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Career Planning Myths

Schedule an appointment with the Major & Career Counselor to discuss your career planning needs.

Myth: Choosing a major/career is an easy process.

Fact: Deciding on a major/career is actually an involved process, and you should give it the time it deserves. Career planning is a multi-step process that involves learning enough about yourself and the occupations which you are considering in order to make an informed decision.

Myth: A career "test" or counselor will tell me exactly what is right for me.

Fact: Career assessment tools and qualified counselors can help to guide you in your major/career decision. However, you cannot just rely on one test or one meeting with a counselor to decide what to do with the rest of your life. Ultimately, you are the “career decision maker” and need to consider your values, experience, and any number of practical considerations (expenses, opportunities, training requirements, family issues, geographical location, etc.) to come up with a good career match.

Myth: My choice of major/career should please my parents, friends, neighbors, etc.

Fact: The approval of others is not essential for your career choice. People who know and care about you will be happy if your career brings you self fulfillment. It may take them a little time to recognize that your choice is right for you, but eventually they will be delighted when they see your career success.

Myth: There is something wrong with me if I do not know today what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Fact: Career decision making is a process and not an event. Deciding prematurely based on inaccurate or insufficient information is always a mistake. People may vary on the amount of time they need to make career decisions. The important thing is to engage in activities that help you learn about yourself and career options.

Myth: I will not be successful if I change my major or career choice.

Fact: The average college student can change his/her major up to three times while in college. You are better off changing your major than staying in a path that is not right for you. College life will help you grow and expand as a person. The more you learn about yourself and the occupations you are considering, the more likely it is you will make a wise career decision.

Myth: My major will totally determine my career.

Fact: Unless you are planning to enter an area that requires specific technical skills, one major can lead to many different careers. In fact, many people find themselves working in fields that are only remotely related to their majors.

Myth: A college degree will assure me a successful future.

Fact: All a college degree assures you of is an education. It is vital that you combine your college degree with good career planning. This greatly increases your chances of having a rewarding career and successful future.

Myth: My grades alone will determine my employability.

Fact: Each profession is a little different. Most employers focus on a well-rounded individual who, in their eyes, has a higher value than one with only good grades. Employers may want their candidates to have some work and volunteer experience; outside interests and activities; personal, professional, and academic references; leadership qualities; communication and interpersonal skills; and good character.

Myth: The money will make me happy.

Fact: Money doesn't necessarily lead to job satisfaction. Surveys show that people who do not enjoy what they are doing will eventually become dissatisfied regardless of the money they are making. However, you should consider earnings, among other things, when evaluating an occupation.

Myth: Only one career will make me happy. Once I choose a career, I'm stuck with it for life.

Fact: Many fields have the potential to satisfy your career goals because most people derive satisfaction from a variety of activities. With over 15,000+ career possibilities, it would be unrealistic to think that only one would be the right choice for you. The average adult doesn't settle on a career until some time in his or her 30's. Your interests, values, abilities, and aspirations may be different at ages 20, 30, 40 and beyond. If so, you change or modify your career accordingly. Changing careers is only a problem if you think it is a problem.

This article was adapted from: Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc., Strong Interest Inventory Resource: Strategies for Group and Individual Interpretations in College Settings; and Gary Lynn Harr, Career Guide: Road Maps to Meaning in the World of Work.