Education

Poll: What's most important to you when choosing a career?

Choosing a career is influenced by a lot of factors, but we'd like to know what your main criterion is or was?

Choosing a career is influenced by a lot of factors, but we'd like to know what your main criterion is or was? Please take a poll and let us know.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

19 comments
Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Then I grew up... How much choice is there? There's What you are suited to. What you enjoy. What you can afford What's available. The choice part of the deal is how much effort you choose to put in to broaden and maximise your options, based on your current environment.

JLogan3o13
JLogan3o13

I recently found myself unsatisfied with a position after 8 years, and left for a position that was more "intellectually stimulating" (the $15k bump didn't hurt either). One thing I have learned, whether or not you fit in with the general culture of the company is incredibly important. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult things to ascertain beforehand.

rajeshskganesan
rajeshskganesan

you the only playmaster(independence) on the floor; rest of the options like Stress Level,Salary,Intellectual stimulation,Job security jus simply follows the you wish them to be.you are free to use your best talents to solve a problem(low stress),the more problems you solve higer the intellectual quality you accquire and problem solver get max $$$, more $$$ on hand then you know that your job is secure(at least you have reserve money until you find the next job).

Ubercuda
Ubercuda

To follow up on my own post - I'm not saying money is the only driving factor (though it sounds like it). I mean - if I can't pay my bills AND enjoy a healthy life where I can travel and grow individually without having to pull back because I run out of money, well I figure I need a better paying job. Even if it means puttting up with something less stimulating and/or people who are closer to gerbils.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

salary. Then when I achieved that and stress started killing me I discovered that no amount of money is good to you dead or incapacitated. Now my main criterion is getting to do cool stuff with cool people. I didn't see that on the survey, but thought intellectual stimulation was a close fit. :)

Professor8
Professor8

But what creates the most stress? Being pressured to do things that are unethical or not worthwhile... and not being paid enough to cover the cost of maintaining body and soul to be able to do the work. Work that aligns with ethical standards, that is positive rather than negative, that pushes the STEM envelope, and compensation that covers the cost of food, shelter and clothing for the professional and his family while rewarding great work and discouraging "crapware" is where it's at. So, "social networking" is out. CRM is out. Most data-base work is out. Most "location services" based work is out. Most ERP is out. "File sharing" is out. Surveillance cameras -- especially those linked with facial recognition and/or DNA data-bases are out. Digital medical records systems are out, and those which allow transmission of data (IOW all of them) even more out. Insecure e-money is out. Privacy- and liberty-reducing mass transit are out. Government-backed/-enforced oligopolies and monopolies are out. Hyper-credentialism is out. CAD/CAM/CAE is in. Nuclear physics is in. Chemistry is in. Aerospace engineering is in. Economics is in. History of the American Revolution is in. Genealogy walks the line between "in" and "out". Hacking the Red Chinese and Iranian ruling thugs is in. Gold, platinum, silver, palladium, copper, zinc, and iron are in. Oil, natural gas, wind-mills, and nuclear electricity (and chemistry and fracking and pipe-lines) are in. Micro-generation of electricity is in. Competition is in. Education and training, including auto-didacticism are in.

RW17
RW17

When I was fresh from university, it was salary... hands down. In retrospect, I was foolish! I did the exact same thing as many of those who do not go to university, etc... I jumped at having a steady paycheque because of the uncertainty of what to do next. As I have grown older (I am 41 now), I have learned that work-life balance, a reasonable stress level caused by my work environment, and working with like people are the most important. The "working with like people" might surprise some as how can one actually choose this? Well, I work in ERP implementation consulting. I am an ex-athlete with a variety of hobbies and interests around being physically active with a sporting team environment. Many of the individuals I work with seem to have grown up as far from sports as possible, with an orientation towards how wonderful their computer was / is. Thus, I find a lot of people I work with to be about as exciting as watching paint dry. And, as I have gotten older I have come to the conclusion of one absolute truth: the first factor to enjoying your job is to enjoy the people you work with!

suzan.reagan
suzan.reagan

When I was younger it was salary and flexible hours to take care of a growing family. The children are now all in college (yea!). Now, I'm looking at early retirement (52) in 5 years. I'll be to young to stay at home and do nothing. At this point my needs are different. In my next career, I want it to be Intellectually stimulating. That of course is the choice when money isn't the issue.

yodi.collins
yodi.collins

I embraced work I knew I would enjoy post-military, knowing full-well I would struggle financially. It was challenging, but I wasn't sitting around thinking that I should have made different choices. I took it a day at a time. Fast forward fifteen years to now, I don't know how my career compares to others, but I am still happy that I made that choice.

mhbowman
mhbowman

While I see the arguments for the other options, and I've often said that because I already enjoy my work, the only other motivation is more money for doing it. Having said that, I had a job about 15 years ago that was the epitome of horrible jobs. Bad boss with no technical knowledge or management skills, long hours, and too few people for the work required. I was on call every other weekend and it got to the point where I got up like it was an other work day because I knew I was going to be paged. I was paid a good salary, but when I had the opportunity to leave exactly one year later, I wouldn't have stayed another day for any amount of money. The only benefit I've received from working there has been perspective. Knowing that my worst day anywhere else exceeds my best day there, and that money doesn't fix everything.

flhtc
flhtc

I personally have to like what I'm doing... Rocket scientist or sheeny man (the guy who comes by late at night in the pickup truck to scour thru your garbage for some shinny bobbles). If you don't like it, it's not worth doing. All the above will come, to one degree or another, if you like what you do. Me, I get payed to play.

DBNewbie2007
DBNewbie2007

I think the criteria needs to be modified a bit. Most people's first choice would be Salary to ensure they can meet their bills/financial objectives and obligations, based of a "heirarchy" of needs (ref http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%E2%80%99s_hierarchy_of_needs) . After the "basic" requirements are met, then people start to look at other criteria for "choosing a career" and "Job Satisfaction" (in no particular order): -- Location of the office -- Perks -- Growth and Increment -- Work environment -- Job security (if there is such a thing anymore?) -- Job Satisfaction I know, for myself, I love my job (independance, learning, etc. but not necessarily where I am at), but upcoming financial constraints (heath care increases, cost of gas for commuting) will force me to look elsewhere.... so my answer would be "it depends"?

Ubercuda
Ubercuda

For me, any job can be intellectually stimulating if you are clever and can guide your work. But no amount of stimulation or job security or low stress levels can put food on the table and gas in the car (which became some of my larger expenses over the past ten years). Give me a salary that makes my non-work life comfortable and empowered and I'll do most anything for anyone.

richard.artes
richard.artes

There should be another category: corporate advancement. Whatever you want to call it climbing the corporate ladder is very important to some people, more important than the job itself. But if those people would have ticked the box is another question!

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

I'm with you on meeting needs and money is a way of getting there. You can substitute time and skill, but overall money is the most convenient...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

that ask about what sector of IT should they look at to get the best starting salary. I always tell them to go with what they enjoy; otherwise they'll just use the extra money on Maalox and psychiatrists.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Intellectually stimulating" is as close as this survey comes to 'personal satisfaction'.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

Sad thing is there are days I look around me and see the pool of cool shrinking... When kids ask about IT there is this gut level reaction on my part to say "don't go there!" I like your "go with what you enjoy" message.

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