Starting in the first grade, we are asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Responses are often based upon what we know in our community, what we see in our family, and what we understand from experience. As high school nears an end, the pressure starts to mount because after high school what do you? I mean, people have been asking since the first grade, so now what? Do you further your education, go into an apprenticeship? If so, where do you go and what will your focus be? If not, what do you do instead? There are so many options but which one is right?
For some, they know exactly what they want to do and they go right out and do it. For most people, this next step creates a lot of pressure because there are just so many unknowns and so many options. Our idea of what we wanted to do in first grade may no longer be relevant today. The more life experiences you have and the more opportunities you hear about or are exposed to, the more you can dig into what speaks to you. What you need to do, is to find out what exactly speaks to you but how do you do that with literally tens of thousands of options? You need to take a step back and truly Find Your Selfie. What are your likes and dislikes? What are you passionate about? What do you spend your time daydreaming about? Asking yourself these questions will help you narrow down the number of buckets and options on your list.
As we age, our aperture for opportunity widens, we experience new things and phases of our lives come and go. Many people are in professions that align with the phase of life they are currently in. Most people have 5-7 career changes, meaning a promotion, working for a different company, or having a different job but in a similar field. In addition to career changes, 49% of people make a dramatic career shift at some point in time (Indeed.com). What they mean by a dramatic shift is like going from being an accountant to becoming a helicopter pilot or like Ina Garten, who was working at the White House on nuclear energy policy but then decided to buy a grocery store in New York to focus on her love of cooking. With nearly half of the career force making such dramatic shifts, that tells you that your profession doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment. You don’t have to have your professional life figured out by the age of 18. You don’t have to have it figured out by the age of 50 because as you grow and change so too may your aspirations and goals. In Find Your Selfie, fundamental #3 Feed Your Passion, there is an exercise called “Daydreaming Discovery.” I’ve included the exercise below. Carve out some time out to go through and answer these questions. Remember to keep asking yourself "why" after each answer so that you keep digging to find your true answer. Giving yourself just a few moments of introspection will go a long way for you both personally and professionally.
You can also take a page from Daniel Mac's plan and ask people that drive fancy cars what they do for a living. The important thing is to know as much about yourself as possible AND experience as much as possible! That way you are in the best position to land the right job, at the right time in your life for you. So, with such a vast array of opportunities how do you avoid getting stuck in something you really don’t like or don’t want to do? Just Find Your Selfie and Be You.
To assist with potential professions in number 6 you can visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook search tool.