Career Choice

Learn how to make good decisions

Woman Sergeant Jerr Johnson Heron (second right), coordinator of Kingston Central Community Safety and Security, shares a moment with students and stakeholders at St George’s College. The occasion was a special meeting at the school to address a recent series of violence against students in Kingston.

Angela deFreitas CONTRIBUTOR

Many people reach a stage in their working life when they feel and know that they are in the wrong career. They made poor decisions when they were young. Those decisions may have been any one of the following:

• They followed their friend(s) and took the same path they were taking.
• They thought first about the amount of money they would earn in the job they were choosing.
• They thought they wanted to be powerful and have a big image out there, and so chose something which would put them on a high pedestal and in the limelight.
• They just made no decision at all and just wandered aimlessly and unplanned into something which happened to come across their path.

After some time, they are able to admit that they are not happy in their career.

In order for that to not happen to you, you need to have a method of making good decisions, not only in relation to your education and career, but also to other important life decisions. Good decisionmaking will be essential in choosing the right paths in life.

The decision-making method called ACIP (pronounced like “a sip” of tea) will help you. In this acronym:

A = ALTERNATIVES

When making an important decision, always consider ALL your options by thoroughly exploring all possibilities. Get advice from others. Ask them for suggestions and don’t just ask your friends. Speak with your mentor – if you have one – your teacher or a guidance counsellor. Brainstorm. Be imaginative.

C = CONSEQUENCES

Once you have narrowed down your alternatives to those that seem best to you, weigh the possible pros and cons of each alternative. These should include the gains and losses to yourself and significant others, whether you would approve or disapprove of yourself if you chose this alternative, and whether the important people in your life would approve or disapprove of your choice.

I = INFORMATION

In this step, you research and accumulate more information about the alternatives you are considering, as well as new facts that either support or change the gains and losses you came up with. Use all the resources available to you – the Internet, the library, career counsellors, persons who are working in the career field that you are interested in, teachers, mentors, etc. Get your information from all relevant, knowledgeable and trustworthy sources. Remember that you cannot have too much information on any decision you are considering.

P = PLANS

Once you have made your choice, it’s time to start planning. Make detailed plans for putting your choice into action. Also, make contingency plans for handling any negative consequences that might arise from your choice. It is important to write down your plans and review them regularly, making changes when required. Keep it in front of you to help you to stay focused on your goals.

• Angela deFreitas is general manager of CHOICES Career & Education Advice, publishers of The Career Key and CHOICES Career & Education Magazines. Email info@choicesonlinejm.com. Send us your comments and suggestions on what you want to know more about.

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