Jim had been laid off from a national retail firm that went out of business, and is now retraining to be a respiratory therapist. Janet, a former employee of one of the "Big Three" car companies is currently in a program that is preparing her for a "behind-the-scenes" job in the movie industry. Jim and Janet represent a growing number of people who are going back to school in order to transition into a new career field.
Maybe you are one of thousands of individuals who can take advantage of federal money for retraining. Or, perhaps you will be investing your own money into a training or degree program because you know you need more education if you are going to be viable in today's labor market. But how do you decide what type of education to pursue? And, how do you make sure that your investment of time and money will pay off for you down the road?
Do Your Homework
Before you invest one dollar or one hour of your time in an educational program, you want to have done some important research on yourself and on the world of work. This type of research is essential for choosing a career path that will fit you well and that will continue to grow in the future. Here are your "homework" questions:
What is my God-given design? There are many facets to your design, and you need to have a current, comprehensive understanding of it such as: the skills you enjoy using; the interests that motivate you; your personality strengths and weaknesses; the core values that drive your decisions and affect your job satisfaction; what you need in a working environment to be productive, etc.
What types of jobs fit my God-given design? Most of us have "tunnel vision" about the career options that could be a good fit. Spending time widening your perspective on the world of work by systematically investigating and reality testing options is critical for finding the best fit. Once you've identified the right career path, then you can determine what type of education will best prepare you. Don't make the mistake of thinking you'll "figure out" what you want to do with your life while you're in school. You could end up with a diploma in hand and several thousands of dollars of debt, and still be unclear what type of job you want to pursue.
Of these, which jobs are going to be most viable in the future? Work, along with the rest of our world, is changing rapidly. Educating yourself about employment trends and emerging job fields is an important part of your research. Here are some resources to help you get started:
"Where will the jobs be in 2012?" (MSNBC Business)
"Top 60 Jobs that Will Rock the Future" (GetDegrees.com)
"The 30 Best Careers for 2009" (U.S. News & World Report)
"Jobs of the Future" (Forbes.com)
"List of Future Jobs in Demand: 2006-2016" (Dr. Salary)
You Have a Mission to Accomplish
Sometimes it feels as though the world is changing too fast, and we fear we will be left behind. While it is true that each of us will have to be more resourceful and take more initiative in our careers than ever before, remember that God has created you for a purpose. He chose the time you would be born (Acts 17:26), and knew the time in history in which you would be working. Your role is to be a good steward of your gifts and abilities, taking responsibility to invest what we have been given in the most productive way possible. God's role is to govern as the Sovereign Lord of the universe, who promises that you "are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [you] to do" (Eph. 2:10). You are not alone! Do your part to find work that fits your gifts; God will do His part to help you find and fulfill your mission in life.
© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, www.ChristianCareerCenter.com. All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.