Here are our top 12 questions to ask the person you are shadowing.
1. What’s a typical work week like?
While you are shadowing someone you will no doubt see what all the job entails and what a work day might be like. However if you’re only doing a short job shadow be sure and ask this question as well as further questions to find out the work schedules, hours, and on the job requirements.
2. How did you get started?
A fun question for most people to answer and a fun one to hear answered. Everyone’s got a story, ask this and hear theirs. This will help you understand what got them interested and into this career and further help you understand if this is something for you.
3. What do you like about what you do?
It will obviously be good to know what they like about what they do. Ask this question to hear if the things they like about the job would be things you would like as well.
4. What do you dislike?
Equally important as the question above. Things some people dislike other people would like(and vise versa with question #3). Ask this question to hear the downsides of a potential career.
5. How much money do you make?
6. How much money did you make starting out?
No doubt the most controversial questions and most uncomfortable to ask. But at the end of the day, in order to be happy in your career, you have to put food on the table and you have to have a job or career that satisfies your personal income desires.
Most people you shadow will be happy to share how much they make. And you may be surprised, some careers may make more than you thought, and some less.
And while making money is one of the reasons we all work almost all people will tell you that having a personally fulfilling job is most important.
Or as this Oncologist said: “You need to follow whatever your passion is, otherwise you’ll be miserable…If you’re doing something just to make these little rectangular, green pieces of paper you’re never going to be happy.”
7. What education or skills are needed to do this?
The earlier you find the answer to this question the earlier you can plan your career path. Perhaps you need lots of school like a general surgeon, or perhaps you need lots of time outdoors and on the water like a Pro Bass Fisherman.
8. What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Perhaps the most important question. Someone who is successful in their career(which should be your target for a job shadow) will be able to provide invaluable advice to help you make your career decisions.
9. How much time off do you get/take?
Finding a good work/play balance inline with what you need is one key to finding a rewarding career. You might be able to work and play at the same time
10. What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
We’ve all got visions in our heads of what we think certain jobs might be like. They might not be as glamorous, or even as bad as you thought though. Asking the person you’re shadowing this question will help cast light on any preconceived notions you may have.
Good luck with it and have fun!