“What should I do?”
“What will I do now?”
“What can I do?”
Students at my university ask these questions all the time. With them and in my private work with clients, fully grown adults, some with even decades of experience, still have no clue what they want to be when they grow up. That’s really awful.
My answer is the same to the young, the older, and the oldest: it’s okay to not know, but we can work on one list now – the list of things we’re positive we don’t want to do.
It’s a process of narrowing down jobs and tasks that we’re sure we do not enjoy. That list is built fairly quickly. For my students, I have them tell me about classes they struggled with, and why they didn’t enjoy it. We make a list of activities that they really liked (and did well at) and that enables us to start narrowing it down.
It’s satisfying to cross items off the list. Some students do an internship and don’t love it. Check. That’s one less thing to think about.
The reduction of decisions, I call it. It’s a way to focus, and get closer to the thing, the task, the job…we are good at and enjoy doing.
Sometimes we have do things to realize you shouldn’t. It sounds weird, but it really works.
What can you cross off your list?
John Scott is an instructor and the career services manager for the School of
Communications + Media Technologies, Academy of Art University San Francisco. @johnscottsf