This is a big one. And for some reason, society makes you start thinking about it when you’re just a kid. Of course when my six year old self says she wants to be a dolphin trainer (true story), it’s usually just because she likes dolphins… like a lot. And that’s fine, to make a career out of something that you genuinely like, but those interests usually change ten times by the point in your life when you have to get serious.
I think the real turning point is sophomore year of college—when you have to declare a major and when you really start comparing your goals to others. I was the person surrounded by people who have always known what they wanted to do with their lives. Yup, those six year old dreams actually stuck with them, go figure. And the worst part was, their career goals were professions that made a difference. A nurse, a lawyer, a therapist, or a child life specialist (which was weirdly specific but okay). The only thing I’ve ever really enjoyed was writing, but I never wanted to make a career out of it because it didn’t seem “serious” or “stable”. But when I didn’t feel like I had any other options, I declared my major in English and just hoped that I would figure it out along the way.
And I kind of did. My junior year roommate was a marketing major, and it was at the point in time where that field was really starting to rise. So I took a few classes and enjoyed myself. Of course it was way too late to switch my major and I had already completed most of the courses for my minor (still no idea what I’m gonna use that psych knowledge for). So I graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s in English and two semesters worth of work experience in marketing. And it was that same college roommate and my internship experience that helped me get me first professional job as a marketing coordinator in Boston.
Today, I am still working in marketing and the money is alright, but I’ve never truly felt satisfied or happy doing what I do. That notion, “If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life”, has never happened for me, ever. Granted, I’ve definitely told distant relatives at awkward family reunions that “I just love getting up every morning and going to work” simply because, well, small talk sucks and I’d prefer to avoid their judge-y follow up questions. My point is, when you’re 20 years old and not totally sure how you want to spend your life, that’s perfectly fine and still kinda cute. But when you’re 26 about to be 27, your natural reaction is shame…
Except I have declared it not shameful, or any other emotion that comes along with it. That’s right people, this is me telling myself and any other nomads in their twenties, that I have yet to find that right career path that will make me happy, and it’s okay! Despite everyone else around us settled in for the long haul, it’s our own personal journeys and we will get there when the time is right.
So for now, I invite you to enjoy the ride and openly embrace the unknown. Take risks, say yes to new opportunities—no matter how unfamiliar, and relish in the excitement of having absolutely no idea where life is going to take you. Trust the process, and more importantly, trust yourself. You’re doing great, kid.