Three Tips for Deciding What to Be When You Grow Up

22 August 2016
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Deciding on a career path is difficult for many people, including everyone from college students to those who've spent decades in jobs they don't love. Luckily, there are specific things you can do to help find a career that will fulfill you while also providing financial stability. Here are three tips for deciding what to be when you grow up.

Take the Strong Interest Inventory

The Strong Interest Inventory is a well-designed assessment that can help point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the best career. The assessment works by identifying your strongest interests, including those you may be unaware of, and then matching those interests to careers and industries. This assessment may open your mind to careers you wouldn't otherwise consider.

Look to Your Hobbies

What do you love to do in your free time? Think about the sorts of activities that completely absorb your attention, make you feel excited, and make time pass quickly? In many cases, hobbies can be monetized and turned into careers, and they probably at least hold clues about things you may enjoy. For example, if you love playing sports or music, you could look into coaching or teaching. If you love reading true crime stories and trying to figure out mysteries, a career in criminal justice may be a great fit.

Overcome Your Fear of Commitment

Sometimes people are scared to try a new career path because they are afraid they will hate it and will be stuck doing a job they're not suited for forever. This is an unrealistic fear, however, considering that most people change careers 5–7 times in a lifetime. Remember that if you try something new that doesn't work out, you can always try something else.

Another way to cope with career-related commitment fears is to start out with a lower-stakes approach. For example, if you're considering becoming an elementary school teacher, try volunteering in a school for a while to get a better idea of how much you'd like teaching before you head back to school. If you want to try a career in writing or web design, try freelancing on the side before quitting your current job.

Just remember, if you are uncertain about what you want to be when you grow up, you're far from alone. By following these tips, you will hopefully become inspired to strike out on a new career path that suits your strengths and personality.