One of the events happening in May is that my son and I will sit down and talk about his future. Last year he graduated high school, and one of his was that he take a gap year. For those who don’t know what a gap year it’s when you take a year to travel, explore, take a full-time job, etc., and really think about what they want to do for their future.
When I was a teenager, that was one of the things that I wanted to do. I had this huge dream of backpacking through Europe and just trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Back then, I wanted to get into interior design and go to a school in San Diego because I really loved California. Unfortunately, my parents forced me to go to college right away. This really hurt me, and my first semester went terribly because I was not into college mentally. I failed the semester. It was really embarrassing to me, but I wanted to share it to let the young people know, especially that you really need to follow your path. If you don’t know what you want to do with your path, follow your parents’ advice until you can really think about what you want to do. But if you already have a passion for something, you really have to do what you want.
Here is some advice on how to find a career you love.
Take a Gap Year
My son took a gap year to really think about what he wanted to do. Every time I would ask him, “What do you want to do when you grow up? ? I would ask that when he was younger. It turned into “What are you passionate about?” when he got older. He never could give me an answer. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t know what to do. And that’s perfectly fine. Many people, even if they go to college, switched through our program the first or second year of college. So it’s not something that you already have to know. Taking that gap year helps you get there and think about what are you passionate about?
I’m a huge list maker. I love lists! Write a list of what you’re passionate about. In there, write what you can do during your gap year to explore those passions.
Do you love computers? Do you love fashion? Do you love home stuff? Do you like building things with your hands and really think about what you really are passionate about?
This will help you figure out what areas you should focus on to find a career that you’re going to love for the rest of your life. If you are graduating or are right now in flux, trying to figure out what you want to do this summer, started looking at places. You can travel. A lot of people actually last year started taking road trips, take a road trip somewhere, and really started embracing other people’s cultures.
Even in the US, the South, Midwest, West Coast, and East Coast are all different. Go and see what you love and hate about each place. Do it even where you currently live. Explore your city, explore your town.
You don’t want to be stuck at a job that you hate and just be stuck there and feel like you want to die every day. You’re at work the majority of the time. If you think about like when you’re at work, I mean, yeah, even if you have your own company, you will be working six or more hours a day. So you definitely want to do something that you love.
Think About Your Priorities
You also want to think about your priorities. Everyone’s priorities are different, and they will also change depending on where you are in life. When you’re younger, your priorities are probably going to look different than someone in their late twenties or thirties, someone who has her family, someone who’s an empty-nester, someone who really has a great hobby that they really love.
For me, my priority is my family. If my family, family needs me, they’re my priorities. So that’s why I want to make sure that if I’m working at a company or whatever I want to do, I want to make sure that I have flexibility, especially that I have a baby. I have to sometimes run and get him if he gets sick from daycare. There are times that I’ve had to take the day off to stay home with him. You want to make sure that you think about your priorities.
Also, revisit that list every other year, because as I said, your priorities will shift.
Get a Job
The next thing I would do is also consider getting a job. I’ve had a job since I was 15. At those jobs, I figured out what I liked and what I did not like. One thing I knew I did not like was working weekends. I also knew that the technology was going to take off, so eventually, we would get to the point where we would have the ability to work from home. I wanted to get into an industry where I could eventually do that, which I am I’m in it. And so I’m able to work remotely. The other thing that I realized at the multiple jobs I had as a teenager was that I did not like working for customers. I hated working retail and at restaurants. That’s one of the things about having a job is that you’re able to gauge what you like and what you don’t like, and what is it you want to do. Depending on that, you can figure out what you want to do for your long-term career. Create a “Likes and Dislikes” list and do a brain dump of what you loved and hated from the jobs you’ve had.
You could also volunteer. If you are in college, there are clubs and organizations you can join. There also are websites where they will match you to different nonprofits and what they need. That will also be an excellent way to figure out what you’re really interested in doing for your future. If you work at a smaller nonprofit you’ll, you can wear multiple hats.
I definitely recommend volunteering or getting a job.
As I said, our discussion is happening in mid-May. We’re going to sit down and dislike what he wants to do. I will also stress that it doesn’t mean that you can’t change career paths in the future. You can always do that. It’s just what you want to do now. I feel he probably won’t know, so I will focus on what motivates him. As I said, he loves video games. If that is the case, I will approach it as what job will allow you to make enough money to play any video game you want, upgrade your gamer PC, and have the time to play.
I will create a “Finding a Career You Love” workbook and share it with you. Please subscribe to the newsletter to know when I do so you can grab one.