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What if I don't find a career that suits me?

Its nerve-racking to make a big decision like this

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Subject: Career question for you

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Luke’s Answer

The reality is that going to college or entering down a career path is a big decision. It's a natural thought process to imagine the 'grass is greener on the other side' or that you would be happier doing something else.

Careers are funny, that they mean something different to everyone. Some folks distance their personal interests as far as possible from their career, and others make their hobby their job! You don't necessarily know how you will react to a certain pathway until you try it. I myself wanted to go to school for music, but instead went for engineering. It was difficult at first, and didn't like it, but I grew to enjoy the challenge and soak in knowledge from teachers, and mentors both in school & industry.

My advice is try and keep yourself flexible. If you want to do something specific, see if you can generalize it. For example, I considered going to school for Biomedical Engineer, but instead chose Mechanical. This can apply to Education, Psychology, and all sorts of fields of study.

Additionally, you will build skills no matter what career you go down. Building a career is about investing in yourself, and you will grow no matter what choice you make. You can ALWAYS find a way to reinvent yourself at any point in your career & life. So don't feel trapped, because you will learn so much!

As always, talk with advisors or guidance councils about this decision. Even ask other adults about their jobs! Best of luck on your journey
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Ayden
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Sallie’s Answer

Dont get discouraged. Its easy to feel overwhelmed when youre being pressured to figure out your whole life at such a young age. Truth be told, what I wanted to do in highschool is not what I am doing now, or would want to do now. As people we evolve and sometimes that means our interests evolve too. Additionally, most people end up taking jobs in fields unrelated to their degrees. Just breath, take everything one day at a time and follow your gut.
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Michelle’s Answer

Sometimes doing many different things helps you figure out what you want to do. I started working right out of high school, while I was going to college. Was this job my career - nope. It was a means of doing something to make money to have fun (while living with my parents). I moved to a second job, one that would and could have been a career starter, I did this for 7 years while attending college. But it wasn't for me. I did learn a lot about myself and what there is to do out there (in the mental health/ medical field), but again, it wasn't for me.

I graduated from college with a B.S. in Criminal Justice, so I looked for jobs that my degree would apply to. I didn't find much that I could actually do. So I went back into the medical field, again, it was a job to make money to pay my rent and bills. I eventually went back to school and got an Associate's degree and found a job in the legal field - as a paralegal. I didn't enjoy it, but it gave me great experiences and helped me define what I really wanted to do.

Long story short, sorry, it took me 15 years after graduating college (for the Bachelor's degree) and 22 years after graduating from high school, to finally get into my career. But during those 22 years, I learned what I wanted to do, how to do it and had many other experiences that helped me get that career position as a Crime Scene Investigator. After 15 years doing CSI work, I changed positions still at my work, and am now a Latent Print Examiner.

What you want in life (at the start of your adult life) may not be where you find yourself in your later years. But building on your experiences/ jobs and education - will help you figure that all out. Changing careers is not a bad thing. Doing what you like and love - always is the best choice!

Best of luck to you.
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Michelle’s Answer

Surely this is a question worth asking and I am glad to offer some things to think about. You've asked WHAT IF you don't find a career that suits you. Keep in mind that if you attempt to enter a career that doesn't suit you, it's the career that won't choose you. If you do not discover the type of work you want to do, it's possible that you may take a convenient job so you can financially support yourself. Eventually, most people do discover what they'd like to dedicate themselves to. Give it some time.

A good way to begin would be to make a list of things you like to do. Do you like to talk or are you quiet and reserved. Do you like working in an office, outdoors or traveling from place to place. Make a personal assessment of your attributes and preferences and see what careers will indeed suit you.

If it is that you already have an interest in a specific career, but are worried that you may not succeed, there is something you can do. Shadowing. Follow someone through their day at work to see what a typical work day in that field is like. It's a wonderful hands on way to get a glimpse into what that job would be like. When I was a social service case manager, I had students shadow me who were contemplating a career in social service work. Most enjoyed the experience but one of the students was very sure that she would not go into social services after experiencing a day with me out in the field and at the office.

You can also do research on careers and read about what it is like to be in that job. Also, if you have a specific career in mind, ask more questions about it on Career Village.

Again, most people do discover what they like and also love. Sometimes it takes time but you will find it as you explore further. I hope this gives you something to think about. Always ask questions. I wish you all the best in this most important step towards a career you will enjoy !
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Ayden
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Nathaniel’s Answer

The reality when my dad was in the workforce was that you might change jobs twice in a lifetime. For me it was an average of 7 goodness knows what career paths will lead you. I went from a surgical assistant to a nurse to home care to the director of a spinal injury rehabilitation center, to a chiropractor. Each career path actually led me to the next stop. The reality is that actually few find "their perfect job". It might be A well-paying job with a crapy boss, or you hate the town or state you are living in because of the job. So what you do is find out what makes YOU fulfilled, The service certainly taught me what I didn't want as I heard the groans from other corpsmen all the time, but at least my job (surgical assistant) was interesting and I learned a lot which has always been a plus. You're wasting your time trying the "perfect job". Find your passion
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Ayden
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