When I was a kid I had big dreams, just like the rest of us. Mine...was to be a dancer like Michael Jackson or singer like Diana Ross. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always say "A Nurse". In my era it was socially acceptable to go after "realistic careers" and learned to mimik the careers I heard my parents talk about. But I sang to myself a lot and my world literally was my stage. But I grew up in the 70s and 80s. In Today's era, it is no longer taboo, in fact we now see parents pushing their little toddlers on to stages and in front of YouTube videos, or any type of social media to showcase their many kiddos' marvelous artistic skills. Especially with this whole crazy pandemic mode the world is in, some say it's the only way now. But I also think that although this might be good for a some kids out there, that truly are happy to do what their parents are pushing them to do, we as leaders (parents and teachers and sometimes even friends?), need to mindful of leading and not pushing our children.
I spent 7 years wandering through the hallways of my College trying to find a career that would sound impressive. Some of that time was spent by me dropping out and going to work, to raise money to go back to college, and still feeling unfulfilled. What I should have done, was continue the piano lessons I took as a child, and registered into the University Jazz program. I would be so much farther along right now, I'm sure of it!
My problem was that I never took what I really wanted to do seriously. Period. Once I did, my life changed. So from someone that accidently went down the wrong career path once, and backed out to find the right one, here are four steps I advise you to while choosing your career path.
Follow that pang in your gut
First off, what is your passion? What do you love to do and wish you were better at doing? Is there any experience that you just can't forget? What type of things make you say I love it when I'm doing this? That needs to be your first and foremost inkling, of what your career will be. If you have never felt that about anything wait. Get a job. If you can't stand your job, quit and try something else! We learn by interacting. When people are young it is easy to do this, eventually I guarantee you will find something that makes you say "Yes!"
Knowledge, oh my gosh! How I wish I would have researched more about what I needed to do in order to become a singer! I must tell you first before I go any farther, one thing that I did get out of going to College, was that I actually didn't know that I also loved the Art of Entrepreneurship. I love to research the things that I'm interested in obviously, but sometimes going outside the lines of what your interested in, can still serve as part of the foundation for your future. The Internet makes it so easy to get your information, and truly study it. Make sure to fact check and have conversations about what you learn. Personal connections are also king. Study the history of the industry you are interested in. Study the history of people already in the industry. Know the current events of your industry and study up on the trends. This will be useful down the road, when you begin to have conversations with people of significance.
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady of the United States . When I first started this section it was labeled "Plan" I changed it to planning because plans continuously change depending on our circumstances! Life goals are important. Time lines are important as well. But you should be able to adapt to changes and reroute your plans as needed. The important thing is that you are still headed towards a focused direction and that you can still see where you need to go. As you gather new information, make your plans with it. For example, you plan to work as a secretary just to get into a company. You soon get an opportunity to move up in the company but it entails you to move. Make a pros and cons list. Research the area that they want you to move to and see if it aligns better or worse with your end goals. Decide what you would do if you left the company, got laid off or let go. What other opportunities are in the area. And etc.
I'm not saying to lead an entirely boring life of all work no play! But keeping your goal in mind will continue to align you well on your path. Set some values and rules for yourself. In college I gave up drinking for a while because I felt I was losing track of what I wanted to do (even though I wasn't sure yet lol) But eventually friends just accepted that I didn't drink and stopped offering to buy me one when we went out. It kept me focused, and it felt good. I drank on my terms, after the semesters ended! You don't have to give up drinking or whatever it is that you do when you play. Just set some terms around them that keeps you connected to your goal. It might even be to attend certain social gatherings on a regular basis, to meet and greet connections. If your in the arts this happens lots! and you will definately be offered many substances! Just make your own values, of what you can and can't handle and stick with it.
Being a young adult is expensive! But being a parent with a mortgage, and a car or two is even more expensive! Open up a savings account, like right now. Call your bank its not hard. Ask them if they can set up a program where an automatic $5,$10, $20, $100, whatever - can be deposited into that account every month. And never touch that money, even for emergencies. You will soon have, a savings! And then revert back to step 2: Plan! Plan out what you'd like to do with your savings when the opportunity ensues. I'm not sure if they are teaching this in the colleges and universities yet but, some say money isn't everything, but yet - it is very important! You will also have learned the technique a very very important life skill.