As a child we are often asked, what would you like to be when you’re older. School starts to direct us towards a career from year 9 onwards but what if we don’t know what we want to do?
What if the university course we choose is not what we hoped for or are interested in? Many of us feel that we are expected to choose something when we’re young and then stick with it forever. A career choice feels like we are developing our identity, so what if we don’t feel as though we have one? Would we let our parents down, will our friends judge us? Will we miss out and never go up the career ladder? There are so many worries associated with uncertainty that can make us feel as though we’re rapidly losing our way.
The truth is that these days it is unlikely you will stay in the same job or career forever. Many people under the age of 35 work a number of jobs and many do voluntary jobs to challenge themselves and discover new opportunities. Recent research from LinkedIn found that typically people made 4 changes to their work career before the age of 32. The way we work is changing too. We are slowly changing to more flexible working hours and working on the go or at home. This means that there are more opportunities to try new things, make a difference to our world and do the many things we love rather than just choosing one.
But if you want to feel a little clearer about your career and where you’re at, at the moment, I’ve added 5 tips to help:
- List the things you value the most, your personal character strengths* and the skills you enjoy using. If you have any passions or interests, also write them down. Look at what stands out at you from this list and summarise. Could you try volunteering or researching the area that stands out to you the most?
- Conduct a survey on friends and family to see who has stayed with the same job or career all their life. Find out how they felt about it. Find out about others who hadn’t stayed with the same job or career.
- Challenge your should’s and musts. These terms form negative language and only serve to put pressure on you doing a certain thing. Whenever someone is pressurised to do something, they start resisting and the whole thing becomes negative. This can lead to procrastination, where we become totally stuck and just go round in circles.
- Be aware of compare and despair. Maybe your friend has graduated from university and instantly been accepted into a well paid successful firm. Whilst they may have stability and financial security, they may experience lots of pressure, long hours ……who knows what else. The point is, don’t jump to conclusions and think others have it all sorted. Many people don’t disclose how they truly feel about something and the difficulties they’re going through.
- Take pride in what you do everyday no matter what it is or how menial you feel. Do this to the best of your ability and look for the positives. Having a positive mindset can help you make great decisions. When we feel low and negative, our thoughts get clouded and so do our decisions. This can make us feel very uncertain and that we’re taking bigger risks if we have to change.
1-1 Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is having someone to support you through this difficult period. We set specific goals that can help raise your mood, manage anxiety, focus and build on your personal strengths and values so that you have the confidence to move forward and do whatever you want!
If you would like to find out more about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, why not give me a call on 0161 8831156 or fill out the enquiry form on this website.
* Authentic Happiness from Penn State University has a great (and long) questionnaire that can help you discover your personal character strengths (personal qualities). You have to register to complete the questionnaire but you can find it here