Quality of Life Considerations
Regardless as to whether taking an aptitude assessment or a skills inventory is the best course of action, the most important aspect of career selection is that you find a happy balance between the kinds of work you're good at and the kinds of work that will be emotionally fulfilling. This task is complicated by the reality that you must also select work that will pay reasonably well. Of course, the definition of a "well-paying" career is highly individual. Everyone has their own idea of much money they need to earn in order to live comfortably. For some people an annual salary of $20,000 to $30,000 would be adequate. This might be a very meager income for others.
It is important to take your present and future income needs into account during your career selection process because when income needs are ignored or minimized during this process, people tend to choose work they enjoy over work that pay well. Emotional fulfillment at work, although very valuable, will not provide for your material needs. Ultimately, your overall happiness is affected both your satisfaction with your standard of living and by how much you enjoy the work you do. There is a very delicate balance between finding a career that you like and having a career that allows you to live in a manner that you find pleasing.
Recent government reports indicate that the national average income for a family of four to live comfortably requires that the family earn at least $54,000 USD annually. This figure will vary according to the cost of living in a particular area. Large metropolitan areas generally have a higher cost of living than smaller cities or rural areas. One can find average wage information listed by career on many of the sites that offer aptitude assessments and skills inventories. Money should not be the sole factor in your career search, but it should influence your decision-making.
Another issue that you should consider when planning for a career is the type of lifestyle you want to lead. Your lifestyle needs will help determine the types of careers that will be a good fit for you. Some careers will demand more of your time and attention than others. Having a good understanding about what your needs are allows you to make informed choices about your career path. If you require a flexible schedule or afternoon/evening work, then you'll know to avoid careers that demand your adherence to a 9-to-5 work day. If you know that working more than 40 hours per week is not a good option for you, you'll know to avoid careers that require a lot of overtime. Someone with fixed obligations outside of work needs a career that will accommodate those obligations. If you must attend to an ailing parent or a child with special needs for example, you will likely need a flexible schedule. On the other hand, if you have no such obligations or restrictions, a demanding, time-consuming career may be a good option.