Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
What you do with your life is up to you. As children, we often imagine ourselves as adults and think about what we want our lives to be like. Maybe we dream of being an artist, a scientist, a teacher, or a firefighter. As we grow older, our interests often change, and our career aspirations might change too. Human beings are always evolving. Many people hit a point in their lives where they aren’t sure what exactly they want to do. Identifying what makes you happy is important because being pleased with the work that you do leads to a successful career.
If you work at a grocery store as a cashier, that’s a job, but is it a career? Maybe! Say that you work as a cashier but build your way up to a management position. That would be a career in management. However, working a job is different from being on a career path. If you are at a job and you don’t particularly like it, it won’t lead to a satisfying career. Taking a job that you love, even if it’s at a lower level than you’d prefer, is a good idea because it will give you a foundation that you can develop into a career. Sometimes, as a student, you take on jobs that you don’t particularly enjoy to help you get by. Optimally, these jobs will be temporary. Sometimes people must take on positions that they don’t like to support themselves and their families. That isn't the wrong thing to do because there is no “right” or “wrong” way to help yourself or your family. You do what you have to do to survive, but it’s important to find your passion.
Many things make us happy in life, but doing something that you love is one of the best ways to maintain a state of wellbeing. Think about what you want to accomplish in your life. Perhaps, you want to be a writer or a journalist. Maybe, you would like to be a pilot. You can accomplish these things if you put your mind to it. For example, you might like to be a veterinarian, but you are not particularly good at science. It’s not the end of the world! You can redirect your path and work in an animal shelter to satisfy your passion. You can do something that you love and embrace the thing that makes you happy - it might just play out in a way that is different from what you imagined. If you’re having trouble deciding what you want to do, that is okay. It is good to explore different interests to find the career option that sticks.
How Do I Find Out What Works For Me?
Talking with your friends and family and being open about not knowing what you want to do is okay! It is more common than you think. Journal about what you like to do. That is an excellent way to get your thoughts and feelings out. Another way to figure out what you like is volunteering. Spend time working with seniors, or with children at a Boys and Girls club. Or - since we mentioned animals earlier - you could go to an animal shelter and spend time with the dogs and cats. Volunteering in a specific environment is an excellent way find out if you like the industry and whether you want to pursue it.
If you are having trouble deciding what profession to pursue, career counseling can help. You can talk to a therapist or counselor and explain that you may feel lost. You might not know what you want to do with your life yet and that is understandable. Maybe, you’re stuck in a dead-end job, or you are thinking about changing careers. Whatever the case may be, a counselor can help you figure out what you want to do next. Online counseling is an excellent option for people that want to explore their career. Perhaps you are busy with your current job, school, or both, and don’t have time to see someone in your local area. Online counseling is a convenient and affordable option that is easy to work into your schedule. The mental health professionals at BetterHelp are there to support you, so don’t be afraid to reach out.