusters a student can be placed:

Likewise, the U.S. Department of Labor has categorized job families based on which career cluster:

In the end, the process involves a near-endless reading, researching, and talking to people. Hopefully, you can connect with others with experiences and skills you wish to be part of, and they can be real-world teachers who can catalyze your success.

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