News flash: It is OK not to know what career you want

Well-p, here you are, so grown-up, so big, so self-important, and yet you absolutely have no idea what to do and for what to strive for. You’ve graduated your school/college/university, but still don’t have any answers to the questions you had. What’s worse, is that you have even more questions than ever. 

And, as if to add insult to injury, everybody else seems to have their life under control. They seem to know what they want and how to achieve it, and always try to show you this by giving tips, because they so “obviously” know every little thing in this world better. All of these “All you have to do is follow your dreams”, “When the door is closed, you just have to keep knocking”, and “Nothing is impossible, just do it!” are just so annoying and frustrating. 

What dreams, what bloody doors, do what? Handing out clichés to people will not help anybody, and I personally am acquainted with this fact. Rarely does someone presents us with any specifics, so I’ve decided to change the trend and offer some well-deserved practical advice.

depression

When you don’t know what to do…

So, if you are stressed about and anxiety-ridden from not having any idea what to do with your life, then the first step is to take your angst, worry, and restlessness under control. Take a chill pill, a breather, cool off, do whatever to calm your nerves: nervous people seldom make good decisions. 

To help you calm down, I’ll share with you a little secret: a lot of people do not have their life figured out and are only putting up a façade. Actually, almost three-quarters (72%) of young professionals in the UK have experienced a quarter-life crisis, leading them to re-asses their career path and life choices. So, Most of the people who give such advice are either big hypocrites, or just naïve personalities, who really just don’t know better.

Life with its endless possibilities is too big to take on and figure out in one go. There’re no simple answers, we’re the only ones, who are responsible for our own lives and future; we’re left at our own devices to make a tiniest bit of sense out of this madness. These are some frightening realizations, a great French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said we are “condemned to be free”. 

However, there’s a great consolation: we have our whole lives to figure out, what to do. Hell, many say you never stop learning. So, whether you do or don’t know what career to purse, remember to take your time and relax.

career_opportunities

“I might be not passionate about anything…”

There is a pretty big misconception floating around in popular culture regarding passion. People seem to think that one day you wake and everything just “clicks”.  No years of contemplation, no dozens of unsuccessful beginnings, and no trials and tribulations, all you need is that eureka-moment.

Would that it were so simple, sadly, real life doesn’t work like that, nobody becomes passionate about anything from thin air. At fault are many movies and books that misrepresent passionate people. In written and visual media passionate characters are always romantic, ready to dedicate their life to one particular task, and they were had their passion from a very early age. 

Such cases are very-very rare. The reality is such, that people become passionate about work in the process of working. Don’t make the mistake of becoming paralyzed with thought and consideration, and just jump into work. What kind of work? Anything that strikes a chord with you. As it was put in an interesting Forbes article, “stop trying to find your passion and instead be passionate!” 

So put on your Indiana Jones hat and go on a figurative adventure, or maybe and a literal one. Don’t look for a passion, just look any work, and you are sure to develop passion for your work.

career_path

“But I don't know what career to pursue!”

Now that we’ve dealt with that pesky passion, we need to address the problem of career choice. Even if you take out passion from the equation and decide upon working, the field of work still need to be chosen, there’s no way around it.

When choosing a field of work, you have a lot of options available to you, even maybe too much. No, definitely too much, so how would one do it? If your first instincts say to you to “cut down the numbers”, then your instincts serve you well.  Here are a few ways of going about it:

  • Approaching the problem from the complete opposite and making a list of what do NOT want to do. This will eliminate a lot of professions for sure and give you a foundation of jobs for you to choose from;
  • Writing all of your abilities and rating how proficient you are at certain tasks, and then choosing a job based on your competencies. Good at lateral thinking and fancy writing? - Maybe being a creative writer is just for you. Just repeat this process until you find something you fancy;
  • Imagining working a job that is 80-90 hours per week, and you have to work your butt off at this job, week after week. Now imagine how you are leaving your job, driving home, getting nice and comfy at home, and then your phone rings. They need you back at work. What job would make you go back? Answering this question may shed some light onto the problem;
  • Considering turning you hobbies in to fulltime jobs. There are many, many- many-many stories of people succeeding by only turning to their hobbies. Keep in mind that this is always an option.

These, of course, are not the only methods to figure out a career for yourself, but you should try them out and you are sure to find something. 

passionate_about_work

Don’t be timid about wanting more out of life

The next problem for us to overcome is the shy approach to life that many of us indulge in. We’re afraid of taking big leaps of faith, confronting the chaos, and would rather stay in our favorite little comfort zones. Returning back to Sartre and his ‘condemnation’, we find in them not determinism, but keys to happiness, because we can define ourselves however we want. We do not have to restrict ourselves to being just a waiter, or a recent graduate, or a son/daughter, we have the freedom to choose and choose again. What in the world do I mean by this?

Ok, let’s say that you’ve just graduated and don't know what to do after college. Haven’t the slightest bit of a clue. Should you stick to the specialization you chose early on in your life, or should try your luck at some other field? Oh, what to do? No, you should stick to your guns, right? Wrong, unless you really want to (but in that case, you wouldn’t be reading this article). 

In addition to having the time to figure yourself out, you have the multiplicity of choices laid out in front you. So the aforementioned ‘endless possibilities’ are nothing, but a beautiful feature of life. Is there something to your liking? Find an internship in that field. You’re getting quite bored and dispirited? Change it up! Rinse and repeat the process until you find your heart burning with passion for the work you do. So, don’t be timid about work and life in general.

How to figure out what you want to do for a living

So, you’ve come to this last heading still saying to yourself, “I have no idea what to do with my life”, still pondering how to figure out what you want in life? If you actually follow the advice presented in this article, you won’t be bothered by these difficulties, as you will be busy with work. There are times for contemplation, and times for action. This occasion requires the latter.

I urge you to keep at this task of finding your passion, because passionate people not only contribute greatly to their own happiness, but also to the happiness of others. 

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