Different Abilities = Different Jobs

What job is right for you? Let’s face it, we spend a big chunk of our lives at work. Those who find jobs that they enjoy are generally happier. Finding that perfect job is not easy. In fact, the opportunities you have in school or your community as you grow help build skills for the future. Knowing early on what jobs match your interests and abilities can help you make the right choices along the way to gain the skills needed and get a job.

A good place to start is by taking a career aptitude test. There are several free tests available online including this one at Truity.

Most Jobs Use Technology

Road signs new skills trainingMost jobs today require some ability or comfort level with technology. Digital tools have become the standard in many industries. Because of this, all students would be wise to become familiar with the most common technological tools such as text editors, spreadsheets, and media creation and editing. Some experience with coding would also be helpful.

Learning a Trade or Getting a Degree

There isn’t one perfect path for all people to find the right career. Getting to know yourself and what type of work you enjoy is the first step towards identifying possible careers. Are you a hands-on person who likes to work with tools or do you prefer using a computer? Would it drive you crazy to sit in an office all day?

Plumber and apprenticeFortunately, there are many paths that can be taken to prepare for the job market. To increase your earning potential some type of additional training or study is necessary after high school. Vocational or Technical schools offer students a direct path to a career in the trades such as electrical, HVAC, carpentry, and more. In addition, many fields offer apprenticeship opportunities to learn a trade. A two or four-year degree from a college is another option, but should not be the default choice for high school graduates.

Do Your Research!

Government agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics provide excellent data on job growth in various industries. The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook provides basic information on most job types. Here is a sample of what you can find on this website:

Job Information from BLS about Diesel Mechanics

Talk to people who do the work you think might be best for you. Find a mentor. Find an opportunity to shadow someone at work to learn more about the job. Use the resources available at your school and from the government to begin preparing early for success in the future.

Keep Learning!

laptop screen with training coursesWhatever job you end up doing it is important that you keep updating your skills to match the changing world of work. The rapid advances in automation and artificial intelligence means that no job is safe from change. Online certificates, workplace training programs, night classes, and other opportunities should be sought to stay relevant in our fast-changing world.

Just Get a Different Job

A common  statement made in response to our posts about low paying jobs is that “people should just get a different job.” No doubt that during this period of historic low unemployment rates, many people can and will do just that. What if you can’t find another job or the jobs you are qualified for pay about the same? People without kids always seem to have advice for parents and many people with good jobs think everyone is capable of moving on to better positions. What would happen if all of the low-paid caregivers all leave for better-paying positions?

Sometimes the only way to get a raise is to get a new job. This is unfortunate as employers who, even in good times, insist on paying the lowest allowable wages, lose many good employees. Employees changing jobs have to start over and lose whatever benefits they may have built up. If your business is successful, thank your employees and raise the wages. This will create more growth and is a win-win for all involved.

As discussed above, good planning and education done early in life will go a long way in helping people succeed in the job market. Just like an iceberg, many issues surrounding low paying jobs are hidden beneath the surface. Telling someone to just get a new job without understanding the person’s circumstances is not the most useful thing we can do to help others become more self-sufficient.


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