As we’re growing up, we’re often asked what we want to be. As small children our answer is obviously always incredibly basic and typically influenced by the careers we are frequently exposed to: doctor, police officer, trash collector, etc. Even after we’ve reached adulthood sometimes our ideas of career opportunities can be pretty narrow.
For many, it isn’t until we reach college (and sometimes after) and begin exploring the realities of different careers that the job opportunity door blows open. We suddenly realize that there is so much more to becoming a doctor, a scientist, or even a lawyer than we previously thought; there are specialties within specialties. It is around this point when many of us acknowledge there are multitudes of ways in which to achieve projected career goals.
Same Dog, New Tricks
To elaborate this point with a medical example, the majority of us tend to think broadly of the medical field as limited to doctors and nurses. However, this is certainly not the case. Healthcare facilities have administrative staff, HR personnel, maintenance crews, medical technicians, and more. Even doctors and nurses can vary widely based upon their specialties which can range from pediatrics, to neuroscience, to gerontology.
Depending upon the specialty, the lines between doctors and nurses can even begin to blur. In fact, the rift between doctors and nurses has gotten progressively smaller over the past few decades. For this reason, if your career goal is to help people with health conditions have a higher quality of life, limiting yourself to only becoming a doctor could greatly reduce your career opportunities.
Lines of Gray
By delving even further into the nuances of all the opportunities to help people within a medical career, you soon realize that even choosing to become a nurse still leaves a great number of options on the table. For instance, if you prefer a fast-pace lifestyle where quick decisions are key, you may prefer becoming an emergency room nurse. If you are more drawn to working with a specific condition you might focus on becoming something like an oncological nurse. There are even options available to those that would like autonomy to develop treatments for patients as a nurse practitioner.
Often times, we are unaware of the many different career choices out there when we enter the job market. Failing to see these lines of gray can limit the types of jobs we search for and apply to, which in turn can make finding a career we love more difficult. This can be the case in nearly every industry if we look properly.
Freedom to Choose
Sometimes finding an alternative path to your career goals can have a number of additional benefits. For instance, some physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners make almost as much as normal doctors. However, these two alternative careers have the added benefit of fewer years of higher education and far fewer student loans.
Additionally, these alternative careers may have more flexible schedules that suit your lifestyle a bit better than a traditional nine to five. They may offer slightly different and unique opportunities to you as an employee as well.
Becoming aware of the vast array of differing career opportunities is a great way to find alternative ways in which to meet your career goals. Frequently, we are unaware of a number of job openings that are available that meet these goals because we are unsure of the variety of similar positions out there. As you step into the job market be sure to keep an open eye for these potential alternative careers.
About the Author: Brittni Brown is a current Masters student at the University of Idaho. In her free time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and rafting.