I always like to say that I’m a career girl through and through, hence, one of the reasons I started this blog was because I wanted to share everything I’ve learned in my career thus far. The other day as I was sitting in class I was thinking about how the way I think now is totally different than how I thought back when I was 20 years old.
When I was 20, I knew I wanted to build my career but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or what I enjoyed. It all seemed so far away and mysterious to me. I had an idea of the things I liked doing, and possibly what I would be good at, but I just didn’t know what my career would be. If you’ve read my career history post (HERE) then you probably already know that my passion for radio was big and I really thought I would end up in that career space for the long run but, as things have changed in my career (and in the world), and after doing some thinking and reflecting over the past 10 years in my career life, a question that popped into my head was that of, “if you could go back to the start of your career what path would you take and what would you study?” As I thought about this question I realized that now, at this point in my life, I have a much better idea of the things I like doing and the things I’m good at compared to 10 years ago, when I was in the middle of college and just getting my foot into the working world.
To give you a little back story, when I started my undergraduate college career I went in thinking I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I mean, every year as I sat in class from kinder all the way through my senior year in high school I would end the year saying I wanted to be a teacher. I thought that was what I was meant to do. As I sat in the very first classes that had to do with teaching I found myself dreading the process and just not really interested in learning about this career space. It wasn’t until I was at my first job (Payless) that I was talking to a co-worker who said she was studying communications, and I remember thinking, “Wow, she’s so lucky” and in that moment it clicked, “Why don’t I major in communications?” From that moment my life changed (at least career wise) and you know the rest of the story from there.
Anyways, back to the point of this post. As I think back now if I could change things I would say that I would still major in communications, perhaps marketing but something that I’ve always thought was cool but was always afraid of was graphic design and branding plus, over the years I’ve really fallen in love with health and fitness.
I honestly think that the way I realized what I wanted to do was because of time. Time showed me what my true passions and interests were but, my perseverance and constant thinking about the subject also helped a lot as well.
Anyways, what’s done is done and I am still content with my career choice but, this got me thinking about what tips I would give my 20 year old self to help her navigate her career and her future. So, if you’re reading this and feel lost and need some guidance here are my tips:
- Make a list- Start off by writing down things you like doing and things you know you’d be good at. Also, make a list of the things you know you definitely don’t like.This will be a good starting point.
- Research- This one is a big step because you will get a lot of insight into what certain career fields entail. For example, if you want to be a teacher I would search for things like, current job postings (just to see what may be required in the future when you’re looking for a job). I would also look on LinkedIN (Click HERE to read my LinkedIN Tips) and search for people with that title to see what experience they have.
- Set up informational interviews (these can be virtually as well)- This is one that really helped me out. In terms of questions to ask, my favorite has always been “What does a day in your working life look like”? Think about it, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what you will be doing on a day to day basis at that job. This I learned throughout the years. For the most part, titles are just titles but what it boils down to is your actual day to day.
- Trial and error- Honestly, although it’s hard to choose at the beginning sometimes you just have to get going in one route and life will really show you along the way what you like and what you don’t like. Internships kind of serve to do this because when you intern you’re getting an idea of what the job would be like and if you could really see yourself doing that on a day to day basis.
Although navigating your career can be confusing sometimes the most important thing is to try your hardest at whatever you are doing and to constantly think about how you can get better. Life has a way of leading you in the right direction if you pay attention along the way.