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Discovering what you want to do for the rest of your career is something that many of us have thought about for at least some point or period in our lives. We tend to take whatever job we can get right out of college because let’s face it: the time to finally start paying down those loans is just around the corner, and more than ever, the real world is staring us down in the face. Sometimes, it looks downright scary. But then, then we get stuck.
We stick around long enough to make sure our
1. Think Backwards
I know this might not sound like solid advice, but here’s what I mean. Start thinking back over all the things you’ve done in life. Is there anything (s) that stand out you feel like or wish you could do over and over and over again? What really got you excited? When was the very happiest time in your life? What were you doing? What made that time period different? Have you ever wished you could be someone in particular? Why? What do they/did they do? If it was that it was filled with time with friends and social activities, maybe you need to start thinking less of the office job and more of the social world. Did you volunteer for some non-profit that got you all up and arms and ready to conquer the world? Maybe it’s not so much what you’re doing, but who you’re doing it for that would make the difference in your attitude towards employment.
2. Compile a List of What Makes You Happy
So, kinda similar here, but more generic. I like being active, going hiking, baking muffins, writing notes, playing hide and seek with my nieces and nephews. If you’re stumped, just remember the last time you really laughed or really felt awesome about life. It could be an answer like “the last time I had an amazing meal out.” Who cares, write it down. Maybe your future lies in restaurant reviews for all you know. Compile these ideas and start researching all the possible jobs related to them.
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3. Seek the Wise (or at least your “Semi-Wise” friends)
When you get stumped on #2 above, then ask your friends. What do they notice that makes you really happy? They might be the ones to remind you that it’s when you’re playing soccer and softball that you’re seriously the happiest you ever are. Coaching anyone? Maybe they see the light in your eyes when you’re doodling on a napkin during brunch. Who knows!
4. Dream Big
Not sure what you can pull off, can’t pull off in the immediate future? It doesn’t matter. The sky is the limit when it comes to dreaming. If you had unlimited time, unlimited funding, and unlimited support from those around you, what would you do? Don’t worry if these ideas don’t seem like they can translate into any source of employment. Like, parachuting from planes or surfing the Caribbean. Maybe you can’t move to Bermuda and become a full-time surfer. But, maybe you can write about surfing or work as a marketer for an online surfboard company?
5. Dip Your Toes In
Finally, get a little bit involved in a bunch of things you think might interest you. I don’t suggest you go quit your full-time job with benefits to see if you might like cooking in a bistro restaurant because you’ve always thought it sounded sexy and exciting. Volunteer some time and just try it out. Take a class related to a passion of yours and see if you can picture yourself doing that for the next 25 years.
Taking a class is actually one of the very best ways you can dip your toes into your dream career. As long as you seek out a class from a trusted and respected institution like IMBC, you should be able to make the most of the experience. You will likely come out the other side with more knowledge and the necessary skills – and a fire underneath you to get you going!
6. Commit to a Plan
This is potentially the most crucial step there is. It’s easy to talk and dream, and it’s even easier to tell yourself that you’re resigned to do exactly what you are doing, have been doing, and that it’s what you’ll always be doing, even if you hate it. That, my friends, is lethal. This is why you need a concrete, realistic plan. In 1 month you’ll have a list of 5 things that you are going to dip your toes into. In 3 months you’ll have tried out all 5, in 5 months you’ll have researched potential jobs and figured out the best means to apply, etc. Whatever your plan is, put time limits on things. That might not sound exciting, but the fact that your mind will have some hope will make a huge difference in you actually making a change.
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Don’t be frustrated if you don’t like what you’re doing and don’t really know what you want to do either. We’ve all been there. It’s just a process. And the more you can enjoy the process along the way, the happier you will most likely end up! Go for it! Be adventurous and dare to dream as big as you can. You never know what dreams come true.