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How did you know what you wanted to do for your career?

In what stage of your educational life did you realize what you wanted to do or are passionate about? I feel pressured and stressed about the fact that I don't know what to do because I feel like everyone else does. Are there any suggestions as to what I should do to get a sense of what I like? Thank you :) #college #career #career-path #career-choice

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Amanda’s Answer

Arisa,

Everyone's advice has been point on! I totally understand what you are going through. That was me 100%. First piece of advice I wish I could give my younger self would be to stop comparing myself to others. It's a natural instinct and one that is hard to break. This is an area I am still working on. BUT, when it comes to your career your mindset will change as your mature and grow on your own. Even when you are forty you will most likely have new career aspirations due to the experience you gained in your thirties and so on.

As a college freshman I thought I wanted to be a journalist, but then I could not pass a grammar and spelling test, and turns out I had a learning disability that was never diagnosed. Sophomore year I thought I wanted to be a vocal music coach, but all the foreign language classes were too hard, and I couldn't see myself in that career any longer. I eventually went to the campus career counselor, which was the point in which everything changed. I was tested on a series of aptitude interests and questions, and when I got my answers I was shocked. First it said flight attendant which was a my secret career as a child, but then I knew long term I wanted to be close to home and that was not realistic; the second career was speech pathology, but I couldn't see myself in that line of work long-term, the third career choice was counseling/psychology but thought of even more college (graduate school) was terrifying, but I did it. I took all the classes and finally had motivation in my coursework which led to increases in my GPA. I was accepted into a Student Affairs/College Counseling Master's Program and while in the program I fell in love with Research. I eventually got my PH.D. in Research, Statistics, Evaluation, and Assessment, and again found a new passion for teaching. From here I began a career in health and wellness sales, and now I am an Account Executive for one of the top Consumer Packaged Good companies and I am able to combine everything I love! To expand, my passion for helping others, for utilizing data, for mentoring young professionals (like yourself), to driving the business and making a positive change in my work environment.

So as you can see as you experience different life events, seek some career counseling, be transparent with yourself, and NEVER GIVE UP! If you have a dream go for it, do not let anything stop you!

Best of luck Arisa,

Mandy
Thank you comment icon I appreciate how you bravely walked down different paths to see if it was something you’d like to pursue. Then continued to self-reflect and adjust throughout your life to find what you were interested in! Marina Baker
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Morgan ☁’s Answer

Consider; You don't know, so you get to try all sorts of interesting things. Don't feel bad for not knowing. I simply enjoyed tinkering around in Windows machines and that led me to IT work and consulting.
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Doc’s Answer

Arisa, first you need to understand who you are, what gets you out of bed every morning. Sit down and ask yourself what is it i love doing is a good start. From their you can sitting down with your career counselor, they probably have all the connections to set you up with a mentor in your dream job.

TURN YOUR PASSIONS INTO YOUR CAREER

Since you can only have one career at a time, your goal, after learning about all the careers that might be a good fit for you, is to eventually have one remaining that is the BEST fit. Try not to eliminate any profession from your list until you do some research, even if you think you know something about it. You may be surprised by what you learn when you dig for information. If you cross a career off your list because of some preconceived notion, you could end up eliminating one of your best options.

START WITH THE BASICS – At first, you will just want to gather some basic information about each occupation on your list. Let's assume you have a list of ten careers. Before spending a lot of time on in-depth research, do some preliminary fact-finding that will allow you to narrow down your list. It will include looking at a job description and labor market information, including job outlook, median salary and educational and training requirements.

DELVE DEEPER – After learning about all the occupations on your list, you will find that several of them don't appeal to you. It could be for a variety of reasons. For example, you may decide that you wouldn't enjoy the job duties of a particular occupation or that you can't or don't want to meet the educational and training requirements. The earnings may be lower than you thought they would be or the job outlook tells you that employment opportunities will be poor. After completing your preliminary research, you will be left with a list that contains between three and five careers on it.

GET SOME EXPERIENCE – After you complete your in-depth research, you should be able to determine which career is a good match for you. Try not to get too frustrated if you can't make a decision by this point. You may not have enough information yet. Continue to do more research until you can comfortably choose the ​best career for you. You will want to learn what working in the field is really like before you actually work in it. The best way to do this is to talk to people who do.

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Hillary’s Answer

It took a while for me to figure out what I really wanted to do. I think finding the right career path is about figuring out the intersection of your passions and your pragmatic needs.

I tried different hobbies, had various jobs, and read a lot of different things before finding out what worked for me!

Best of luck!
Helene
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John’s Answer

You shouldn't feel stressed by what other folks are thinking or doing. You must go at your own pace. Sometimes the right choice on a career takes a lot of time. But if you find a fulfilling career, it's worth it. Enjoy what you are learning along the way. And stay open to serendipity by thoroughly reading a Sunday paper or looking through magazines you normally don't read. All of a sudden, something might jump off the page and tell you, "This could be your career." . . . If you are less certain of your career when you leave college than when you begin it, then congratulations, you've had a tremendous college experience. That's because college should broaden your mind, not narrow it.
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Aicha’s Answer

Hi!

I feel like I’m still trying to figure things out too! I did have a passion for theater so I decided to pursue that in college! However, there’s days where I feel as though I should have chose something else but then there’s days where I love it.

Don’t feel stressed out to have to have it all figured out right now! You have so much time to choose a career! This chapter of your life is the best time to experiment with different things. Figure out what you are passionate about and find volunteer opportunities that match that. Go out and network with the people around you! Knowing people will also help you expose yourself to different careers.

But don’t beat yourself up because you don’t know yet. Continue to take to look at your interests and just do some research!

I hope this helps and good luck!
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Riley’s Answer

For me, I knew from a young age that I enjoyed video games and my strongest subject in school was math. This made it pretty easy for me to decide that I wanted to go into the tech field somehow. However, you don't need to rush into this decision! Pretty much all colleges will allow you to complete freshman year with an Undecided major. This might be a good route for you because it is much easier to decide on a major once you get to college because you will meet so many new people and most freshmen talk a lot about their individual majors at the beginning of college.
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Jason’s Answer

This is a tough question to answer because it will be very dependent on the individual. A lot of people will tell you that you should follow your interests and make a career out of something that is of interest to you. There is probably some validity to this point but the problem is that sometimes you just don't know what you want to do. And sometimes you'll start down one career path, only to wind up on a completely new track a few years later. This happened to me and it happens to many other people too.

If you're worried that you may end up switching careers late then one strategy you may consider is majoring in something that can be used in just about any field. Accounting, finance, data science, engineering, computer science are all degrees that are applicable to just about every industry. If you go on the job boards you'll find that most of the jobs available are in the data/IT fields and it's likely that this trend will continue.
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Staci’s Answer

I think it will take time. I graduated with a Finance degree but ended up doing recruiting for the last 20 years. You just need to be open and pay attention to what interests you.
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Angela D.’s Answer

Hey Arisa! Great question! Okay, let's start off with some ideas and other questions. Do you have any hobbies, worked, volunteered, enjoyed certain classes/books/shows/games? What interests and motivates you? Do you like hands-on activities, computer-based ones, or being social? These are key questions for you to ponder upon. And...do you want to go to a four-year college/university or pursue training (a certificate/two-year degree) instead? On-the-job training? There are several free online career interest tests that may be helpful, but I will leave that to your discretion as some are more reputable than others. Ask your School Counselor if you can take a Myers-Briggs test through your school. The results will be helpful to you.
For instance, hands-on activities lend themselves to mechanics, engineering, electrical, medical, etc. types of careers. Computer-based interests can encompass IT jobs such as Security, Help Desk, Systems Analyst, Computer Technician, Web/Digital/Mobile Designer, etc. If you like the creative side of IT, then you might want to consider Website Design, Gaming Tester, Multimedia Artist/Animator, Sound Technician, etc. If you like being social, then Customer Service, Hospitality, Social Work, Teaching, etc. may be of interest to you. A way to get at your interests in a more concrete way is to shadow (basically following an individual around in their workplace for a short time) and/or interview people in the careers that you might like. I would suggest a short 10-minute phone/Skype interview or a shadow time of 30 minutes or less. Your school counselor may be of assistance in this to point you in the right direction, provide resources, and even provide contacts in your local community. You may want to put together a short resume that shows your professionalism to a potential shadow/interviewee/employer. It can be brief...if you need pointers on this, please contact us. Best, Dr. B

P.S. Okay, this may sound a little funny, but my favorite make-believe role to play as a child was to be a teacher, I would organize fun coloring games, art, math challenges, science projects, etc. in my neighborhood. Growing up beyond that, I tutored and mentored. So, long story short...not only did I become a teacher as an adult, but eventually a professor who teaches teachers as well!
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Suzanne’s Answer

Hi Arisa,

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to become a nurse. Life, however, took me on a very different course until my mid-twenties. I studied music up to that point.

It became necessary for me to go back to school and pursue my earlier ambition of nursing. It turned out to be the best decision of my life. In retrospect, I only wish I could have gone further with my education into either advanced practice nursing or obtain a PhD.

So, any advice I might give to you would be this: what do you really like or feel passionate about? Do you dream of helping in any way? What school topics make you think and ask questions? What hobbies or activities give you the most enjoyment?

Please don't be discouraged thinking others know what they want to do. Most likely, they will change their minds during their lifetime. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to develop insight into yourself, what you like, what the world needs, and how you might play a part, through your career choices, to make the world a better place.

Hope this helps!!
S
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Simeon’s Answer

I feel like most adults would get overwhelmed by the question "What is your passion?" There's a bit of a myth out there that we all need to find the one job in life that we're passionate about and will give everything else focus and purpose. If you lower the expectation for the amount of fulfillment you'll get from a career, it'll help bring clarity to which jobs you would enjoy versus ones that will be life-draining for you. See what job opportunities the market supports. For instance, try looking at the Department of Labor's website and seeing what job markets are thriving. Then, see if any of them call out to you as interesting. Look up videos on what real people enjoy and hate about those jobs and see if you are not bothered by the downsides and are interested by the upsides.
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James’s Answer

Career choices made in college do not have to be permanent decisions. If there is a field that you have interest in, then try to gain exposure to related jobs (even if it's unpaid experience) to get a sense if you could make a career of it. Plenty of people change majors in college and even transition industries once in the workforce. Once you gain job experience and build a resume, many of the skills are transferable across different fields. Use your college's career resources and focus on networking to develop a sense of what you may be interested in. Run with that interest and if you need to make adjustments, know that there are opportunities to do so.
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James’s Answer

Amanda has a great answer. I personally found my career path with my first job after earning an MBA. And, it's not a path I planned to take! I interviewed for just about anything I was qualified for (or close enough) and ended up being "wowed" by a small company in an industry I knew little to nothing about. They offered a job and I took it, that was nearly 20 years ago.
The point is, do your best to focus on things that interest you in terms of the curriculum you study and the jobs you interview for. But, keep things open, you never know what will be the event that helps you find that perfect job or career path. It's OK if you graduate without a 5-year career plan! Even once you get a job and start down a particular path, it's very likely that you'll make at least one career change so don't feel like you have to plan your entire career now.
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Caitie’s Answer

There are a lot of positions that do not meet an obvious category but that are rewarding and needed within companies! I would focus on what your interest areas are and what you like to do functionally- problem solving, being technically challenged, working with people, working with numbers/facts, story telling, teaching, organizing, leading etc. and as you research types of positions ask professionals in that job why they like it, what they end up doing for majority of their time. Try internships or research online job descriptions, forums, chats or communities to get information on the pros and cons of different careers.
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Robert’s Answer

Hi!!!

Honestly... I didn't know what I wanted to do!!!! I have now worked for the same company for coming up on 6 years now and will not be leaving! I am now 36 and enjoying my career by just helping people. Find what interests you the most and don't be scared to take chances on other jobs you never know you may find your career for life!
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Terry’s Answer

Not until well into my first year of college did I have a career path. Take different classes and find out what interests you. If you're not sure, try business classes so you can experience a variety of careers out of college. My career and job the first few years out of college, took me to the career I've been in for over 30 years and was not at all what I studied! :) You never know what job or career will take you to the next job or your favorite career. Try different things early on. It all lays the ground work to future jobs! Enjoy!