Career Advice

So, What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?

posted on January 14, 2015 | by Amanda Holstein

So, What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?

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When you’re a kid, everyone always asks you what you want to be when you grow up. When you’re a teenager, they ask where you’ll go to college. And when you’re in your twenties? Everyone wants to know what you want to do with your life. First of all, what does that even mean? There are very few people that can answer this question honestly: doctors and criminals with a life sentence. The truth is, things are always changing. So how do we figure out what to aim for now?

After reading a hilariously blunt article called 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life PurposeI took away some pretty valuable insights. First of all, this article assumes that your life purpose is the same thing as your career. I’m going to go ahead and say that’s not always accurate, but for this post, I’m just going to focus on the career aspect. Here are a few takeaways that may help you figure out at least your next step in your career, because who needs to create their whole life plan in one day (or week, or year)?

Everything Sucks, Sometimes

I hear this from both of my parents all the time, but it’s hard for me to accept: No job is perfect. In other words, everything is going to suck at some point. The key is to figure out what we are willing to stick with, despite those rough patches. If we love something so much that it’s worth those difficult times, then that something is worth doing.

What Did You Do for Fun as a Kid?

It’s not crazy to think about your hobbies as a kid and what always seemed to get you excited. Those things may still excite you today, perhaps in a slightly different way. Was there something you did just because you wanted to? Not because you were rewarded for it, but because it gave you pure pleasure? I loved drawing and doodling. I was always scribbling my name in bubble letters and drawing regular everyday scenes, like people shopping at the grocery store. Now, I’m not sure exactly what that means I should do, but I’m gonna think about it and get back to you.

Don’t Not Do Something Because You’re Afraid of What Others Might Think

This one’s a biggie in my opinion. If you grew up at a competitive private school where finance and full-time white collar jobs ran the world, then you might be too afraid to consider something like hair styling or interior decorating. Close your ears to what others might say or how others might judge you and ask yourself what makes you happy.

You Don’t Know How You Feel About Something Until You Experience It

I’ve always been one to plan ahead and to try to make a decision before I truly have all the information I need. How can you decide if you want to be a teacher if you’ve never actually stood in a classroom and taught kids? Two takeaways from this: (1) Take the time in your twenties to try anything you’re curious about. Open your mind to ideas that may sound crazy to others (or even to you) and just give it a chance so you can find out how you feel about it. (2) Guess what? You don’t have to know what you want to do. In fact, how can you until you’ve tried it? Now that takes a whole lot of pressure off.

What’s Important to You in Life?

Sometime we forget to take a step back and think about the big picture. We’re so used to trying to do our best and get to the next level in our career, that we forget to think what we actually want in life. Think about the kind of career that would fit your desired lifestyle. For example, the most important thing for me in life is to be happy, and I do that by balancing my personal life with my work and by connecting with people I love. Figure out what’s most important to you in this one life you have and make sure you consider it in every decision you make.

Wow, that was a doozy! Who knew I had so much to say. What are your thoughts on this? Does this question ever stress you out? Lets chat.