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Am I suppose to know what I want to do as soon as I graduate college?

There are many things that I desire and it is so tough for me to pick that very special one! Psychology has so much to offer and I am just lost in the middle. The options upon options never end. I feel as if I should definitely know what it is that I want to do once I graduate. I mean, I certainly have a few things in mind. With this being said I am still indecisive. I just feel as if by now I should totally know what I want to do with my life. Is this common for most if not many college graduates? #career #career-counseling #career-choice #career-path #career-development

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Paul A’s Answer

Hi Mitchell, My experience is different. I graduated with a degree in Psychology without a clue. I had some vague idea of Personnel as a career field but you needed experience to be hired in the field. Seattle was also in a down job market with limited job opportunities. My first 2 years out of college I had 6 jobs, and was fired in one of them, walked away from 3 of them and mutually agreed to end one of the. At that point I borrowed $50 from my roommate and drove to LA from Seattle in my New car with payments. Still clueless! By the way I graduated from college at age 29. I had three job offers in my 1st week in LA. one as a Personnel trainee in a large expanding dept store chain and two as a Insurance sales trainee. Lasted 6 months at the Personnel job and started work at one of the Insurance trainee jobs. A job that I excelled in and was rapidly promoted to a Key Home office position in San Francisco in three years. I still didn't know what I wanted to do for sure but I discovered that for me being an employee sucked. My lst idea of what I wanted to be was a Sales Training Consultant and by the time I was 36 I was. I evolved in to being a self employed Sales Training Consultant for 8 major companies in the U.S. and Canada. At 49 I was burnt out and evolved into being an Organizational Change Consultant for companies. In my late fifties I took a 3 year Life Coaching program from Coach University and added Life, Career and mentoring personal issues to my skill sets, as well as Leadership Development, talent selection, hiring, firing and being involved in personal employee issue. Currently I'm 81 have 12 clients nationally all done on Skype and by phone from my home. My point is don't worry about it. Trust yourself, be honest with yourself and don't worry about what other people think. Most of my life has looked like a train wreck from the outside, and the early part was,which broadened by perspective and makes what I do now more useful, helpful and caring. Messing up and doing it "wrong" are great growth providers. Invest in workshops, books, DVD's, explore people like Kyle Cease, Mike Dooley and Jack Daley on u tube. My learning accelerated massively as I inhaled everything I could find that was self improvement or personal growth oriented. The best on your search! Paul

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Dave’s Answer

Hi Mitchell- Thanks for asking your question. I think this is something that a lot of people struggle with throughout their careers. I found that taking skill and aptitude assessments throughout my career have helped me to find my way through the various possibilities that exist. Here are some ideas that you could try out:
- Talk to your guidance counselor and ask them if they have any career assessment tools that will help you get more clarity.
- Read the book "Strengthsfinder 2.0", which will assess your areas of strength. Their website: http://strengths.gallup.com/110440/About-StrengthsFinder-20.aspx
- Check out Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation. They have been conducting aptitude assessment since 1922 and they will do an in depth 2-day assessment of your aptitudes and give you some ideas of possible careers.


Good luck !

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Wayne’s Answer

Mitchell, you are to be commended for asking this question and your concerns are valid. Some students are fortunate enough to actually know what they want to do after graduation, but it is my experience that most do not. Life is a journey and you make decisions every day that change the direction of that journey. Most jobs have traits that can be used in many other fields. Just because you choose one job after graduation, it does not lock you into that position for the rest of your career. Often you will find that your passions change over time as your experiences build. Be an explorer and use the tools mentioned above in this discussion to look at various options. If you find you are not inspired with your first choices, there are too many others so don't get discouraged. Look at all opportunities, keep your options open, look for your underlying strengths and build on those. Any skills you gain in the process will only help increase your value proposition and what you are bringing to the table. Your degree is only one tool in your toolbox and the good thing about it is that it can be used for multiple purposes. For example, I got my degree in Animal Science but now work in the high tech industry. My career took several twists and turns, but my basic strengths supported each of those choices and i credit my degree in getting me where i am today. The future is not set and your decision on a "career" is not final so be excited about the opportunities and enjoy the journey. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

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Aimee’s Answer

In an ideal world I would say yes. But when I was graduating college I thought I had a plan of going to law school, my major was pre-law. My last quarter of my senior year I realized I really didn't want to go to law school. I took a year off to really decide what I wanted to pursue. I ended up deciding to go back to school for an MBA and did a focus in accounting because I really liked the classes I was taking. So I hope this helps in that it is okay to not have a full life plan, but also understand the financial side of going into student debt and be responsible.
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