So, the bottom line for me is that it is absolutely fine to not know what your dream JOB is right now (or even a few years from now). You can reflect on the types of things you like doing, which make you feel energized, and then look around to see what kinds of jobs might allow you to do more of that. If you aren't sure what jobs might use those skills, you can start by using a LinkedIn search for the skills you're passionate about and then check out the variety of jobs that are returned to see what catches your eye. You can also get really curious with people when they talk about their own jobs. Don't just ask them what they do - ask them what they like about their jobs, what they don't like about them etc. You can learn a lot!
I think most students would not know what they want to be in the future when they are 18. So I want to say it's totally ok not knowing what to do long term at your age. Considering that, one hint about your future career would come from observing which subject you like studying the most. When I was in middle and high school, I enjoyed learning about foreign languages so I had spent more time studying on that subject than others. So when I applied for colleges, I chose a foreign language for my major and took a path to be in the international business field for a while. While working, I noticed I like managing financial data and changed my career to become an accountant since then.
As you can see how I chose my career, I was mostly focused on what I liked doing even with all the obstacles I encountered. And it's okay if the choice that you made is not what you want long term. You can always change your route to where your stronger interest leads. I hope all the best for your future journey!
It is totally normal for you not to know what you want to do long term. I also felt the same way when I was 18. My advice to you is to not think so far ahead when it comes to your career but to explore and experience your interest and it will come to you. Even when you may think you know what you want to do, with experience, you will guide yourself in the right direction based on your interest.
Also, if you dont know where to start, take some career test like 16 Personalities, Holland Code Career Test, and O*NET Interest Profiler. I found these helpful.
The good news is, unlike the past, people nowadays change employers/careers every 2-5 years sometimes! Each career change that you make builds on the previous job that you had. I knew a geologist who became a banker, specializing in dealing with Oil and Gas Companies. See how that works? It's called transferrable job skills. You are always free to come back to us with more questions as you embark upon your schooling and career choices - we don't stop answering questions just because you are an adult!
Complicating the career choice picture is the difference between "occupation" and "industry." Let's say you want to do something working with animals. That is a broad industry. As a career, you could be working hands-on as an animal trainer or veterinarian, a professional fundraising person, an administrative assistant, in the warehouse at the zoo, etc. Or, let's say you know you want to be a bookkeeper, and you don't have any preferences what kind of company you work for - just about everybody needs a bookkeeper!
Try to start narrowing down things you like and don't like. One of the most basic questions often asked is do you want to work with people? Or do you prefer working with "things?" Things includes data (such as an accountant), warehousing (such as order fulfillment for on-line merchandisers), gardener, architect, etc. How much human interaction do you need in the course of your day? Can you see yourself working at a computer all day? Do you need to be outside?
I recommend getting that first job, committing to it for 2 years ( that looks good on your resume) and then re-evaluating where you are at that time. Does that company offer opportunity for growth and advancement? Do they offer tuition assistance (some companies do - very important if you want to go to school). Are you satisfied with the job?
If you are thinking of going to school, I would recommend either trade school if you are interested in such things (electronics, plumbing, automechanics, etc) or a general 2 year degree. Don't spend money on a 4 year degree if you don't need it!
Another option to consider is going in the military. It's not for everyone, but, it's a great way to get training. Even if you don't want to go in the military, you might want to consider talking to a recruiter and taking the entrance exam. It is called the ASVAB, and it is a VERY good test for determining what occupations you would be good at! There is no charge. Just tell them you want to enlist, and they will be happy to test you.
Hope this helps! Good luck!