Finding Your Career Path – For Now
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life is no cakewalk. It is that big question that seems to plague us throughout and especially after college.
I sat there asking “Now what?” as I wished my high school counselor had made us think past exams and college, and more on what we wanted to be. Well, here are a few things that you could try and see how they work for you:
1. Have a breakdown
Ah, counterintuitive I know. Let go a bit; see if things sort of unravel. Sometimes we are holding on by a very thin thread. Break it and see what you find. This doesn’t mean that you will fall into a depression, it doesn’t mean that it will be an earth shattering moment. Sometimes it means letting yourself feel tired of it and pushing it off. It is essentially meditating with the permission to be dramatic about it. When you reach the bottom, the only way is up. I had a breakdown which for some ridiculous reason tended to include angrily cleaning my room with the saddest country music as a backdrop. Oscar worthy if I can say so myself. The benefit of all this for me was that I began nitpicking what I missed or wanted and how I could fulfill that in the future.
2. Take up some hobbies/sports
Want to be a parasailer or beat the highest level of World of Warcraft? DO IT! Kids learn through play – why shouldn’t we? We are, after all, oversized kids. I went with arts and crafts, and martial arts. I love making handmade things so I have indulged in crochet, jewelry making, needlepoint, sewing, carpentry, loom knitting, and other DIY’s. Ok, so I may sound like an old fart; guess what? I don’t care. These things make me happy and your “career” should too. I also enjoy these things because I like puzzles and solving problems. Solving problems is why I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Jiu Jitsu is a contact sport and you have to come to terms with the fact that you probably will fail, fall, and panic (even if it’s for a second). The cards were stacked against me as the only woman in the class most of the time, but I made it through. I like the challenge. That is what I want from my job, an ever-changing challenge. Who knows you might find that what you considered a passionate hobby/hobbies is actually a career path.
3. Talk, Shadow and Research people
I studied Biology so I ended up working at an aquarium for three years. Every day I would talk to other employees about what they did and why they did it. IMPORTANT: ask what they don’t like about it; it is easy to romanticize a job. I shadowed the vet, rescue clinic, and trainers. I even interned in research. There, I learned I do not want to be stuck at a computer all day. I dropped the idea of becoming a “classical researcher” like a bad boyfriend. I was in physical therapy a lot at that time (Jiu jitsu leads to injuries, especially if you get cocky) and I had the chance to learn a lot from my therapist about the job. Guess what? I have since dismissed my idea of becoming a physical therapist. I do not think I am blessed with the patience therapists at the clinic have.
Lastly, do not underestimate the power of casual conversation in your quest. Talking to strangers can sometimes lead you to a new job prospect you would have never thought of. Still be wary of the candy.
4. Watch TV
Remember when watching TV was the worst thing you could do? Thank you smartphones for making the TV less problematic than texting. Use this to your advantage people. Everyone has favorite shows; learn from them. I don’t just mean educational shows I am talking about all of it. When I applied to Jacobs my essay was about wanting to be like Gill Grissom from CSI. I admired him being calm cool and collected when all you wanted to do was slug the guy they were after (might be a reason I ended up in Mercator). Plus you get a look at careers you might not have thought of: fashion, nail design, tattoo artistry, costume designer (Comic-Con) etc.
In conclusion, these may seem sort of random but they have helped me the most. I have realized that I am not going to limit myself to one career. I do not work that way. I’ve taken all those career personality tests and they did not help much. I have since decided what I want to be: a Veterinarian, and maybe specialize as a surgeon.I do after all enjoy cutting and sewing. Currently, I am enrolling in a community college to finish my pre-requisites. I plan to apply for vet schools in the Caribbean and EU.
Had I followed the personality tests alone I wouldn’t be anywhere near the thought of being a vet. I also love performing and I have decided to keep that going. No reason you can’t do it all (you just might not be able to do it all at once). Look at Hans Walters, Marine Biologist at New York Aquarium, who was part of a heavy metal band for 9 years.
My point is, figure out what you want to be you have to think outside the box. Make the journey to the answer fun and overall look for what makes you happy.
Not everyone thinks that this is a good idea. I have been told to rethink vet school because I don’t seem “committed” to it, and if I am unsure I should wait. I say no. School is School is School; they are all difficult to get into and (at least in the US) cost a lot. Who knows maybe vet school is a whim and I might not use the degree very long. So what!
Let me know what your thoughts on the matter is by commenting below.
Vicky studied Biology/Neuroscience at Jacobs and now is looking for the next step. Making the journey a fun one she tries various jobs and hobbies. She believes humor is the key to survival, and toddlers have all the answers. She enjoys DIY projects, reading, hiking, traveling and making friends
Photo Credits: Peter Trimming on Flickr