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What Do I Want To Do With My Life? 3 Simple Steps To Help You Figure It Out

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You Don’t Know What You Want To Do With Your Life? That’s Completely Normal.

Many of my friends have recently finished school and they were terrified in the months leading to graduation day. They realized that after all of these years of schooling, all the homework, late night study sessions and problem sets they still had no clue what they wanted to do when they “grew up.” Yes they completed their requirements for their degree but that didn’t mean they were passionate about the work or could see themselves in that field for the next 30-40 years.

If you’re finishing youth service soon or you’re in your first real job and still haven’t found your passion yet I have good news for you. You are completely normal. Some people know from the time that they are 5 years old what they are going to do and others figure it out when they are 25, neither is better than the other. Unfortunately you can’t just spend all of your time relaxing on the beach thinking about what you want to do, so here are some ways you can move towards that career passion even if you aren’t sure exactly what is.

Calm Down: We are not like our parent’s generation where they got a job in a bank and stayed there until retirement. Many people change careers four or five times over the course of their careers and that is normal. Stressing and worrying will not help you find your career passion. It is best to take a long-term approach and focus on creating a plan.

Get Off The Couch: Once you have calmed down, you need to get off the couch. Figuring out your career passion will not come to you if you spend all of your time watching shows or surfing the web. It is important to discover what you do and do not like, what environments you do best in, and what kind of people you flourish around. By truly understanding yourself better you’ll be able to narrow down what types of careers you will do well in. One friend thought she wanted to be a consultant but she hates travelling and prefers to work alone, basically the exact opposite of what is needed in a consultant. She eventually found a job in communications that still gave her the ability to work on different projects like she was looking for, but kept her in one place and with limited team projects. There are personality tests like the Myers-Briggs and other career tests that can help you better understand what types of fields may be better for you. Take the time to do your research.

Talk to People: My mother sees things in me that I don’t see and that is probably the same for your mother, cousins, friends, and colleagues. Ask your friends and family what types of jobs they believe you would be good at. Also reach out beyond your circle and begin developing relationships with people in key industries that interest you. If you think you want to become a music video producer, search online for a local producer and ask to shadow them or ask them some questions over coffee. Most people will be more than happy to meet with you and will give you an honest perspective of that industry. Oftentimes we see the glitz and the glamour of a job but don’t recognize the hard work and dedication it takes to make it happen. By talking to people who currently work in those fields you can get a firsthand perspective before you make any big life changes.

Ultimately, it takes time to figure out the role your career will play in your life. For some people, it where they live out their passion but for other people it is a way to support their families and they showcase their passions in other ways. The most important thing is to figure out what is best for you.

Have a good day and enjoy the rest of your week.

Photo credit: Google Images
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Afua Osei is a strategy and communications consultant that has taken her expertise from helping companies and political campaigns to helping young women achieve their career goals. You can find more tips at www.TheSavvyMadam.com.

20 Comments

  1. enkay

    October 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    for a while i thought it was just not normal not to know what one wants to do with their lives after graduation (especially if they stumbled into the course they studied in uni) while others knew right from a tender age.with write ups like this,exposing the fact that one is not alone, one can calm down and start figuring things out!!!
    but my advice is don’t take too long to do so cos time is running pretty fast.
    thanks for the write up.

  2. Kiki N

    October 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I absolutely love thie article! I thought it was just me who constantly felt restless and stressed out about finding a career role that suits my personality and drive. I sometimes feel guilty about not being content with the job i have now even though i’m not happy at it. Just knowing that it’s ‘normal’ to feel this way makes a world of difference. Thank you.

  3. uche solomon

    October 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    am not doing any tin now,i need sum tin to earn my daily bread.

  4. Sylvia

    October 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Love this article cos it just sums up things that have been going around in my head. Thank you so much for putting this up and by the way y’all can take a sneek peek at my blog too- http://sylviachima.blogspot.co.uk

  5. Mana

    October 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Good writing! I think the best advice is to shadow someone of your dream job. Is then you can tell if the job will suit your life!

    http://www.finest-in-internet.com

  6. nems

    October 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Great article Afua! Been studying this subject of people finding their purpose and the common denominator of people that have discovered what they want to do is that they have always been drawn to it from childhood. Bill Gates joined a computer club in school long before computers were cool. A lot of times what you are meant to do is already in your life but people are usually blinded by the desire to get rich and pride that they don’t hold their little gifts and talents in high esteem. Explore your hobbies, what you enjoy doing, what you are passionate about, be ready to invest time and hardwork without immediate gratification. When you do that you will see new opportunities open up and you will end up in your dream job.

    http://www.anemistyle.blogspot.com

    • Thatgidigirl

      October 2, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      @ nems, wow! u said it all with “desire to get rich and PRIDE”. Most times, the pride is actually folly! I always had a passion for fashion design, but thought it was a shallow career choice, choosing to go into sciences instead even though i came tops in home economics every academic yr in sec sch. I passed up on several opportunities to develop my passion as a teenager and even in the university. Unfortunately, im back to square one attending a fashion school and junggling a 9 to 5 at the same time. Although i love that im finally doing what i ought to have done long ago, but the fact still remains that it is stressful right now and i have wasted alot of my time. Sometimes people keep going round in circles from one shitty job to another, because they do not want to sweat to realise their dreams. And even more because they would not let go of the pride that keeps lying to them that they are “working class material”….whatever that means.

    • nems

      October 3, 2012 at 10:02 am

      Feel you! Simalar situation with me, it took 2 degrees and a job and a pretty clear dream for me to realise that I had to let go of my pride and do what I love, I used to struggle with feeling that people with proper lawyer, Doctor jobs are better than me but since I embraced this path so many doors are opening.
      The present stress is just an investment into your future and soon you’ll realise that it was all worth it.
      http://www.anemistyle.blogspot.com

  7. brandigest

    October 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Lovely piece, very informative.
    http://www.brandigest.wordpress.com

  8. Mma

    October 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    This post is so relevant in this day and age when everybody seems to just want to be rich. Passion and drive has suddenly disappeared. Only get rich or die trying…

    Gorgeous ladies please check out this site.
    http://africansweetheart.blogspot.co.uk/

  9. @ajiriavae

    October 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    The main thing to think of when thinking of the direction you want your life to go, is to decide the lifestyle you want to live. That will determine a lot. Like how many hours you are willing to give to a job in everyday, if you want to work for a big or small firm, so many things.
    http://ajiristyle.blogspot.com/

  10. ola

    October 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    great post..more news and gist here at http://www.gistyinka.com

  11. Myne Whitman

    October 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Great article, love the tips.

  12. HOZ

    October 2, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    points noted.

  13. Akan

    October 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    I really love this article. Mine, i had a dream some years ago at my 14th about my career role, but i didn’t take it serious. I had to keep it from my guardian. And now, since the last two years, this sign is becoming headache and i had to tell my guardian, and they interpretes the dream to be what fate has destine for me. Now, what is this destiny? To become an unprecedented celebrity. I have visits local producers, yet they can’t give me what i want. Even some producers, screenwriters and directors in Nollywood can’t make me feel challenge in a bit. So, my ability in stagewright, screenwright, acting, directing, etc. is developing everyday like a super hero. If i can meet bouyant movie producer who has all the essence to boost a production. I will be so happy.

  14. faith

    October 3, 2012 at 1:42 am

    My husband has d same probLem.he doesn’t like his bank job. But hasn’t deceided yet on wat to do wen he growsup n time is running out.today he wnts to go into real estates as he did estate manAgement in school tomorrow its business n D day after its photography.he is just confused!!

  15. Tunesky

    October 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I’m in theasame shoe. The differnce is just that I am still in college. Got into college fairly early(16) and two years after I realize my current major isn’t what I want to do. Simce then every other day I decide to do one major or the other. Really Highly confused. I talk to mentors and the first question they ask me is what is my passion… I reply “I dont know” because thats the sincere truth.Sometimes I feel ashamed about that.However, the good thing to know from this aricle is that it is normal and it might take a while to find it. I also took the Myers briggs career inventry test. According to them my top interests was medical Science, science and healthcare

  16. Tonia

    October 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I want to go into business but still confuse.

  17. Ajoke

    October 4, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Story of my life

  18. Dazzle

    October 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Well this is what my career path seeks to solve and i had to come up with a blog for this, as one of the steps to fulfilling my vision. http://wwl-whatwelovetodo.blogspot.com/
    I admire people who have got it all figured out, but lets not forget that life is a journey of self discovery. As you grow you’d figure it out, but you hav to take a step, even if your not sure about it so that you do not watch life pass you by. Nothing is perfect.
    Im definitely not satisfied with my present 9 to 5 job.

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