The literature about likelihood for career success is largely wrapped around self-esteem and related support systems available to children. As we develop, we form opinions about ourselves related to careers based on feedback that we gain from outside sources. These may be based on affirmations from our parents or teachers that are themselves based on academic achievement. Several studies argue that men and women from families of higher socio-economic status are more likely to choose professions that require more formal education to enter than those from families of lower socio-economic status. In answer to the question of whether men or women are more likely to be successful in particular career fields, my answer is no and that it depends on level of support and past success with skills typically related to those careers.
While we all like the idea that we can pursue any career that we may wish, I am convinced that not all careers are particularly well suited to all individuals. That is, just because a child has all the support available to assist them in gaining entry and achieving success in a career field, they should not necessarily choose it. While we learn a great deal from education that prepares us for careers, there are a lot of innate abilities and talents that are difficult for us to tie together and neatly relate to a career choice. Happily, career assessments can help us to do much of this work. I would not argue that in career assessments we may find the key to all happiness for our lives, but they do help reconcile many of the struggles we deal with regularly in trying to relate our backgrounds to potential career satisfaction.
In sum, career choices require a great deal of self-reflection about one’s background and how it relates to the world of work. As life expectancy and estimates of our years of work continue to increase, understanding our strengths relative to an ever-changing workplace becomes increasingly important. I gained from the literature about career success that the more support that we gain in understanding careers and ourselves relative to them (whether men or women), the greater likelihood of career success.