The Importance of Job Shadowing

It took me what felt like an eternity to figure out what I wanted to do in life. I have researched every college program under the sun, from IT to nursing, and everything in between. My goal for this article is to help you save years of frustration, confusion and aggravation from setting in. Allow me to explain.

It is vital that you find a career that you honestly enjoy. If you are anything like me, I thought that if I had a well-paying job, it didn’t really matter what I did for a living. Boy was I wrong. It is easy to convince yourself in your mind that you may enjoy a job, but until you actually experience it, you really have no idea.

There was a time when I thought that I would like to be in the automobile insurance industry. After all, a friend of the family was doing it and really enjoyed her job every day. So, I thought that it would be a good idea to get my license in selling car insurance. I purchased the class, books, and all of my food and accommodations for the time I would be spending there. I was excited and looking forward to beginning my new career. The first day everything was going great except for one thing – I realized that I hated learning this stuff. So, that was the end of that brilliant idea, along with all of the money I wasted.

The moral of this story? Job shadow someone in the field where you think you would like to work before diving head first into a career.

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A few years later, I thought about becoming a nurse. I had a good friend who was doing it and seemed to really enjoy it. He discussed the pros and cons with me but overall he was very encouraging of me to begin to study his field. However, this time I was smart. I learned from my previous mistake and asked my friend if I could come to work with him and job shadow him for a day. He thought that was a good idea and I did just that.

I was doing ok at first with the nurses in the emergency room until I watched a patient getting blood drawn. I forced myself to watch and found myself getting dizzy and the darkness began to close in around me. Yes, I was on my way to passing out and had to get assisted from some of the other nurses to bring me back with a chair, juice, and granola bars.

After that experience, I gave up wanting to become a nurse. Thankfully, I found out sooner rather than later.

So, if you think you may enjoy a certain field of study, make sure you find someone to “take you under their wing.” You will save yourself a lot of time and money if you can figure this out as soon as possible. You don’t want to go to school for years and years just to realize that you hate what you’re doing. Take your time and research the areas that interest you. Then, find a mentor who can help you every step of the way.

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