From a young age, people start to feel pressure to decide what to do with their lives. Friends and family start asking “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and from then on you must spend your time thinking about your future career. But you can finish school and still have no idea what you actually want to do for a career. In fact, some people go through most of their lives without ever working out what they're destined for. You might be happy doing whatever comes along until you land on something that you love and are good at. But many people feel that they need to choose a career path to follow.
Some people seem to know their whole lives what they want to do. But what if it isn't that simple for you? It's not uncommon to be completely up in the air when it comes to picking a career. Why should you be expected to know what you're doing with the rest of your life at 16, 21 or even 30 years old? The truth is, you don't have to pick one career to follow for your entire life. Most people change paths at least once over their working life. But what you do need to do is figure out your next step, whether it's after school, after college or in the middle of your career. If you don't know where you're going, try thinking about some of the following things to work out what your next move is going to be.
Leave Things Open-ended
If you haven't the first clue where your life is going, don't pick a concrete career path for the sake of it. Even if you're feeling pressure from friends or family to go a certain way, stick to your guns and avoid choosing something that doesn't resonate with you. Without a firm idea of what you want to do, it's best to make decisions that give you several options. Instead of undergoing training in a vocational subject, take a course that will allow you to go on to do a number of things. For example, rather than earning a degree in medicine, you could take a degree in biology to leave your options more open. Don't commit yourself to something if your heart isn't in it, because it could feel like you wasted your time further down the line.
Discover Your Passion in Life
Not everyone can spend their life doing what they love for their job, but thinking about what you enjoy doing is a good start to finding a career path. It doesn't have to be your favorite hobby. If you are talented in something specific, even if it's not what you love to do the most, you might be able to turn it into a career. Even if you do have a great passion for something you can turn into a job, you might not enjoy it all the time. Every job has elements that are boring or difficult, so don't shy away from something that interests you because there are parts of the role you aren't so keen on.
Research Different Careers
Sometimes your imagination and knowledge, and that of career advisors, can fail you. When you try to think of things you can be, you probably get stuck after the usual suspects. But once you've ruled out teacher, lawyer, doctor and the like, there are thousands of other industries and professions that could suit you. Whether you have a particular field in mind or not, it will help you to research the roles you could fill. Use job websites like http://www.thejobexplorer.com to read job descriptions. You can see salary levels and find out the qualifications required for different jobs. You might stumble upon something you had never heard of before that you feel drawn to.
Decide What's Important to You
One of the things you should work out when you're trying to think about your future is the things that are important to you when it comes to work. For example, how much does your salary matter to you? Do you want to live comfortably or would you rather be living the high life? You should think about how much time you wish to dedicate to your career too. Some people are very career-driven and enjoy spending most of their time at work while others want time for friends and family. You can also consider how much you wish to work with other people, if you want to work indoors or outdoors, and whether you want to do something physical or not.
Keep Learning and Developing
Whatever you do, you should keep growing as a person and expanding your knowledge. As well as reading and learning in other ways, you should be building your skills, even if you don't know what you're going to do with them. While you feel uncertain about where you life is going, make sure you have a job that is helping you become more confident in the workplace. Even if you don't want to keep doing it, you're earning money and gaining skills that you can use in the future. And through your personal development you might find something new that you're passionate about and interested in.
Try New Things
One of the best ways of discovering what you're destined to do is being open to new things. Learning to try unfamiliar things and deal with any feelings that come from being outside of your comfort zone will prepare you for anything. You never know if accepting an invitation to attend an event or try a new activity will lead to an epiphany. Be open to opportunities that come your way, whether it's a job, business idea, or the chance to meet someone influential. If you don't keep your eyes open for new opportunities in life, one could pass you by.