Confused about Career Choice


Danielle writes:
I really need some help determining my career for the rest of my life. I’m a 19-year-old female who is extremely confused. I’m really good at math and physics. Currently I am majoring in math and minoring in physics to become a teacher for high school. Lately I have been reconsidering my decision. Maybe I should be an electrical engineer. I don’t know what they do exactly and I don’t know if it’s a practical job for a female who wants to have a family. I just want to be happy.


The Career Doctor responds:
First relax and don’t be so concerned about being confused. Most people at your age are confused — whether they admit it or not. You need to sit down and really think about what you want to do with your life — both as a career and with a family. Teaching is a very admirable profession and female math teachers would be great role models for
young women in high school but you need to decide if you originally were leaning this way because the hours are more flexible and easier for having a family or whether you want to teach so you can make a difference in young people’s lives.
My advice is for you to take some time and talk with some people. Talk to your family — what do they think about your potential and career goals? Talk with some of your professors — both in the math and physics departments but also go and talk with the a professor in the education department and one from the engineering department. Go back to your old high school and talk with one or more or your old teachers and get their advice.
Finally go to Quintessential Careers: Career Assessment and take one or more of the assessment tests and spend some time thinking about the results.
The key is that you still have time to make a decision and there is no need to rush to force one at this time. You obviously are good in the sciences so now you just need to find some direction for how to best apply those skills into a career that you will enjoy.