Could you believe it, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I’m a 20-something, young woman with a Bachelors degree, and yet I’m still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I’m certain that my personal declaration resonates with many people, more than they would like to admit. There are people well into their 30’s and 40’s that are plagued with this same question, however the real question is, how on earth are we expected to know what we want to do for the rest of our entire life?
To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever know what I want to be when I grow up. Now before you begin to gasp at my statement, hear me out clearly. I believe a person can have many careers through out their lifetime, which they don’t have to necessarily be pigeon-held into until they retire. Life is pretty long, so personally I can’t just choose one thing for the rest of my life to be, accordingly I’ll be and do many things in this lifetime of mine. Furthermore, in my journey I’m constantly evolving and growing, which means my interests, skills, and talents are transforming as well. This doesn’t suggest that I’m going to go from lifestyle blogger to being a neurosurgeon, by the way which isn’t impossible; it just means that I’m not afraid to transition to opportunities that align more with my purpose.
All things considered, to get where I am today wasn’t an easy road, it took a ton of self-reflection and discovery. Back when I choose my career path, I choose it from a limited perspective and mindset, not knowing myself and what my career would actually encompass. We all have ideas of what a particular profession might be about, but most of the time we never find out until we actually get there. Case in point, I was excited about my first fashion design gig I snagged the 3rd day of being in NYC, however months later I realized it wasn’t what I thought it would be. Following that opportunity, I went head and tried my hand at several different things like fashion styling, e-commerce, etc., but it wasn’t quite a right fit. This is not to say I was bad at any of these careers, I was just looking for something that made my heart sing. After much needed soul searching, I’ve finally found something that has struck a nerve in me, which is to awaken, inspire, and empower others.
In light of this, from as long as we can remember, and throughout childhood, our parents and teachers have always posed the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” However, I don’t believe that this is a realistic question for children at such an early age. Adults are asking children with very little knowledge to come up with a definitive career of what they desire to do for the rest of their life. Do you know how weird this sounds?
Parents and teachers are better off guiding children in self discovery to help them figure out their strengths, interests, values, desired lifestyle, and profession that most aligns with their unique qualities. By clearly identifying the unique qualities of an individual, based on this information they are more likely to choose a satisfying career. It would be huge service to the future generation, if at an early age they’re taught the power of self-discovery, and are given personality and career assessments. However, the problem is that most people don’t begin their self-discovery until adulthood, or sometimes never, and this is what keeps them in the track of an unfulfilling career.
Bottom line, my whole concern with choosing a career path so young is that you don’t really know what you’re really signing yourself up for. Most of the time we’re choosing a profession based off of very little knowledge, having an idea of what it might entail, or an interest established by something we saw on television. With that lack of knowledge, I wouldn’t want to be bound to a career that I choose being naïve at 17.
Let’s also consider other motivating factors such as selecting a profession for the sake of a huge salary, or just for title that looks good on paper; essentially all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, a huge salary, or a fancy title won’t buy you happiness, because as you know there are plenty of people with snazzy titles that are totally unhappy with their work. I’m sure you’ve heard stories of that person who left their corporate job, to become an interior designer, artist, or something of the sort.
By the way, did I mention that I know plenty of college graduates that received a degree and are not even working in their field of choice? This should come as no surprise to anyone. It seems as though we have it all figured out in our early twenties, but by the time we hit mid-twenties we begin second-guessing our career decision. This same scenario is why I stand firm on my stance of teaching the young people about self-discovery from an early age. In this day and age, guidance counselors need not pressure teenagers on their way to college to choose a major, but advise them to complete the general education courses, while interning in an interested occupational field. At the same token, interning will allow students the opportunity to get their feet wet, and who knows; they might stumble upon a profession in which they had no idea even existed. Furthermore, at times when a person can’t seem to find their dream job, some have mustered the courage to even create one; which is more my type of pursuit. Entrepreneurship has been my forte, so I will always seek to support those with determined willpower, and a hustling spirit!
At any rate, some of my thoughts expressed might be a little progressive for some, but I don’t want to be that person who wakes up at 40 kicking themselves for a misinformed decision that was made at 17. All the same, I’m well aware that there are those who require a definitive career path; as for me I’m ok with the possibility of evolving career goals and ambitions. Likewise, if there’s anything I would like for you to take away from this is that, it’s never too late to shift careers, for a profession that truly aligns with who you are. Keep in mind, just because our parents, and others around them sentenced themselves to one career all their lives doesn’t mean you have to as well!
If you’re undecided on your career path, why do you think you are? And how does this make you feel? If your unhappy with your current profession, what’s holding you back from a career change? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Shawna Kay ( Blissed Out Belle )
Kay is a Lifestyle & Empowerment Enthusiast, and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blissed Out Belle™. Connect with her on Facebook here, and follow her on Twitter @BlissedOutBelle .