“Where do you want to be in five years?”
Apart from being asked why you’re still single (it’s a choice, grandma!), perhaps nothing stokes the flames of anxiety like being asked where you see yourself in fives years. College students have plenty to worry about with classes, homework, extra curriculars, and jobs, and now folks are going to add this to the pile??
Well, yes. During college, while you’re maybe still trying to find a path that excites you, career research doesn’t have to be stressful! It can be an exercise in imagination for some people, or it can be a way of coping with stress by researching something that you actually care about. Want to avoid that paper? Do some career research! (This is called “productive procrastination.” It is not something I recommend, but it is something I do more than I’d like to admit).
At Bell Library, we have an awesome research guide to help you get started! Check out https://guides.library.tamucc.edu/career to explore resources we pulled together with the help of TAMU-CC Career Services.
My favorite tool is the Occupational Outlook Handbook. You can search for a particular job if you have an idea of what you’d like to get into, or you can search for jobs that meet certain parameters. Only interested in jobs that require a bachelor’s degree? Only interested in making more than $30,000 a year? You can apply these filters so you only have to browse through jobs that meet your needs!
Once you find a career you’re interested in, the Occupational Outlook Handbook can tell you all sorts of interesting things like projected job growth in a field, work environments you can expect to see, and it even provides lists of skills that you can start developing now! Under the “How to Become One” tab, you’ll find information about the kind of education expected in the career you’re interested in, what training looks like, and what skills are important to be successful in the field.
And if you’re not sure what kind of job you’re interested in just yet—that’s okay too! The Texas Reality Check is a fun quiz that focuses on the lifestyle you’d like to live rather than on the career you’re aiming for. By saying where you’d like to live and what you’d like life to look like, the quiz generates how much money you’d need to make to live comfortably. Money isn’t everything, of course, but neither is your job. This quiz takes the focus off the job and lets you image what life could look like. See yourself in Austin with 3 dogs and riding a bike to work? Great! Want to live in Dallas and have 10 children and a pool? You do you! The Texas Reality Check can help you figure out how to get there.
So check out these resources! Read up and learn how to get where you’d like to be. Just don’t take it too seriously—people grow, paths change, and that’s part of the fun.
Instructional Services Librarian
Swore She’d Never Be a Librarian