Chapter 18: Career Planning


Bryon always knew he wanted to be a fireman. He can remember as a kid being elated by the fire trucks as they screamed past on their way to helping people. He has always been sure that a career in protection services is the right choice for him. Given that people will always need those services, Bryon figures he’ll have job security, will be able to raise a family, and will have many chances for advancement along with plenty of thrills on the job.

Although she is starting out as a lab technician, Tomika is not clear about her career ambitions. She wants to do something fun and interesting, where she won’t hate going to work every day—but mostly she wants a career that will afford her the opportunity for professional advancement, increasing pay, and the chance to raise a family. She has enjoyed her science courses at school. She figures that since health care is a growth industry, with technological advancements and the aging population, she will choose a career in health.

Some people know what they want to do at an early age. For most people, however, the path is just not that clear. Career planning and development can be a process of trial and error as you learn your abilities and preferences by trying them out. Sometimes a job is not what you thought it would be, sometimes you are not who you thought you would be. The better your decision-making process—the more objective and methodical it is—the less trial and error you will have to endure.

Your financial sustainability depends on having income to support your spending, saving, and investing. A primary component of your income—especially earlier in your adult life—is income from your wages or salary, that is, from working, selling your labor. Your ability to maximize the price that your labor can bring depends on the labor market you choose and your ability to sell yourself. Those abilities will be called on throughout your working life. You will make job and career choices for many different reasons. This chapter looks only at the financial context of those choices.