What am I supposed to do with my life?
January 27, 2020
Your future career will affect almost all aspects of your life. Most people spend the majority of their lifetime in the workforce, so planning your career path is incredibly important. A job will take up your time, determine where and how you will live, your quality of life and even affect your impact on the world. These are big things to think about, and even though we’re technically adults, a lot of the times we still feel like kids and don’t want to think about making these decisions just yet. Here’s a starting framework to help you tackle the overwhelming question “what am I supposed to do with my life?”
Think about what you enjoy doing
Because you will be working for a large portion of your life, you probably want to be doing something that you like. Take the time to reflect on all of your hobbies, interests and any jobs you’ve always had an interest in. That being said, we can’t all start at our dream job …
Discover what you’re actually good at
Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a ballerina but can’t dance to save your life. Or maybe you dream of being a doctor, but you hate science classes with all of your heart. It’s a harsh reality, but you have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes we just aren’t good at things, and they probably wouldn’t make a good career for us. Another way to figure out if you would be good in a specific field is to shadow job positions or apply for internships. This is a sure way to reveal if you think you could handle a similar job.
Consider your ideal lifestyle
If living a comfortable lifestyle or having expensive vacations is important to you, you have to factor that desire into your career search. Many jobs would be a great fit for you, but unless they pay a certain amount of money, you won’t be able to afford that type of lifestyle. How much you make is not the most important thing, but at the least you need to be able to make a living.
Look at the overlap
Research careers and majors you would enjoy, be good at and that would fit your desired lifestyle. This is your best bet in finding something that will check all of the boxes. Most career or “what should my major be?” quizzes can guide you toward career fields that would best fit your standards.
What to do if my major/job doesn’t fit these categories?
Your profession doesn’t have to be something you love. In fact, if you really love doing something it’s generally best not to turn it into a job. Many times people who have made a career out of something they do for pure enjoyment eventually lose passion for it because the work made them resent it. Additionally, if your career isn’t something that you initially enjoy, you can still find purpose in it. Finding meaning in your job, whether it be the help you provide to your clients, the value your work brings to society or the reason you need to be working, like family, can bring excitement to your workday, even if it’s not your original passion.
These decisions are really hard, so it’s OK if you don’t have all the answers right now. You can always change your major, and you don’t have to stay at the same job for the rest of your life. Keep these things in mind and meet with your adviser if you need more guidance. Good luck!
Cassie is a sophomore in Business.