What do you want to be when you grow up?
I have spent years agonizing over this question. For years I've asked myself just what my passions and interests are and exactly what I was meant to do in this world while, at the same time, being completely envious of my friends who knew since they were six years old that they were destined to be a pediatrician, a teacher or a magazine editor and never wavered from that path. They knew. They knew what they wanted to be when they grew up- and I never did.
I wracked my brain for the answer after high school, but was reassured by my teachers that I shouldn't worry because I had plenty of time to figure it out. Upon college graduation, I searched job postings looking for direction. Finding none, I applied for something I was qualified for somewhat at random because, as my professors and family attested, your first job out of college just doesn't matter. "Don't worry. When the right time comes, you'll know the right job for you."
"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is a question I held near and dear to my heart as I tried unsuccessfully over and over again to find the right career to satisfy me. And, if you've read About me, you'll know that I'd held an eclectic range of careers before finding a career that fits me perfectly, career counseling!
The problem I now see with this question, a question asked from age six and for many years after that, is that there is no one right answer for one person for all time. Perhaps the better question should be, "What do you want to be right now?" What career or job would bring you joy, satisfaction and personal growth right now? Not to preach too much, but as humans we learn, evolve and change over time. Even if as a six year old I wanted to be a nurse like my mother, I knew after discovering my dislike of needles that it wasn't right for me. So what's right for me, or you, right now?
This is not to say that one shouldn't pause, step back, and consider which career might bring them satisfaction just because it may not be the perfect solution for all time. Far from it. The key is to stop worrying about finding the one job you were destined for and start doing some self-assessment. From your likes, values, personality, skills, and past experiences, will come the answer to my revised question, "What do you want to do now?" And hopefully, with enough thought and help from a fabulous career counselor, you will find a career that energizes and challenges you for years to come.
Stop setting the bar impossibly high by asking what job will bring you satisfaction decades in the future. Focus instead of who you are, what you're passionate about and good at today, and, as "they" have always said, you'll figure it out. It just requires some active participation and honesty on your part, and some enthusiasm and guidance on mine. Let's work together toward finding you the job satisfaction you so richly deserve.