“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
We have all been asked this question at least once in our life time. Your answer most likely changed with age. When I was 8 I wanted to be an astronomer; at 13 an actor; and at 18 a psychologist. But not everyone knows how to answer this question. Many of us may continue to search for the answer well into our adult years. I want to start by telling you that it is ok not to know.
Human beings are complex. We are who we are based on a combination of biology and social experiences. And the more experiences you have, the more complex you are. As these experiences change, what brings you meaning and purpose can change too, and, with that, your career interests.
If you feel stuck and unsure of what of career path to pursue, your first step may be to reflect on the following questions:
- What are my values?
Several researchers have found that living in accordance with your values can lead to positive emotions such as joy, contentment and satisfaction. Therefore, in order to feel satisfied in your profession it is important that what you do be congruent with your values. If you’re unsure of what your values might be, perhaps start by following this link: http://www.philau.edu/careerservices/inc/documents/selfAssessmentWorkValuesInventory.pdf
- What are my strengths?
Strengths can be divided into tasks and characters. Task strengths are those activities that you seem to be really good at or that you have mastered. Although there is always room for growth, your strengths can give you insight into what you may enjoy practicing in your career.
Character strengths represent aspects of your personality that you are good at. For instance, if one of your character strengths is Curiosity, you may enjoy a profession that involves exploration and discovery. To explore what your characters strengths are, you may consider completing the following assessment called the VIA Survey of Character Strengths: https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/testcenter
- What are my interests and hobbies?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could earn a living doing what you typically do for fun? Although it might be challenging to find a career that involves building models out of Legos, there may be elements from your hobby that could guide you towards a profession that can be fun and fulfilling for you. Let’s consider Legos as an example. If you love building Legos you might enjoy the process of building something, the creativity that goes into imagining a structure and building it from imagination, or working with your hands. These elements are essential in certain professions like Architecture, Engineering, and Mechanics.
Shezlina Haji, MA, has extensive experience in the area of emotional regulation, personal growth, plus many more. For more information on Shezlina and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.