Please refer back to installment #1 for the legal mumble jumble (new technical term)
If you’re like me you weren’t born with a microphone, stethoscope, or spatula in your hand. I always envied those people who knew from early on what they were meant to do…but I recently realized that I’m actually the lucky one in that scenario.
Because of my lack of dedication to any one career, I’ve had the opportunity to experience many different fields. But, do I wish I could carry a tune, bake the perfect wedding cake, or be the star of a show? Sure…but apparently, it’s just not in my cards. And that’s ok. As I enter the fourth decade of my life (40 years old for those of you who have had a rough weekend), I’m finally figuring out want I want to do with the rest of my working days, and possibly as hobbies during my retired days, should I be so lucky.
Now, let’s talk about those of you who haven’t quite decided what you want to do. As I’ve told my older children…go to college, pick a major you think you might like, and go from there. Yes, I expect majors to change at least once, maybe twice or even three times, during college. I’d much rather they add a couple semesters than graduate on time with a piece of paper that doesn’t matter to them.
If you think college isn’t an option for you, think again. I’m still in college. Have been for the last five years and I never thought I would do it. There is not one single thing that is impossible if it is something you decide you want. Not one thing.
Want to go to school, but don’t think you can afford it? See if these can help you…
- Your local public library has tons of resources. Ask the librarian for help (they’re ALWAYS nice!)
- If you’re in high school, go to your counselor (make an appointment if necessary)
No one is going to hand you anything. GO GET IT!!
And as every other installment has promoted, analyze yourself. You have to find out what it is that interests you before you can pick a field. Some people pick solely based upon an expected salary. Bad move if you ask me. Money isn’t everything. Yes, it would be nice to have a wonderful salary, but unless you can partner that with some sort of personal fulfillment, you’ll just end up a well-paid miserable person. And what if you pick a profession in the medical field and find out in your third year of college you faint at the site of blood? It’s happened.
If you don’t know what really interests you…see if any of these will help you…
- Like CSI? Contact the local police department and ask to be a ride along or to take a tour of their evidence storage facilities, but don’t call 911 to do it! Look in the phonebook or on the internet for the “non-emergency” number. (They are NICE people, too!)
- Fire Department, maybe? Again, call a local station and ask for a scheduled visit or meeting. Bring all the questions you can think of…
- These types of visits can be done in so many career fields. Newspaper reporter? Jailer? Baker? Veterinarian? Photographer? Restaurant Manager? DON’T BE SHY! Make some calls and ask to “shadow” someone for a day. Maybe they need someone a couple hours a week as a volunteer. You can learn so much by being hands-on.
- CareerPath.com has “free career tests, personality assessments, and job advice. Search the internet for more quizzes and take them all. Your true interests will start to show in a pattern.
- Talk with family members, friends, teachers, and coaches. Anyone who knows you well. Ask them what they think you’d like or be good at…sometimes we get our best constructive criticism from those that love us. Trust them, but also follow your gut. Take the advice you get and merge it with your own thoughts. What was revealed?
- There are free courses in most communities that can also assist with the uncertainty of career choices. Call your local community colleges, public libraries, or chamber of commerce offices.
It’s possible that some things you think you like would be better as hobbies…not professions. My daughter and I have the “too many interests” disease. We don’t want to pick just one, we want to do everything. As my byline suggests though, I’m no expert at any of them, so I had to figure out what my professional strengths were, put that into my career and leave everything else for weekend hobbies. Each weekend may cover a different hobby, and that may drive my family crazy, but I’m a happier person if I can do what I love to do. (I can’t resist this, and I don’t know where this quote came from, but…when Momma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy. Right?)
Now, for those of you who may already be in a career, possibly already a college graduate, and you just discovered a different field altogether? Maybe you’d like to make the leap, but are scared to death to risk the financial stability created? There’s hope for you…
Just like the Boy Scouts…be prepared. Do everything you can to prepare. Research the new career, volunteer if possible, interview anyone you know in the biz…may have to tap into “friends’ friends” for that one, but use all the resources possible to MAKE ABSOLUTE SURE this is what you want to do…then get even more prepared!
Build your financial nest. If you can’t just transition easily to this new career without impacting your livelihood, bank at least six months of financial security. A year would be even better.
Is this a business you’d like to open and operate yourself? Write a business plan while you’re building your financial nest. Yes, this may take a little while, but unless you’re a gamblin’ person who kinda likes the idea of living out of cardboard, take the time necessary to be successful.
If this is a small business idea, check out the Small Business Administration. If possible, don’t take a loan to start your business…a financial advisor would be more helpful on this, than me but it’s never a good idea to start out in debt. This SBA website has a link to loans and grants (and also has information on writing your business plan). Grants would be ideal, but you still will need money to live on (hence the financial nest).
If you have a family that considers you the bread winner, you may want to reintroduce them to bread…nothing wrong with a little peanut butter and jelly. The kids won’t go through withdrawal if they don’t visit McDonald’s every week. Just explain to them what is happening and how you need their help. Tell them what you are doing and how it will enhance the family unit. Then recruit their help however you can and make it fun. Trips to the grocery store can become a shopping competition…who finds the cheapest deal? Who has the most coupons? Reward with a week off dish duty. A family that bonds together…usually doesn’t kill each other. J
No matter what, no matter why…the point I want you to take from this installment is that you can do whatever it is you want if you just put forth a little time and effort. I’d advise against becoming the rodeo clown you may have dreamed about as a kid, but whatever floats your boat!
Just quit wasting time and START PLANNING NOW!
Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you need some help on this topic. I’ll do whatever I can to help/assist/advise…good luck to each and every one of you.